U.S. Supreme Court Won't Hear FOI Case Over Grant To N.H. Planned Parenthood

Nov 16, 2015

 

U.S. Supreme Court
Credit courtesy Flickr/NCinDC.

New Hampshire Right To Life will not receive documents about Planned Parenthood they requested from the federal government five years ago.

On Monday, the Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal to a lower court ruling that allowed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to withhold documents, in part because the documents contain confidential commercial information that might undermine Planned Parenthood’s ability to compete for patients.

New Hampshire Right To Life’s efforts began in 2011 when the state’s Executive Council voted to stop granting federal funds to Planned Parenthood of New England. There were no other family planning providers to fill the void, so the federal government bypassed state government and provided the $1 million to Planned Parenthood directly.

The group then requested documents about Planned Parenthood and its funding under the Freedom of Information Act. 

The Arizona legal group, The Alliance Defending Freedom, represented N.H. Right To Life in court. In response to Monday’s ruling,  attorney Casey Mattox says by email, “Americans are already being forced to fund Planned Parenthood, which has become the subject of numerous investigations, with more than $500 million in taxpayer dollars annually. At the very least, the government must be transparent about this money.”

Justices Thomas and Scalia dissented to the majority ruling. They argued the case did deserve consideration because other courts had made different interpretations of the same FOIA exemption laws.