Colorado officials funded abortionists even though voters approved a state constitutional amendment banning the practice, argues a brief filed in an appeal of a trial court’s decision to uphold the state’s alleged misuse of $14 million in taxpayer funds.
“Colorado bureaucrats should not use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, especially when the Colorado Constitution prohibits it,” said Legal Counsel Natalie Decker of the Alliance Defending Freedom.
“The lower court should not have dismissed this case on a technicality since it agreed that $14 million of taxpayer funds flowed from state government agencies to Planned Parenthood and its abortion affiliate, presumptively in violation of the state constitution.”
The case has its foundation in 1984 when Colorado voters approved a complete ban in their constitution on direct and indirect state funding of abortion.
The state Department of Public Health, at that time run by Jane Norton, audited Planned Parenthood and found that state moneys were subsidizing its operations, so funding was ended.
However, despite the amendment, Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, resumed the practice of giving tax money to the abortion business after he arrived in office in 2007. The current governor, Democrat John Hickenlooper, has continued the practice.
The case was moved up to the state Court of Appeals when the district judge, Andrew P. McCallin, threw it out without allowing the pre-trial discovery phase sought by the plaintiffs.
The ADF brief says the voters’ primary concern in enacting Colorado’s Abortion Funding Limitation was to establish “a public policy for the state of Colorado that public funds are not to be spent for the destruction of prenatal life through abortion procedures.”
“This is a legitimate policy goal as proponents of Colorado’s Abortion Funding Limitation did not want Colorado to lend its ‘imprimatur’ to the ‘direct or indirect’ funding of induced abortions,” the brief says.
Barry Arrington, co-counsel and one of thousands of private attorneys allied with ADF, emphasized that the people of Colorado “resoundingly voted against funding abortion either directly or indirectly.”
“We hope the Colorado Court of Appeals reinstates this case and affirms the people’s desire for their government to responsibly use their tax dollars,” he said.
ADF Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton previously weighed in.
“No one is above the law, including Colorado politicians who are violating our state’s constitution by continuing to fund Planned Parenthood’s abortion activities with state taxpayer dollars,” he said.
The brief filed with the appellate court focuses on the constitutional provision that states: “No public funds shall be used by the state of Colorado, its agencies or political subdivisions to pay or otherwise reimburse, either directly or indirectly, any person, agency or facility for the performance of any inducted abortion.”
Jane Norton’s audit had revealed that Planned Parenthood’s abortion-performing affiliate occupied space in Planned Parenthood buildings but did not pay fair market rent. It used Planned Parenthood personnel, medical equipment and other resources without fair payment.
That means, the brief argues, sending taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood should be regarded as subsidizing directly or indirectly prohibited actions.
The case seeks to have the payments to Planned Parenthood halted and the earlier payments, estimated at $14 million, returned.
The brief accuses the district court of ignoring the plain meaning of words, heading off attempts to obtain facts and improperly converting the defendants’ motions into a summary judgment motion.
“The state defendants even concede they paid at least $1.4 million of state taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood did not disagree. While there may be a factual dispute to resolve in discovery as to the actual amount of state taxpayer dollars paid to Planned Parenthood and for what purpose, it is undisputed that the state defendants paid state taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood.”
The brief continues: “Frankly, the district court could not know at this stage of this case what Planned Parenthood even does in its office, including whether and to what extent Planned Parenthood performs induced abortions, or whether and to what extent Planned Parenthood performs other services related to induced abortions; or whether the induced abortions performed by PP’s abortion affiliate are funded or subsidized by Planned Parenthood; or whether PP’s abortion affiliate could perform any or all of these induced abortions without the support.”
ADF notes that just prior to the vote on the abortion amendment in 1985, state’s Blue Book, a state production that describes issues and their impact on voters, said that if the amendment were to pass, political subdivisions could be prevented from contracting “for any services with agencies or institutions which provided abortion services.”
State called out for giving abortionists unauthorized millions
Tue, 17 Feb 2015 01:51:17 GMT