A federal appeals court has prevented a state from defunding the largest abortion provider in America.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an Indiana law that prevented funds from going to Planned Parenthood or other abortion providers could not be enforced because it likely violates federal law.
Indiana’s legislature passed a law which provided:
An agency of the state may not: (1) enter into a contract with; or (2) make a grant to; any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed that involves the expenditure of state funds or federal funds administered by the state.
The law essentially defunded Planned Parenthood in that state.
The appeals court held that the state does not have the authority under federal law to “exclude a class of providers [i.e. abortion providers] for any reason,” only if they are not “qualified” or able to perform the service for which the federal funds are allocated. Thus, according to the court, it would be a violation of federal law to prevent “qualified” abortion providers from receiving Medicaid dollars for non-abortion related services.
The ACLJ filed an amicus brief on behalf of 41 Members of Congress and thousands of Americans arguing that a state has a legal right to prevent funds from “indirectly subsidiz[ing] abortion activities.” We also argued that “Congress left intact the States’ authority to determine what makes an entity qualified to provide Medicaid services.”
While this is a disappointing ruling in the fight to stop our tax dollars form going to the abortion industry, the court did make one other important ruling striking at the heart of Planned Parenthood’s argument.
Planned Parenthood had also argued that this law violated the “constitution right” to obtain an abortion by penalizing abortion providers. The ACLJ argued that “the novel argument that abortion providers have a constitutional right to perform abortions and receive public funds finds no support in the law.”
The Seventh Circuit expressly agreed holding, “It is settled law that the government’s refusal to subsidize abortion does not impermissibly burden a woman’s right to obtain an abortion.”
This portion of the ruling is not an insignificant pro-life victory, putting to rest the abortion industry’s outrageous claim that it somehow has a constitutional right to our tax dollars.
Our efforts will continue at both the federal and state levels and in the courts to defund the abortion industry. As this and other similar litigation continues, we will keep you informed.