Judge Restores Planned Parenthood Funding
Special Report - August 23, 2011
On August 19, a federal district court judge temporarily halted a provision of the North Carolina state budget that prohibits the state from providing funding to Planned Parenthood. U.S. District Judge James Beaty, Jr. granted Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina’s (PPCNC) request for a Preliminary Injunction to prevent the prohibition from going into effect while the group pursues a lawsuit against the State in an attempt to restore the funding. A motion from PPCNC argued that the group “would suffer irreparable harm” if the exclusion was allowed to go into effect before the lawsuit is decided. Judge Beaty wrote that PPCNC had shown that without the preliminary injunction and the funds, “they would be forced to close facilities, lay-off employees and cease providing certain women’s health services (not related to abortion services),” which he considered to meet the definition of “irreparable harm” because the funding was only stopped to Planned Parenthood, and not to specific programs under which PPCNC qualified for government funding. Judge Beaty’s court order stated that the lawsuit “does not in any way involve funding for abortion services,” but rather “involves legislation that resulted in PPCNC being excluded from receiving otherwise available funding for contraceptive and teen pregnancy prevention programs.” He continued, stating that PPCNC has “effectively shown that no other public health departments or other agencies in the affected area would be able to meet this need [for health services, including family planning services, particularly for low-income women] in the interim as effectively as PPCNC.”
The state’s budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, which went into effect July 1 after the General Assembly overrode Governor Beverly Perdue’s veto of it, includes a provision prohibiting the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) from providing “State funds or other funds administered by the Department for contracts or grants to Planned Parenthood, Inc. and affiliated organizations.” According to Judge Beaty’s order, PPCNC operates three health clinics across the state (Durham, Chapel Hill, and Fayetteville), which provide services other than abortion, including cancer screenings; testing for diabetes, anemia, and high cholesterol; “testing and treatment for sexually-transmitted infections; colposcopies; and contraceptives.” PPCNC receives state funding through DHHS from the federal Title X funding for family planning services for low-income women, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, and the Women’s Health Service Fund Grant “to provide long-acting contraceptives to low-income women” in certain counties.
According to the order, PPCNC had already been approved by DHHS for over $200,000 in state funding for 2011-2012 through the three programs. PPCNC filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of section 10.19 of the budget, which prohibits NC DHHS from providing state or federal funds to Planned Parenthood. The lawsuit argues that the budget provision violates PPCNC’s rights under the Supremacy Clause, First Amendment, and Equal Protection Clause. In his 35-page order, Judge Beaty states that PPCNC “established a likelihood of success with respect to its contentions that Section 10.19 is unconstitutional.”
Administration Requires Free Contraception - August 4, 2011
Planned Parenthood Scrutinized - July 15, 2011
Abortion Funding Ban Considered - May 9, 2011
House Passes State Budget - May 6, 2011
State Restrictions Reduce Abortion Rates - April 1, 2011
NCFPC Recognizes Pence Amendment - April 7, 2011
U.S. House Defunds Planned Parenthood - February 22, 2011
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