State AGs side with Planned Par­ent­hood in Ohio abor­tion fund­ing suit

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Maria Castel­lucci —Dave Barkholz

At­tor­neys gen­eral from 16 states have joined Planned Par­ent­hood in their fight to over­turn an Ohio law that pre­vents health­care providers that of­fer abor­tion ser­vices from par­tic­i­pat­ing in pub­licly funded health pro­grams.

In an am­i­cus brief filed last week, the at­tor­neys gen­eral ar­gued that the state law vi­o­lates providers’ con­sti­tu­tional rights be­cause it pres­sures them not to pro­vide abor­tion ser­vices by tak­ing away fund­ing for cer­tain ser­vices.

Planned Par­ent­hood of Greater Ohio sued the Ohio Depart­ment of Health in May 2016, claim­ing the law would limit pa­tients’ ac­cess to abor­tion ser­vices.

The law has been on hold for the last year af­ter a U.S. Dis­trict Court judge blocked its im­ple­men­ta­tion due to Planned Par­ent­hood’s law­suit. The state has ap­pealed the de­ci­sion.

The Ohio law pro­poses to re­move fund­ing for ser­vices re­lated to screen­ing for breast and cer­vi­cal can­cer, HIV and AIDS pre­ven­tion, test­ing and treat­ment for sex­ual trans­mit­ted dis­eases and in­fant mor­tal­ity pre­ven­tion.

Since 2009, 15 other states have adopted laws to pro­hibit pub­lic fund­ing against providers who per­form abor­tions, ac­cord­ing to the am­i­cus brief.

“Health­care providers should not have to choose be­tween pro­tect­ing a woman’s right to re­pro­duc­tive health­care and pro­vid­ing other vi­tal pub­lic health ser­vices—yet that’s ex­actly what the Ohio state law, and so many other regressive mea­sures around the coun­try, seek to do,” New York At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric Sch­nei­der­man said.

Bernie Sherry, min­istry mar­ket ex­ec­u­tive for As­cen­sion Wis­con­sin, said Catholic-spon­sored As­cen­sion would con­tinue to ex­pand its ser­vices into other north-cen­tral Wis­con­sin com­mu­ni­ties.

N.Y. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric Sch­nei­der­man

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