By a vote of 11 to 6, a federal appeals court upheld an Ohio law on Tuesday that strips Planned Parenthood of government funding for a variety of health services that benefit low-income women.
In condemning the ruling, Planned Parenthood pointed to the many health care services it offers.
“This law strips funding that helps Planned Parenthood provide 70,000 free STD and HIV tests, cancer screenings, domestic violence education through the Violence Against Women Act, and Planned Parenthood’s Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program to reduce infant mortality. The Court’s decision will allow the law to take effect,” a statement from the organization said.
African-Americans face a disproportionately high maternal and infant death rate compared to other racial and ethnic groups. They also tend not to have access to the highest quality of health care.
In Ohio alone, Planned Parenthood said it supported over 80,000 patients in 2017, and its education and outreach programs reached over 45,000 individuals, administering over 170,000 sexually transmitted infection tests, over 18,000 HIV tests, and offering support and sex education in health centers and communities across Ohio.
The Trump administration has spearheaded an effort to eliminate taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood as part of its anti-abortion agenda. As a result, the president has supported state legislatures that want to eliminate the organization from public health programs.
The hundreds of affiliate health centers nationwide, including standalone clinics and satellite offices, provide services to nearly three million patients, of whom 15 percent are African-American.
Trump has attacked similar organizations and programs that also provide services that benefit low-income people.
President Obama’s 2010 Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program served 1.2 million young people. Pregnancy and birth rates for Black and Latina teens fell by almost half from 2006 to 2016, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Obama’s TPP program was widely credited for contributing to that decline. The program awarded funding to groups tackling adolescent pregnancy, many of them focusing on high-risk teens in communities where there’s a lack of quality sex education and access to contraception.
“It is unconscionable that politicians continue seeking to restrict people from accessing essential health care – which is a human right. We know the consequences: it’s people’s health and their lives at stake. Planned Parenthood will never stop fighting for our patients and the communities we serve,” said Dr. Leana Wen, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.