AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upholding Ohio’s law that prevents state health program funds from going to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. Ohio’s case was bolstered by a friend-of-the-court brief filed by Texas and 13 other states with similar or prospective laws.
In Texas, taxpayer funds may not be provided to abortion providers through state health programs and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld that practice in 2012. This week’s 6th Circuit ruling comes as Attorney General Paxton’s office prepares to defend Texas’ removal of Planned Parenthood from the state’s Medicaid program after undercover video footage revealed Planned Parenthood officials’ practice of violating generally accepted medical ethical standards. Oral arguments will be heard the week of May 13 before the full 5th Circuit. Earlier this year, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit ruled in Texas’ favor.
“The 6th Circuit’s decision on Ohio’s law is a tremendous victory for rights of conscience and the rule of law,” Attorney General Paxton said. “States should not be forced to continue providing taxpayer funds to subsidize actions a majority of voters consider immoral, and states should have the authority to decide what providers will be included in their public health programs.”
The 6th Circuit’s ruling overturned two lower court decisions holding that Ohio’s law violated Planned Parenthood’s constitutional rights. In its majority opinion, the court said that private organizations such as Planned Parenthood had no guaranteed right to funds for anything, including to perform or advocate abortion. “Governments generally may do what they wish with public funds, a principle that allows them to subsidize some organizations but not others,” the majority wrote.