A lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood in December 2015 against the state of Ohio was dismissed during the last week of May 2016 by mutual agreement of both sides. In the aftermath, the state must pay Planned Parenthood’s legal fees of more than $45,000.
The two parties reached a settlement in the lawsuit that was brought by Planned Parenthood after Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine accused the agency of violating the law by disposing of aborted fetuses in landfills. The settlement requires the state to pay $45,447 for the legal fees incurred by Planned Parenthood in the lawsuit, a payment that must be made within 60 days. As part of the settlement agreement, neither party was required to admit wrongdoing.
At issue was the current state law that requires fetal remains to be disposed of in a “humane” manner. Planned Parenthood’s stance was that they had not done anything illegal or outside Ohio’s statute in the disposal of fetal remains in a humane manner and have not been cited by the Ohio Department of Health, which conducts annual inspections of all abortion providers in the state, for any violations of state law in more than five years, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Jennifer Branch, an attorney who represented Planned Parenthood in the lawsuit, explained that the length of the suit before a settlement could be reached was due to the health agency not trusting the state to enforce the current statute. Legislation has been introduced in the 131st Ohio General Assembly that would further define the ambiguous term “humane,” but until such legislation becomes law, the state will be required to enforce the statute already in place.
U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus Jr. will retain jurisdiction over the case through May 2018 to ensure terms of the settlement are enforced.
Federal Court Extends Stay on Removal of Federal Funding to Ohio Planned Parenthood
As reported in The Daily Voice News, U.S. District Court Judge Michael R. Barrett originally issued a two-week stay blocking the state of Ohio from implementing a law that would strip federal funds from Ohio’s Planned Parenthood on May 23, 2016. The law that was originally set to take effect May 2016 has now been placed on hold until August 5, 2016, reports Dayton Daily News, after the original two-week-stay was set to run out this week.
The stay was issued pending the outcome of a lawsuit that Planned Parenthood has filed against the state of Ohio over the constitutionality of the new statute that would, in effect, put the health agency out of business for all the programs and services it provides. An additional hearing has been set for August 2, 2016 in the same federal court. It will be determined at that time if an additional stay will be issued.
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