Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch Sided With State Defunding Planned Parenthood

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 31, 2017   |   9:30PM   |   Washington, DC

When it comes to Planned Parenthood — the nation’s largest abortion business — states hoping to protect taxpayers from having to fund the abortion company can count on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch for a fair hearing.

Gorsuch sided with the state of Utah in its attempt to defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

Utah became the fifth state to vote to defund the abortion group after a series of undercover videos caught Planned Parenthood leaders discussing the sale of aborted babies’ body parts. Utah lawmakers said they would no longer allow the state to be used by the federal government to funnel funds to the abortion company. Their decision revoked about $275,000 in taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood in Utah.

Planned Parenthood challenged the law, but a federal judge sided with the state in December and allowed it to defund the abortion group. Planned Parenthood then appealed that decision, and the 10th Circuit Court sided with them.

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After the appeals court’s decision, the state asked for a re-hearing and the 10th Circuit Court decided against re-hearing Planned Parenthood v. Gary Herbert. Gorsch dissented in the case and wrote:

Respectfully, this case warrants rehearing. As it stands, the panel opinion leaves litigants in preliminary injunction disputes reason to worry that this court will sometimes deny deference to district court factual findings; relax the burden of proof by favoring attenuated causal claims our precedent disfavors; and invoke arguments for reversal untested by the parties, unsupported by the record, and inconsistent with principles of comity.

Preliminary injunction disputes like this one recur regularly and ensuring certainty in the rules governing them, and demonstrating that we will apply those rules consistently to all matters that come before us, is of exceptional importance to the law, litigants, lower courts, and future panels alike. I respectfully dissent.

As National Review pro-life legal scholar Ed Whelan notes:

I’d like to take note of his remarkable failure to acknowledge, much less credit Gorsuch for, Gorsuch’s powerful dissent (see pp. 16-27 here) one month ago from the Tenth Circuit’s denial of rehearing en banc in Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. Herbert.

As the faithful reader will recall from these posts of mine, in the aftermath of the Center for Medical Progress’s release of videos depicting various Planned Parenthood affiliates’ ugly involvement in harvesting body parts, Utah governor Gary Herbert directed state agencies “to cease acting as an intermediary for pass-through federal funds” to Planned Parenthood’s Utah affiliate. But after the district court denied Planned Parenthood’s request for a preliminary injunction against Herbert’s directive, a divided panel, on very weak reasoning, ruled that Planned Parenthood was entitled to a preliminary injunction. Gorsuch’s dissent dismantles the panel majority’s reasoning.

With a new president in the White House, many states are looking to defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business knowing that the federal government will not be fighting them in court. Meanwhile, Congress is looking to pass legislation that would defund the Planned Parenthood abortion company on the federal level.

With both of these actions in mind, the pro-life movement needs another Justice on the Supreme Court who is willing to allow legislators and Congress to pass laws that reflect the will of the people to get out of the abortion business.