Attorney General Alan Wilson joins lawsuit to stop federal funding of abortions

October 26, 2021

A federal rule change allowing taxpayer dollars to be used to encourage and support abortions has prompted Attorney General Alan Wilson to join with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and 10 other states to sue the Biden administration.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in the U.S. Southern District of Ohio, does not challenge the right to an abortion, which the U.S. Supreme Court created in Roe v. Wade. Instead, it 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 purpose of both of those rules was to build walls to prevent the funding of abortion with taxpayer money — which remains illegal.

“The Department of Health and Human Services knows it cannot legally subsidize abortion, so it’s trying to do it indirectly by putting family planning services and abortion services in the same place,” Attorney General Wilson said. “While fighting to protect the lives of unborn children is important enough on its own, we’re also fighting against a federal agency that’s trying to blatantly violate federal law.”

The Family Planning Services and Population Research Act of 1970 appropriated public funding for family planning clinics, called Title X clinics, to increase low-income Americans’ access to contraceptives and preventative health services. But the law prohibits funds from being “used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”

In May, Yost and attorneys general from 20 other states sent a letter warning the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services against reversing the 2019 rules.

Despite that warning and the Title X law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently issued a rule lifting the program integrity requirements.

South Carolina’s and Ohio’s challenge is joined by Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. Not all states participate in Title X.

You can read the letter here.