Republican Attorney General and gubernatorial hopeful Bill Schuette has signed on to yet another lawsuit challenging federal funding of Planned Parenthood over its health education services.
Schuette has long been a foe of abortions and other women’s reproductive health rights issues that Planned Parenthood provides, so his decision to involve himself – and by extension, the state of Michigan – in a case originating in Ohio should come as little surprise. In 2015, Schuette’s office was the lone “no” vote of a state board against federal and local funding to Planned Parenthood for their family planning services.
But the federal money Schuette is challenging would provide a variety of health services, including HIV screening, contraception, cancer screenings and other services that were not related to providing abortions, reports of the filing said.
“Bill Schuette has become so focused on restricting access to the health care Planned Parenthood provides, he has forgotten about the true impact on the thousands of people we serve,” said Lori Carpentier, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Michigan. “Shutting off access to cancer screenings, contraception and STI tests and treatments is not what the people of Michigan (or Ohio) want nor deserve.”
Last month, Schuette was endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan (which opposes the right to legal abortions) in his current bid for governor.
Earlier this year, Schuette also signed on to another federal effort seeking to deny abortions to undocumented minors who are in the custody of the United States government. Schuette had claimed Michigan had a “legitimate and substantial interested in preserving and promoting fetal life,” but he and the Trump administration have, for now, lost that case, as a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, D.C. ruled against the interference of a minor’s health until the lawsuit on behalf of the minors is decided.
The current federal case Schuette is now involving himself in against Planned Parenthood tries to say that states have the right to determine which agency provides health education and pregnancy screening services. Perhaps more concerning, Schuette cites “government speech” as part of his logic.
“Planned Parenthood has no right to be selected to administer these programs; to the contrary, because these programs all involve government speech, Ohio has a right to choose its agent – indeed, its spokesperson – in these programs, and no entity has a right to be selected to fill that role,” reports quoted from his amicus brief.