In February, the Trump administration passed new regulations that cut federal funding to abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood. The move came after years of conservatives fighting to pass restrictive abortion laws and close abortion clinics. According to Politico, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on March 12th that Ohio could prevent state funding from going to places that provide “non-therapeutic” abortions (an abortion that is not deemed a medical necessity for the mother). Ohio is the latest state to deny funding to Planned Parenthood, but it is far from the only one trying. Here’s a list of the places where Planned Parenthood is most at risk.
In January, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a previous decision that prevented Texas from denying abortion providers’ access to Medicaid funds—meaning clinics in Texas could lose a valuable source of funding. The decision could be taken to the Supreme Court, but if SCOTUS refuses to hear it, it could remain in place.
According to a news release on the Planned Parenthood website, in February 2019, the Supreme Court (thankfully) blocked a law that would have left only one abortion clinic in the entire state. However, Louisiana is also governed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, so the above January Texas ruling could mean that similar attempts to cut off Medicaid funds for abortion clinics could be successful—unless SCOTUS reviews and overturns the decision.
South Carolina has introduced a new attempt to siphon state funds away from Planned Parenthood. The Associated Press reports that members of the state’s House of Representatives voted on a budget proposal yesterday, March 12th, to limit funds for abortion providers. If it passes in the state Senate and is signed by the governor, this budget amendment could be a very real threat to women’s reproductive care in the state.
Politico notes that in February 2018, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked an attempt in Kansas to restrict Medicaid funding to abortion clinics. SCOTUS upheld this ruling in December when it refused to review the case. However, if the 10th Circuit decides to re-evaluate the case and changes its ruling—like the Fifth Circuit did—abortion clinics could end up losing money.
Perhaps even more unsettling than all of the above is the fact that, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 15 states have already limited family planning funds to abortion providers, and 11 states have limited other kinds of state money. And this list doesn’t include states that are trying to limit reproductive rights in other ways, such as introducing “heartbeat” bills (laws that would make abortion illegal as soon as the fetus’s heartbeat is detectable, which occurs at about six weeks—often before a woman even knows she’s pregnant).
Without funding, abortion providers could be forced to close their doors—which will have devastating consequences for so many women and families. And in the case of Planned Parenthood, it could mean that low-income people will lose access to important services like cancer screenings, contraceptive services, and routine checkups. We need Planned Parenthood, period.