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NC Planned Parenthood Funds Restored by Fed Judge

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on August 23, 2011 6:48 AM

In June, Planned Parenthood North Carolina met the same fate as many of its affiliates across the country, with legislators slashing funding for its family planning services and preventative health screenings.

But on Friday, a federal judge ordered the state to restore hundreds of thousands in funding promised to the organization during the upcoming fiscal year, questioning the legislature's decision to single out the group and pointing out that Planned Parenthood already can't spend government funds on abortion.

Along with Planned Parenthood North Carolina, affiliates in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Kansas, Indiana, New Hampshire, Texas, and New Jersey have faced de-funding legislation, though a judge in Kansas found such a measure unconstitutional earlier this month.

The goal of these laws has been widely publicized by supporters as a disproval of the organization based on its choice to provide abortion services.

Legislators often feel that, despite laws that prohibit the use of funds for abortion services, supporting Planned Parenthood's other services is still akin to state sponsorship of abortion.

While this may be true, both a federal judge in Kansas and, last week, a federal judge in North Carolina, have ruled that, as long as these de-funding laws focus solely on Planned Parenthood, they are unconstitutional.

Both found the Constitution, which expressly prohibits states from passing laws that exact punishment on a specified group, outlaws such de-funding legislation, which also may run afoul of federal regulations that dictate how funds must be distributed.

While this a big win for Planned Parenthood North Carolina, the ruling will almost certainly be appealed, leading to a potentially years-long legal battle.

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