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April 6, 2017


As Defunding Efforts Proliferate Around the Country, Coalition of 16 AGs Opposes Ohio State Law to Defund Planned Parenthood & Other Health Service Providers that Perform Abortions

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today joined with 15 other attorneys general to file an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, challenging an Ohio state law that would defund Planned Parenthood and other health service providers that perform or promote abortions.

Madigan and the attorneys general argue the Ohio law violates the First Amendment and Due Process Clause because the law imposes an unconstitutional condition on state grants that infringes on plaintiffs’ right to free speech, as well as plaintiffs’ right to provide access to abortion services, and their clients’ right to receive such services.

“This law would severely limit women’s access to critical health care services,” Madigan said. “We must protect a woman’s right to reproductive health care and the other vital services that Planned Parenthood provides to promote preventative care and treat illness. I stand by Planned Parenthood and women across the country to oppose this proposed legislation.”

The brief highlights the fact that, since 2009 alone, at least 15 states have passed laws or taken executive actions to prohibit family-planning and other public-health funds from being awarded to Planned Parenthood affiliates and other providers of abortion services, even when those funds are specifically directed to support services that have nothing to do with abortion. Similarly, congressional Republicans have sought to defund abortion service providers as part of their unsuccessful bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act. While this measure is on hold for now, Congress has also passed a resolution that encourages states to pass defunding measures, repealing a Department of Health and Human Services rule that prohibits states from denying federally funded family-planning grants for reasons unrelated to the entity’s ability to provide family-planning services.

Ohio’s law, which was enjoined before it could take effect, would have prohibited the state from awarding public-health grants to providers who perform or promote safe and legal abortions, even though the grants have nothing to do with abortion services. Those grants instead provide funds for other health services, such as education to prevent violence against women, screening for breast and cervical cancer, HIV and AIDS prevention, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and infant mortality prevention.

With similar defunding efforts proliferating around the country, Madigan and the attorneys general seek to ensure the availability of safe abortion services and other important public health services from accessible providers in each of their states and to protect the right of providers to engage in constitutionally protected activity.

Joining Madigan in filing the amicus brief were attorneys general from: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Click here to read the amicus brief.


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