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6th Circuit dissolves injunction blocking Ohio from de-funding entities that perform or promote abortions

by | Jun 22, 2018

By Dave Andrusko

The full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted Thursday to dissolve an injunction issued by a three-judge panel that blocked an Ohio law which de-funds entities that perform or promote abortions from taking effect. The court will hear arguments at a later, but as yet unspecified date.

Passed overwhelmingly by the Ohio legislature and signed into law in February 2016 by Gov. John Kasich, the measure forbids the state from contracting for health services with any entity that performs or promotes non-therapeutic abortions.

But the following August, Judge Michael Barrett granted a permanent injunction sought by Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region that prevented the Ohio Department of Health from enforcing the law.

They argued the law was “in retaliation for their constitutionally protected advocacy for abortion rights and affiliation with other organizations that also advocate for abortion rights and/or provide abortion services.”

Last April the Cincinnati-based panel consisting of judges Siler, Clay, and White upheld Judge Barrett. They concluded, “The district court correctly determined that [the law] violates Plaintiffs’ rights of free speech and association.”

Pro-life Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

Attorney General Mike DeWine then asked the entire 16-member court (“en banc”) to hear the case and yesterday a majority of the full bench decided to reconsider the case.

“No judge can compel a state to give public money to a private corporation and today the court of appeals agreed,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “There are a significant number of real health clinics that need these limited resources and Ohio passed a law to fund these entities where a vast majority of women visit. Simply put, Ohio’s pro-life law is constitutional.”

When Judge Barrett issued his ruling, Gonidakis noted

Judge Barrett’s decision is a clear violation of states’ rights and the conscience rights of taxpayers. It is the public policy of the state of Ohio to prefer childbirth over abortion, and we should be allowed to allocate funds accordingly. … As was the case in Roe v. Wade, yet again, an activist judge is fabricating ‘rights’ out of thin air to the benefit of the abortion industry. Ohio has hundreds of free to low-cost women’s health care providers that don’t perform abortions, yet we are forced to subsidize one that does. In 2015, Planned Parenthood performed 323,999 abortions, all while receiving $553.7 million in taxpayer dollars. That accounts for an obscene 42 percent of its total revenue.

Categories: Judicial