Ohio is Attacking Women’s Rights Again but Other States are Resisting
Ohio is charging ahead in its apparent mission to be one of the worst states for women’s rights. In its most recent effort, Ohio is suing to maintain its unconstitutional law that defunds abortion providers. But Attorneys General in 16 other states have stepped up to lend their voices to the defense of Ohio’s women.
What now, Ohio?
In August 2016, Ohio’s extreme law – which would have withheld funding from health care providers that “perform or promote” abortion (like Planned Parenthood, who challenged the law) – was held unconstitutional and permanently blocked by a federal court before it could go into effect. The court held that the law unconstitutionally required, as a condition of funding, that providers abandon their First Amendment free speech rights as well as a woman’s right to access abortion.
This attack is obviously part of a larger political mission to limit women’s access to abortion and other health care services women need – a mission that extends far beyond Ohio. Fortunately, similar attempts to “defund” abortion providers in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Utah, and more have all been blocked by courts. Even given the clear victory against this law in the lower court and the same outcomes in other states, Ohio has appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Other states are fed up.
The Attorneys General of 16 states – California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and D.C. – led by Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York, have filed an amicus brief in the Sixth Circuit court against the Ohio law.
The brief explains that the states are supporting Planned Parenthood and the women of Ohio because the attack in Ohio is similar to many of the attacks on women’s health and access to abortion in states throughout the country as well as in the federal government – and these states are fed up. The states point out that Ohio is misusing the power to distribute state funds to infringe on individuals’ constitutional rights.
This brief makes a strong showing of support for women’s health and rights. The fact that other states are taking notice and stepping up for what is right is a bright spot for women in Ohio – despite the callous actions of some of the politicians in their state.