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Ohio Cuts Funding For Planned Parenthood After Court OK

AP Photo/Cliff Owen

The Ohio Department of Health is ending grants and contracts that send money to Planned Parenthood after a divided federal appeals court upheld a state anti-abortion law that blocks public money for the group.

The department notified recipients and contractors Thursday that it will end that funding within a month to comply with the law, unless the court delays the effect of its ruling as Planned Parenthood has requested.

The health department said the law requires it to ensure state and certain federal funds aren't "used to perform or promote nontherapeutic abortions."

The law targeted funding that Planned Parenthood receives through the department. That money is mostly from the federal government and supports education and prevention programs.

Planned Parenthood said the funding provides "essential services" to tens of thousands of Ohioans that other health centers can't replace.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio President Iris Harvey called the decision "heartless" and said it puts "politics over people."

"This cruel ruling blocks funding that allowed Planned Parenthood to provide essential services that reduce black infant mortality, prevent violence against women, and provide cancer screenings, HIV tests and sex education," she said in an emailed statement.

On March 12, the full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati reversed a lower federal court ruling when it voted 11-6 to uphold the state law. The majority opinion said that while Planned Parenthood contends the Ohio law will unconstitutionally deprive women of the right to access abortion services without undue burden, that conclusion is premature and speculative because the organization has said it will continue to provide abortion services.

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