The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has blocked an Ohio law that tried to divert public money from Planned Parenthood in an anti-abortion push by GOP lawmakers.
The law targeted the more than 1.4 million dollars in funding Planned Parenthood gets through the Ohio Department of Health. That money, mostly from the federal government, supports certain education and prevention programs. The law would bar such funds from going to entities that perform or promote abortions.The restrictions, which had been slated to take effect in 2016, were signed by Republican Governor John Kasich during his failed presidential bid. A federal judge blocked the law that same year. The appeals court ruling upholds that lower-court decision. Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region had sued the state, saying the law violated their constitutional rights by denying them the funds "in retaliation for" providing abortions. Planned Parenthood said Ohio's law would not force any of its 28 health centers in the state to close but the legislation would deprive thousands of patients of access to services such as HIV tests and breast and cervical cancer screenings. The group's attorneys argued the law was unconstitutional because it required, as a condition of receiving government funds, that recipients abandon their constitutionally protected rights to free speech and to provide abortion services.