This week, pro-life attorneys general from 19 states signed onto an amicus brief supporting Ohio’s pro-life Attorney General Dave Yost in calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to stop Planned Parenthood’s abuse of our tax dollars by petitioning for attorneys’ fees even in court cases they have not won. In July 2019, the Sixth Circuit ordered the state of Ohio to pay the attorneys’ fees for Planned Parenthood in a case dating back to 2004. Here’s the whole story:
- In 2004, Ohio passed a law requiring abortionists to follow the FDA protocol for mifepristone chemical abortions
- Planned Parenthood sued with four specific claims about the law and won a preliminary injunction
- All but one of those claims were resolved in favor of the defendant (the State), over almost a decade of hearings that went from the Sixth Circuit to the Ohio Supreme Court
The ACLU filed again in 2013 on behalf of that one remaining claim; then-Attorney General Mike DeWine filed a Motion to Dismiss, which was denied, and ultimately a trial was scheduled for 2016.
- In the meantime, the Obama administration changed the FDA protocol for mifepristone, extending the period of time it could be used from 49 days gestation and categorizing the drug as one to be used in abortions, which ended the prohibition of using it “off label”, written in to the 2004 law, rendering the case moot.
- The plaintiffs (the ACLU and Planned Parenthood) dismissed their claim, then proceeded to file a Motion for Attorneys Fees and Costs in July 2016, which they ultimately won in July 2019.
- The State petitioned for an en banc hearing, which was denied, and on August 29th, 2019, motioned for a stay while the state petitions the U.S. Supreme Court for review. The stay was granted, and this week, this amicus brief was filed by a cohort of state attorneys general in support.
Yost is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the awarding of fees, reasoning that all Planned Parenthood “won” was the initial preliminary injunction in 2004. Ultimately, they never prevailed on the merits of the case, because federal law changed and gutted the law initially passed.
Ohio Right to Life thanks Attorney General Yost for his leadership in challenging an ill-considered policy by the Sixth Circuit to continually award attorneys' fees to Planned Parenthood. There should be no guarantee for the abortion provider to recover their legal costs each time they challenge a law, especially if that law ends up being nullified during the process. We are grateful to see the support of pro-life attorney generals from Indiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana and Missouri in filing this compelling and well-reasoned amicus brief on behalf of Ohio’s request. It is our hope the Supreme Court sides with reason, and Planned Parenthood will cease to continue using our legal system as a means to subsidize their abortion business.
To read the full amicus brief: click here.