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Hastings Law Journal

Authors

Alisha Patton

Abstract

This Note analyzes the pro-life crusade to defund Planned Parenthood and exclude private insurance plans that cover abortions from all subsidized insurance markets, ostensibly in accordance with decades-old case law that upheld the Hyde Amendment and other laws that prohibit Medicaid and Title X family planning program funds from being used to pay for abortions. That jurisprudence was based on two premises: (1) that governments have a legitimate interest in favoring live birth over abortion, and (2) that funding restrictions do not constitute unwarranted governmental interference with reproductive freedom because they do not impede abortion access but only disfavor it. While the truthfulness of those premises is debatable, this Note does not argue that old case law should be overturned. Rather, it argues that more recent case law is applicable to proposed No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion provisions, which go beyond simply denying government funds for abortions and are actually intended to undermine abortion rights by shutting down abortion providers and coercively forcing private insurers to drop abortion coverage as a standard feature of their health plans. Specifically, if enacted, these provisions should be subject to the undue burden standard laid out in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Further, this Note concludes that the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion provisions should be deemed unconstitutional under the undue burden standard or, in the alternative, because they violate the unconstitutional conditions doctrine.

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