CNA, September 11, 2019In response to new federal and state regulations restricting funding of abortion clinics, Planned Parenthood announced Monday that two of its clinics in Ohio will close this month.
Planned Parenthood currently operates 26 clinics in Ohio. Two will be closing down in the Cincinnati area. Their last day of business will be Sept. 20.
In March, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a state law that bans state funds from going to medical providers that perform abortions, cutting about $600,000 from Ohio Planned Parenthood, the Hill reported. The law passed in 2016, but it was immediately challenged in court.
“The state may choose to not subsidize constitutionally protected activities,” wrote Sutton. “Just as it has no obligation to provide a platform for an individual’s free speech,” the state has “no obligation to pay for a woman’s abortion.” Hon. Jeffrey Sutton, for the majority.
Judge Jeffrey Sutton, who authored the majority opinion, said that Ohio had no constitutional requirement to provide funds to any private organization.
“The state may choose to not subsidize constitutionally protected activities,” wrote Sutton. “Just as it has no obligation to provide a platform for an individual’s free speech,” the state has “no obligation to pay for a woman’s abortion.”
In addition to the state funding cuts, Planned Parenthood has also seen a decline in federal taxpayer money, after the Trump administration’s Protect Life Rule went into effect earlier this summer.
The Protect Life Rule makes changes to the Title X family planning program, barring Title X fund recipients from performing or referring women for abortions. Clinics that provide “nondirective counseling” about abortion can still receive funds.
The rule also prevents participating groups from co-locating with abortion clinics and requires financial separation between recipients of Title X funds and facilities that perform abortions.
Rather than comply with the new rules, Planned Parenthood announced that it was withdrawing from the Title X program. Nationwide, this decision means the organization is forgoing about $60 million in federal funding, of 15% of its annual federal funding. This money will be transferred to other organizations that adhere to the new regulations, so that the total amount of Title X funding distributed will not decrease.
Abortion advocates lamented the funding cuts.
“Cincinnati is the last place politicians should be forcing health centers to close,” said Kersha Deibel, president of Planned Parenthood of southwest Ohio.
She argued that pro-life advocates want to see world “where women lose access to birth control, where information about how to access abortion is held hostage, and where, if you don’t have money, it’s almost impossible to access an STI test or a cancer screening,” she said, according to the Hill.
However, Catherine Glenn Foster, the president and CEO of Americans United for Life, told CNA after the March ruling that the court was correct in ruling that there is no constitutional right to taxpayer-funded abortion.
She rejected Planned Parenthood’s claims “to represent the best interests of women when it advocates for unlimited abortion, as if that were either a health-based or justice-minded approach to the gift of human life.”