March 16, 2019 | Samuel Smith
The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an earlier ruling against an Ohio law that strips Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics public health funding.
In a split en banc ruling, the federal appeals court has seemingly paved the way for the Buckeye state to no longer give tax dollars meant for non-abortion public health matters to organizations that perform abortions.
The majority of the court ruled that the Ohio law, passed in 2016 to mandate that the Ohio Department of Health refuse funding to any entity that performs elective abortions, was not unconstitutional. The court reasoned that abortion organizations “do not have a due process right to perform abortions.”
The majority opinion, written by George W. Bush-appointee Judge Jeffery Sutton, even cites the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey in which the nation’s high court ruled that a state can’t place an undue burden on a woman’s right to get an abortion.
“Today’s plaintiffs do not have a Fourteenth Amendment right to perform abortions,” the court ruled. “The Supreme Court has never identified a freestanding right to perform abortions. To the contrary, it has indicated that there is no such thing.”
“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.”
The ruling comes after a three-judge bench from the Sixth Circuit ruled last year that the Ohio law would make it harder for women to access health care services.
In Tuesday’s majority ruling, Sutton argued that the Ohio law actually makes health care programs “available to every woman, whether she seeks an abortion or not.”