The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a law on Tuesday that will cut funding for Planned Parenthood and similar groups that provide abortions in Ohio. The news comes as a huge blow to abortion rights activists and women relying on affordable, preventative healthcare throughout the state.
According to Judge Jeffrey Sutton, “Private organizations do not have a constitutional right to obtain governmental funding to support their activities. 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, it has no obligation to pay for a woman’s abortion.”
Planned Parenthood to Lose $1.5 Million in Funding
Planned Parenthood operates 26 healthcare facilities in Ohio, three of which provide clinical abortions as well as preventative care, and screenings for breast and cervical cancers. The program now stands to lose $1.5 million in annual funding from the state health department.
“I recently visited our Ohio health centers where I saw for myself the public health necessity of our Planned Parenthood programs that reduce maternal and infant mortality, cut STI and HIV rates, and provide breast and cervical cancer screenings,” Dr. Leana Wen, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement Tuesday.
An Incredible Loss for the Community
According to Sarah Inkeep, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood in Ohio, the facilities have served more than 80,000 Ohio patients in 2017, with educational programs helping more than 45,000 people. 170,000 sexually transmitted infection tests were administered, and 18,000 tests for HIV.
“This is an incredible loss for our community. The law reduces access to sex education programs that teach young people about healthy relationships, and how to prevent STIs and unplanned pregnancies,” adds Kersha Deibel, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Southwest Ohio Region.
Ohio Right to Life Thrilled With Outcome
“Ohio Right to Life is absolutely thrilled that Planned Parenthood will not get any more of our state tax dollars,” said Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “Thanks to this very encouraging decision, Ohioans of conscience won’t have to worry about whether their tax dollars are going towards abortions.
Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, applauds the court’s strong denunciation of Planned Parenthood’s “Big Lie” that she claims falsely represents the best interests of women when it advocates for “unlimited abortion on demand.”
Pro Choice Advocates Fight Back
On the flip side, abortion rights activists see the court’s decision as a rallying cry. “Today we are one step closer to becoming a forced birth nation,” adds Heidi Sieck, co-founder of #VoteProChoice. “While the extreme, anti-choice conservative minority elected President Trump and took over the Supreme Court, our prochoice nation can still fight back if we vote prochoice up and down the ballot.”