Underwood Files Brief To Oppose Two-Year-Old Ohio Abortion Law

ALBANY – New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, challenging a Ohio state law that would defund Planned Parenthood and other providers who perform or promote abortions.
A full federal appeals court said that it will rule on the constitutionality of the law on Oct. 3. The decision to hear the case means the passed law will remain in suspension until the hearing.
The Attorney General argues that the 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.
The brief highlights that, since 2009, 20 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.
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 abortions, even though the grants have nothing to do with abortion services, Underwood said in a released statement.
The law forbids Ohio from contracting for health services with any entity that performs or promotes non-therapeutic abortions. If found to be constitutional, the law would effectively defund Planned Parenthood of public money in Ohio and bar the agency from obtaining contracts to provide health services across the state.