ADF appeals illegal funding of abortions with Colo. taxpayer dollars

State records: $14 million provided to Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood in violation of state constitution
Thursday, September 18, 2014

Attorney sound bites:  Michael J. Norton  |  Natalie Decker

DENVER — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the former executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment filed an appeal Thursday of a trial court’s decision that upheld the state’s alleged misuse of more than $14 million in taxpayer dollars. The lawsuit contends that the funding Colorado has provided to Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood violates a voter-approved state constitutional provision that prohibits direct or indirect public taxpayer subsidies for abortion.

“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,” said ADF Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton. “The state acknowledges that about $1.4 million of state taxpayer money flowed from state government agencies through Planned Parenthood to its abortion affiliate. The lower court seems to have agreed with that but dismissed the case on a technicality.”

“We hope the Colorado Court of Appeals reinstates this case for the benefit of the taxpayers and the voters who clearly intended to stop exactly this kind of back-door funding,” added ADF Legal Counsel Natalie Decker, who is co-counsel in the case.

In 1984, Colorado voters approved the Abortion Funding Prohibition Amendment and later rejected an initiative to repeal it. The Colorado Department of Public Health audited Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood and its affiliate Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Services Corporation in 2001 and subsequently ended funding to them after finding that state funds were indirectly subsidizing their abortion operations. State officials later ignored that determination and resumed funding, claiming that the funds only consisted of federal taxpayer dollars.

The ADF lawsuit, Norton v. Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, explains that later public records requests and research demonstrated conclusively that the government has used and is using state taxpayer dollars. The lawsuit also contends that federal taxpayer dollars that the state administers are also off limits to abortionists.

Barry Arrington of Centennial, one of nearly 2,500 attorneys allied with Alliance Defending Freedom, is co-counsel in the case.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

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