Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration to stop the federal funding of abortions, his office announced in a press release on Monday.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Southern District of Ohio, does not challenge the right to obtain an abortion. The lawsuit challenges “a federal rule change allowing for taxpayer dollars to be used to encourage and support abortions.”
As I covered this month, the Biden administration reversed President Trump-era policies implemented in 2019 that prohibit federally-funded family planning clinics from making abortion referrals and requirements that these clinics to be “physically and financially independent of abortion clinics.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Oct. 4 that these guidelines had been reversed.
“[The lawsuit] 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 press release reads. “The purpose of both of those [the Trump administration’s] rules was to build walls to prevent the funding of abortion with taxpayer money — which remains illegal.”
In a statement, Yost, who is the former Auditor of State, said that reversing these policies makes it impossible to trace where the federal funding for the clinics is going.
“You can’t ‘follow the money’ when all the money is dumped into one pot and mixed together,” Yost said in a statement. “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.”
In May, Yost and attorneys general from 20 other states sent a letter to the HHS warning against reversing this policy.
“Many Americans regard abortion as the murder of a child. Other Americans disagree—they consider abortion to be among the most important of rights,” the letter stated. “Individuals who believe abortion takes an innocent life likely would not wish to enter a mixed-use Title X facility. Even individuals who are themselves in favor of abortion as a policy matter or who have had abortions in the past might experience discomfort when directly exposed to a vacuum that removes parts of a child in the womb while receiving a Pap test or STD examination.”
Ohio’s challenge is joined by 11 other states; Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia.