A refusal by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio to block a lower court ruling will allow Planned Parenthood and other abortion sellers to receive federal taxpayer funds for providing “family planning” services which can include referring women for abortion.
Planned Parenthood and other abortion sellers get their hands on taxpayer funds in a couple different ways. The lion’s share comes through Medicaid reimbursements. For Planned Parenthood, that brings in more than a half-billion dollars per year.
The other funding avenue, until 2019, came from Title X family planning grants paid through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This year HHS will provide roughly $256 million in Title X grants to various recipients to help low-income and uninsured individuals. In past years, Planned Parenthood received approximately $60 million annually in such grant funding.
The problem for pro-life taxpayers has always been that Planned Parenthood’s “family planning” services have always been an excuse to refer women for abortions – sometimes just down the hall at the same PP facility. And this despite the clear language in the 1970 federal law creating Title X: “The broad range of services does not include abortion as a method of family planning.”
To prevent the law from being exploited by abortionists, in 2019 HHS passed a new rule requiring Title X grant recipients to keep their family planning services and their abortion practice separate, both physically and financially. It also prohibited referrals for abortion. It was justifiably named the “Protect Life Rule.” It was even upheld by the notoriously liberal 9th Circuit in 2020 after a legal challenge from the state of California.
Tellingly, Planned Parenthood affiliates refused to comply with the 2019 rule and gave up – for the time being – their participation in Title X. They just couldn’t separate their baby-killing business from the government program that brought women to their facilities in the first place.
In 2021, the Biden Administration’s HHS revised the rule to eliminate the 2019 restrictions on funds, opening up the taxpayer-funded gravy train for Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry once again.
But in October, 12 states – led by the Ohio Attorney General – challenged the 2021 rule in court. Those states asked a lower court to issue an injunction blocking the effectiveness of the new rule until the litigation played out. The federal district court judge overseeing the case denied the request, and the states appealed to the 6th Circuit, asking that court to issue the injunction the lower court would not.
A three-judge panel recently refused that request, ruling that the 12 states were not entitled to an injunction because they would not be irreparably harmed if the new rule were allowed to stay in effect while the litigation proceeded in the lower court.
“Federal law prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion — and that law means nothing if the federal money isn’t kept separate,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a press release announcing the lawsuit back in October. “That, frankly, is the real reason behind the  rule.”
The 6th Circuit’s ruling does not end the litigation; indeed, it is in its early stages at the district court level. However, it does mean that while the litigation is pending, Planned Parenthood and other abortion sellers will be taking advantage of taxpayer funds to keep their doors open and the lights and heat on.
And their sordid business of exploiting vulnerable women and ending the lives of preborn human beings will continue – at least for the time being – at the expense of the American taxpayer.
The case is State of Ohio v. Becerra.
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