Two recent state Supreme Court decisions limit abortion funding and access for women in the U.S. In Missouri, the Court upheld a state law barring state family planning funds under Title X from going toward abortion providers. The case decided whether a Planned Parenthood clinic illegally used state family planning funds to provide abortion services, and the decision increases the likelihood that Planned Parenthood will not be eligible to receive Title X funding in Missouri. Title X is a federally funded program that provides family planning monies to states for distribution to various providers who are required to give “neutral, factual information and nondirective counseling in each of the options” related to pregnancy.
The Alabama State Supreme Court, in a 5-3 opinion, denied an abortion to a 17-year-old girl, and established a tougher standard for overturning a lower judge’s ruling under the state’s parental consent law. Under this law, a minor must obtain a parent’s permission before having an abortion. If she cannot tell her parent(s), she can seek judicial bypass. However, a judge can refuse to grant bypass by stating that the minor is immature or ill-informed or an abortion would not be in her “best interest.” In this decision, the Court claimed it was “correcting” a former Appeals Court precedent to overrule judges who had denied abortions to minors, and established a new standard that you must only overturn a ruling when it is “plainly erroneous and manifestly unjust.”