Nation & World

Federal court blocks Ohio from cutting Planned Parenthood money

FILE PHOTO: Ohio Governor John Kasich speaks during news conference in Columbus, Ohio, U.S., May 4, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Ohio Governor John Kasich speaks during news conference in Columbus, Ohio, U.S., May 4, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk/File Photo

A federal appeals court Wednesday blocked an Ohio law that would cut federal taxpayer funding to 28 Planned Parenthood clinics, holding that conditions it imposed that denied funds to abortion providers were unconstitutional.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld a lower-court judge’s ruling against a law Republican Gov. John Kasich signed in 2016 that would strip funding to Planned Parenthood received for non-abortion services.

The law would have affected funding for Planned Parenthood programs for mothers’ and infants’ health, HIV counseling and testing, and sex education. Planned Parenthood offers abortions in some of its Ohio clinics, but not all of them.

According to court papers, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Southwest Ohio said it stood to lose nearly $1.5 million a year if the law went into effect.

U.S. Circuit Judge Helene White, writing for the three-judge panel, said the Ohio law had violated Planned Parenthood’s due process rights by requiring a health care provider to surrender its right to provide legal abortions as a condition of participating in programs that have nothing to do with abortion.

Although the result is much the same, the Ohio law to defund Planned Parenthood is different from one adopted last year in Iowa.

In 2017, GOP-led Iowa legislators turned aside federal money to instead create a state family planning program that bars any state money from going to any group that also provides abortions. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland closed four Iowa clinics.

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Planned Parenthood has not challenged the Iowa family planning law in court, But the organization notes Iowans oppose the change.

“Seven in 10 Iowans want the state to restore public funding for Planned Parenthood,” spokeswoman Becca Lee said in an email. “It is shameful that Gov. (Kim) Reynolds and the Legislature refuse to listen to the people, and continue to deny thousands of Iowans access to the high quality health care they need and deserve.”

Michaela Ramm of The Gazette contributed to this report.

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