In an 11-6 decision, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed both a lower court and a three-judge panel and said Ohio could stop funding Medicaid services provided by Planned Parenthood in Ohio because it is an abortion provider.

This decision is at variance with circuit court decisions in Kansas and Louisiana and to a degree in Arkansas, where the 8th Circuit has so far allowed a halt to Arkansas funding of non-abortion medical services by Planned Parenthood because Gov. Asa Hutchinson objects to its abortion services. The split among the circuits seems likely to take this case to the Supreme Court. The National Law Journal reported:


Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote the majority opinion holding that Ohio’s law “will not create an undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion.”

“Private organizations do not have a constitutional right to obtain governmental funding to support their activities,” Sutton wrote. “The state also may choose not to subsidize constitutionally protected activities. Just as it has no obligation to provide a platform for an individual’s free speech, say a Speaker’s Corner in downtown Columbus, it has no obligation to pay for a woman’s abortion. Case after case establishes that a government may refuse to subsidize abortion services.”

John Bush, a Little Rock native and anti-abortion zealot appointed to the 6th Circuit by Donald Trump despite controversy over his extreme ideology, joined in the majority opinion.