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Sixth Circuit Upholds Ohio Law Defunding Planned Parenthood

In a closely watched decision, this past week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld an Ohio law permitting Ohio to defund Planned Parenthood clinics.  See Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio v. Hodges, Case No. 16-4027 (Mar. 12, 2019).  An 11 to 6 majority of the full panel of the Sixth Circuit reversed a district court decision enjoining a 2016 Ohio law that barred Ohio’s health department from funding organizations that perform nontherapeutic abortions.  In challenging the law, Planned Parenthood claimed that it would lose $1.5 in annual funding as a result.   Specifically, Planned Parenthood claimed that the law violated “the First and Fourteenth Amendments by conditioning government funding on giving up their rights to provide abortions and to advocate for them.”

In reversing the decision of the district court, the panel held that this funding “condition does not violate the Constitution” because the affiliates of Planned Parenthood “do not have a due process right to perform abortions.”   Because it held that providers do not have a constitutional right to perform abortions, it did not need to reach the free speech claim. 

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About this Author

Max Czernin litigation lawyer Squire PB
Senior Associate

Max Czernin is an experienced litigator who routinely litigates contract, commercial and complex business disputes in state courts, federal courts and arbitration proceedings throughout the country.

Max is a member of the firm's Healthcare Industry Group and over the past four years, he has represented clients in more than 40 disputes involving managed care companies and healthcare providers. He regularly counsels and consults with clients on emerging issues in the healthcare industry, including, but not limited to, reimbursement disputes, Medicare, Medicaid, fraud, waste and abuse...

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