CINCINNATI— An Ohio law that blocked federal taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood facilities in the state was struck down by a federal appeals court Wednesday.
The law, which was signed by Gov. John Kasich in 2016, prohibited federal taxpayer money from going to businesses that perform abortions in the state of Ohio. That money, about $1.5 million, would be reallocated to organizations that do not perform abortions.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit unanimously overturned the Ohio law April 18, saying that it overstepped Planned Parenthood’s “due-process rights,” since Planned Parenthood would allegedly be using funds from six federal health programs for preventative health measures that are unrelated to abortion.
One of the panel judges, U.S. circuit Judge Helene White, said that Planned Parenthood was simply claiming the “right not to be penalized in the administration of government programs based on protected activity outside the programs,” according to Reuters.
White was joined by two other judges: Eugene E. Siler Jr. and Eric Clay.
However, the state of Ohio argues that Planned Parenthood is seeking “a constitutional guarantee to public funding — a guarantee that forces Ohio, against its own judgment, to give public money to large abortion providers. The Constitution contains no such guarantee.”
Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a regulation allowing states to choose whether to give federal funding to health clinics that perform abortions. Shortly before leaving office, former President Barack Obama’s Health and Human Services Department had issued a rule prohibiting states from denying funding on the grounds of a facility performing abortions.
A spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who defended the lawsuit in court, said the state was reviewing the ruling to see if it should pursue further appellate review, Reuters reports.
The Ohio law was originally passed in February 2016, after a series of undercover videos were released the previous year appearing to show Planned Parenthood engaging in misconduct, including the illegal sale of aborted baby tissue.
Kasich, who signed the original law, has also introduced other pro-life legislation in Ohio, including a 20-week abortion ban and a prohibition of abortions due to a Down syndrome diagnosis within the state.