A federal appeals court upheld the constitutionality of Ohio’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood Tuesday. The 2016 law bars state funding to any healthcare organization that performs or promotes abortions. Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, had sued over the law claiming that it violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 11-6 Tuesday to overturn a previous decision by a three-judge panel in the same appeals court that said the law was unconstitutional. During his time as the state’s attorney general last year, now-Gov. Mike DeWine (R) requested that the case be heard by the full court of appeals.
Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote for the majority that while the law does place a condition on government funding, that condition is not unconstitutional.
“Private organizations do not have a constitutional right to obtain governmental funding to support their activities,” he argued. “The state also may choose not to subsidize constitutionally protected activities. Just as it has no obligation to provide a platform for an individual’s free speech, say a Speaker’s Corner in downtown Columbus, it has no obligation to pay for a woman’s abortion. Case after case establishes that a government may refuse to subsidize abortion services.”
“The affiliates are correct that the Ohio law imposes a condition on the continued receipt of state funds,” he added. “But that condition does not violate the Constitution because the affiliates do not have a due process right to perform abortions.”
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