Attorney General Josh Stein wants North Carolina to join other states in opposing Ohio’s law defunding Planned Parenthood, his office announced Thursday.
Stein is asking a judge to allow North Carolina to join a multi-state friend-of-the-court brief filed in federal court by 16 other state attorneys general on April 5. Pennsylvania is also attempting to join the legal effort.
The attorneys general contend the law passed in Ohio in 2016 unconstitutionally infringes on the right to provide and receive health-care services, violating free speech and due process rights. A court temporarily blocked the law before it took effect.
It would prohibit the state from awarding grants to health-care providers who perform or promote abortions. The grants, however, are not related to reproductive health but to other health services, such as breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV and AIDS prevent and sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment.
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“Planned Parenthood provides needed preventive and primary health care services to women across North Carolina,” Stein said in a statement. “This law and other similar measures force health care providers to choose between these critical health care services and delivering reproductive health care. This is not only wrong, it’s against the Constitution.”
More than a dozen states, including North Carolina, have taken similar steps to defund Planned Parenthood in recent years. North Carolina’s law was halted by a federal judge, but the legislature got around that order by rewriting its law, and the state now does not award Planned Parenthood affiliates federal or state grants.
The federal health-care law, which was supposed to replace Obamacare but remains stuck in Congress, includes a provision to defund Planned Parenthood nationwide. A congressional resolution also encourages states to defund the organization.
The other states opposing the law are New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, and the District of Columbia.