Court rules Ohio can defund Planned Parenthood

An appeals court in Ohio gave a rare victory over Planned Parenthood funding when a majority of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state can cut funding to Planned Parenthood because the company performs abortions.

Several other rulings across the nation, including a lower court decision in Ohio, have refused to allow states to defund Planned Parenthood.  This particular ruling would not affect Medicaid funding of Planned Parenthood, but it would affect six other state health agencies.


Four of the 11 Sixth Circuit judges who sided with Ohio in Tuesday's decision were appointed by President Donald Trump.  The judges said Ohio's law barring state health department funding from going to any provider who offers "non-therapeutic abortions" or advocates for abortion rights, "does not violate the Constitution because the affiliates do not have a due process right to perform abortions."

Eric Murphy, the attorney who argued on Ohio's behalf for cutting funding to the clinics, has since been appointed by Trump to the court and was confirmed by the Senate in early March.

For several years, Planned Parenthood clinics received public funding to participate in Ohio initiatives targeting sexually transmitted diseases, breast cancer and cervical cancer, teen pregnancy, infant mortality and sexual violence.  None of that money was used to fund the organization's abortion providers — who operate at three out of more than two-dozen clinics in the state.  Still, because the state's Republican leaders were opposed to "using abortion providers as the face of state healthcare programs," former Gov. John Kasich signed the funding ban in 2016.

Another four years of Trump will radically alter the federal judiciary, which is exactly what terrifies the Left.  At the same time, it should be noted that this is a fairly narrow ruling that won't put much of a crimp in Planned Parenthood's abortion business. 

The ruling offers a guide to other federal courts as to how to address the issue.  While you wouldn't expect a liberal appeals court to adopt this legal reasoning, others will.  We might expect other issues that come before majority-Trump-appointed courts to be decided in similarly conservative fashion — a welcome and vitally necessary change that proves the old adage: "Elections matter."

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