The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a major victory to Ohio taxpayers Tuesday when it ruled that the state may defund the abortion giant Planned Parenthood.
Ohio lawmakers tried to cut off the abortion group’s taxpayer funding after it was caught in multiple states allegedly selling aborted baby body parts. Then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed the pro-life bill into law in 2016, but Planned Parenthood challenged it in court.
The Sixth Circuit ruling, written by Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a George W. Bush-appointee, argued that Planned Parenthood does “not have a Fourteenth Amendment right to perform abortions.”
The justices also agreed that the government does not have an “obligation to pay for a woman’s abortion. Case after case establishes that a government may refuse to subsidize abortion services.”
“The State may choose to subsidize what it wishes—whether abortion services or adoption services, whether stores that sell guns or stores that don’t,” the ruling continued.
While the Supreme Court has ruled that women have a right to an abortion, it has not said that abortionists have a right to perform them, the court wrote.
“The Supreme Court has never identified a freestanding right to perform abortions. To the contrary, it has indicated that there is no such thing,” the justices wrote, pointing to the 1992 ruling Planned Parenthood v. Casey as evidence.
“Any doubt about the point is confirmed by the debate at hand in Casey,” the opinion adds. “The abortion providers claimed that a Pennsylvania law, requiring them to inform their patients of the abortion procedure’s details and alternatives at least 24 hours beforehand, violated their patients’ due process rights and their own due process rights that arose from their relationship with patients. The plurality rejected both claims. Abortion rights do not arise from the provider-patient relationship ‘[o]n its own,’ the Court reasoned.”
Planned Parenthood claimed that the law somehow burdened women’s access to abortion, but it was not able to prove that was the case, since plenty of legitimate medical centers exist that provide non-abortion health care for women.
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The justices said the Ohio law does “not violate a woman’s right to obtain an abortion. It does not condition a woman’s access to any of these public health programs on refusing to obtain an abortion.”
According to the ruling, the justices were not given any evidence that the law would close abortion clinics in the state. They noted that Planned Parenthood even told the court that it will not stop abortions if it loses taxpayer funding.
“Its vow to keep performing abortions sinks any pre-enforcement action, and any speculation about what would happen if it changed its mind is just that,” the ruling stated.
Ohio “makes these programs available to every woman, whether she seeks an abortion or not,” it continued. “Nor, on this record, has there been any showing that the Ohio law will limit the number of clinics that offer abortions in the state.”
Pro-life leaders in Ohio praised the ruling as a victory for taxpayers. Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, told LifeNews he was delighted by the news.
“The 6th Circuit ruled that no corporation has a Constitutional right to our tax dollars and they got this right,” he said. “Ohio Right to Life is absolutely thrilled that Planned Parenthood will not get any more of our state tax dollars. Thanks to this very encouraging decision, Ohioans of conscience won’t have to worry about whether their tax dollars are going towards abortions.”
Four of the 11 judges who ruled in favor of the law were appointed by President Donald Trump, according to Politico. The Trump administration also is facing multiple lawsuits for its attempts to defund Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood’s 2018 annual report lists 332,757 abortions and a record $1.66 billion in revenue, including about half a billion taxpayer dollars. Leana Wen, its president, recently admitted that abortion is their “core mission.”