Appeals Court Allows Law Blocking Planned Parenthood Funding in Ohio
By Michael D. Pitman Jack Torry
Former state lawmaker Margy Conditt is "thrilled" a federal appeals court supported a law she jointly sponsored that defunds Planned Parenthood in Ohio.
Conditt, a Liberty Twp. Republican who represented the 52nd Ohio House District until her 2017 resignation, was one of the two lead sponsors for House Bill 294 in the 131st General Assembly passed mostly along party lines. Conditt's joint sponsor, former Ohio Rep. Bill Patmon, D-Cleveland, voted in support of the bill and a pair of Republicans -- former lawmakers Nathan Manning and Jeff Rezabek -- voted against it.
"If it goes to the U.S. Supreme Court, I'd be happy with that," said Conditt, a staunch pro-life conservative. "I'd be just as happy if it doesn't get appealed."
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday in Cincinnati ruled 11-6 that the 2016 law was constitutional. Conditt expects the decision to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which maintains a 5-4 conservative majority.
"I'm absolutely thrilled that Planned Parenthood will never get any more of our state tax dollars, if it holds," Conditt said.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in a telephone interview from Youngstown said "we've always felt the states had the right to set policy on who is funded and who is not funded. I'm pleased with the decision."
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said the federal appeals ruling allows Ohio to "strip" state funding from Planned Parenthood, which threatens healthcare for Ohioans who rely on it for medical treatment and services.
"(Tuesday's) ruling rewards a political stunt by state lawmakers that has real consequences for Ohio women and families," Brown said. "By blocking funding for women to access potentially lifesaving healthcare -- including breast and cervical cancer screenings and infant mortality prevention programs -- Ohio lawmakers are putting politics over the health and safety of their constituents."
Federal Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote the decision for the majority, striking down last year's ruling by a three-judge panel on the same federal circuit court. He wrote the law does "not violate a woman's right to obtain an abortion. It does not condition a woman's access to any of these public health programs on refusing to obtain an abortion."
(c)2019 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)