In 2016, after finding out Planned Parenthood was disposing of human fetal remains in a manner inconsistent with state laws and health codes, the state of Ohio passed legislation which would prevent $1.3 million from going to Planned Parenthood annually from the Ohio Department of Health.
Planned Parenthood sued the state of Ohio over the bill, which would deprive them of 5-7% of their yearly budget.
HB 294 was introduced into the Ohio House of Representatives during July of 2015, passed and was moved to the Senate November 2015, and ultimately passed the Senate in January of 2016. In May of 2016, Governor John Kasich signed the bill into law.
Judge Michael R. Barrett of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio ruled in June of 2016 the law was unconstitutional because it violated the free speech and association rights of Planned Parenthood as well as due process, both of which are protected under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. Judge Barrett granted Planned Parenthood an injunction against the bill.
Earlier this year, a panel of three judges from the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision from Barrett. However, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine asked the full panel to reconsider the appeal. Last week, the court reported a majority of the 16-judge panel agreed to reconsider the case. Oral arguments will soon be scheduled.
The reconsideration of the bill is a victory for pro-life Ohioans. While Planned Parenthood may deny the money they receive funds abortion, they also deny the fact money is fungible. Governor Kasich and Attorney General DeWine recognize this fact, as do the Ohioans who voted for them and supported the bill. If the bill is upheld, the $1.3 million would be distributed to other community healthcare providers who do not perform abortions.
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