Oops. Did the Governor break the law to refund his political masters?
Lawsuit challenges $18 million in contractsawarded to Colo. abortionistsADF attorneys and allied attorneys file suit asking court to cancel illegal state contracts
DENVER — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys and allied attorneys filed suit Wednesday, asking a Colorado court to cancel $18 million in illegal state contracts awarded over the last year to a Planned Parenthood affiliate and a Boulder abortion provider.“Public officials cannot toss aside the democratic process and the rule of law,” said lead counsel and ADF-allied attorney Barry Arrington of the Arvada law firm Arrington & Associates, P.C. “The governor and other state officials are not at liberty to ignore the will of the people on this matter. Colorado voters amended the state constitution to prohibit tax dollar subsidies to abortion providers.”The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Colorado taxpayer Mark Hotaling, contends that five contracts which Gov. Bill Ritter and the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Jim Martin, awarded to two abortion providers unconstitutionally use taxpayer funds to subsidize abortion.In 1984, Colorado voters approved the Abortion Funding Prohibition Amendment to the Colorado Constitution, which prohibits the direct or indirect use of public funds to pay for abortion. In 2001, the Health Department, under then-Executive Director Jane Norton, conducted an audit of the operations of Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood and its affiliate Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Services Corporation. The department ended funding for Planned Parenthood after finding that it indirectly subsidized the abortion operations of its subsidiary.Under Ritter and Martin, however, the department disregarded the ruling and awarded five funding contracts to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Services Corporation and Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center, which both provide abortions. The funding of their abortion operations is in direct violation of the Abortion Funding Prohibition Amendment.The lawsuit asks the court to declare that the contracts violate the Colorado Constitution and to prohibit the Colorado Department of Health from awarding further contracts to the two abortion providers.“The people of Colorado felt strongly that no taxpayer should be forced to pay for a procedure that takes innocent human life, so they amended the state constitution to put a stop to it,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden. “Apparently, Gov. Ritter felt so strongly to the contrary that he was willing to ignore the law and circumvent the will of the people to impose public funding for abortion on demand.”The complaint filed with the District Court for the City and County of Denver, Colorado, in Hotaling v. Ritter is available at www.telladf.org/UserDocs/HotalingComplaint.pdf.