Yost files suit to stop federal funding of abortions
Published 12:00 am Friday, October 29, 2021
COLUMBUS — A federal rule change allowing for taxpayer dollars to be used to encourage and support abortions has prompted Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost to sue the Biden administration, and 11 other states have joined his fight.
Yost’s office said the lawsuit, filed Monday in the U.S. Southern District of Ohio, does not challenge the right to an abortion, which the U.S. Supreme Court created in Roe v. Wade, but, instead, it seeks to reinstate rule changes made in 2019 that required federally funded family-planning clinics to (1) be physically and financially independent of abortion clinics and (2) refrain from referring patients for abortions.
The purpose of both of those rules was to build walls to prevent the funding of abortion with taxpayer money — which remains illegal, Yost’s office said.
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“You can’t ‘follow the money’ when all the money is dumped into one pot and mixed together,” Yost said. “Federal law prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion — and that law means means nothing if the federal money isn’t kept separate. That, frankly, is the real reason behind the rule.”
The Family Planning Services and Population Research Act of 1970 appropriated public funding for family planning clinics, called Title X clinics, to increase low-income Americans’ access to contraceptives and preventative health services.
But the law prohibits funds from being “used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”
In May, Yost and attorneys general from 20 other states sent a letter warning the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services against reversing the 2019 rules.
Despite that warning and the Title X law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently issued a rule lifting the program integrity requirements.
Ohio’s challenge is joined by Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia. Not all states participate in Title X.