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Planned Parenthood Wins in Ohio

A federal judge blocks a law to defund the embattled organization.

By Elena Gooray


(Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

A federal judge just handed Planned Parenthood — and the millions of Americans it serves — a major victory. United States District Judge Michael Barrett struck down a law today that would have blocked the roughly $1.4 million the organization receives from the state, mostly from federal funding, the Associated Press reported.

The Ohio law is just one of several attempts nationwide to strip money from Planned Parenthood. Since July of 2015, politicians in “at least 24 states” have tried to cut back the group’s services, the organization claimed this April. Ten states had taken some concrete action against the group by that same month, according to the Washington Post. It was around that time when the Obama administration sent a letter to all 50 states warning against defunding.

Planned Parenthood is one of the U.S.’ biggest providers for contraceptives. The organization has also made a name offering a slew of non-contraceptive health-care services, including HIV testing and cancer screenings. It announced plans to register voters at college campuses and its health centers last week, NBCreported.

As a result, defunding Planned Parenthood would have wide-ranging impact, as Francie Diepwrote last year. Shuttering the organization’s services would primarily affect lower-income patients, especially those seeking reproductive care, and could destabilize a national downward trend in pregnancies as well as abortions.

Abortion remains the primary sticking point for Planned Parenthood’s work — even though rising opposition to abortion has coincided with the group’s shift to focusing on other reproductive health services, Diep noted:

Up until the 1970s, abortion rights enjoyed majority and bipartisan support among Americans, as the New Yorker reports. That changed with the second Nixon Administration, and, in the 1980s, “opposition to abortion grew violent,” Jill Lepore writes. As a result, “fewer and fewer places were willing to provide abortions, which made Planned Parenthood, in many parts of the country, the last abortion provider left standing.” Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of its services went toward other reproductive care.

The Ohio attorney general plans to appeal Barrett’s ruling, according to the Associated Press. The potential gridlock matches national sentiment: Gallup polls indicate Americans are more split on abortion now than we were in the years following Roe v. Wade.