While President Biden continues to frame Democrats’ fight over abortion as merely a battle to codify Roe and Casey, state-level liberals, such as Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney, expose the true extremist position of the party. A lawsuit brought by residents of the City of Brotherly Love challenging Philadelphia’s gift of $500,000 in taxpayer dollars to the Abortion Liberation Fund to pay for abortions reveals this reality.
Charles Kuhar Sr. and Theresa Kuhar, two residents of Philadelphia, first filed suit against the city after Kenney announced its intent to contribute half-a-million dollars to the Abortion Liberation Fund — an organization with the express purpose of providing financial assistance to women to pay for abortions. Upon learning that Kenney’s administration had already transferred the cash to the Abortion Liberation Fund, the Kuhars filed an amended complaint, seeking both a rule that the transfer of funds violates the federal Hyde Amendment, the Pennsylvania constitution, and two Pennsylvania statutes, and an order for the taxpayer money to be returned to the city.
The Hyde Amendment provides that federal funds may not be used to pay for an abortion. The Pennsylvania constitution, for its part, prohibits the use of appropriations from the commonwealth “for charitable, educational or benevolent purposes.” Two Pennsylvania statutes also specifically regulate the use of commonwealth and federal funds, expressly providing that such funds may not be “expended by any State or local government agency for the performance of abortions.”
Notwithstanding these restrictions on the use of federal and commonwealth funds, in July of 2022, the city of Philadelphia gave the Abortion Liberation Fund $500,000 of taxpayer dollars out of its general fund. Money in the general fund came from money obtained from the commonwealth, funds received directly from the federal government, federal funds appropriated by the commonwealth, and local tax dollars.
In response to the Kuhars’ lawsuit, the city and the Abortion Liberation Fund argued that the $500,000 represents city surplus funds and not dollars received from the commonwealth or the federal government, and therefore there is no violation of the Hyde Amendment or the commonwealth laws. And the city is free to use its own taxpayer dollars to fund activities it believes beneficial for society, such as abortions, the defendants argue.
The Kuhars counter that because the money was commingled in the general fund, and because money is fungible, it is irrelevant that the city had received more than $500,000 in local tax dollars. The violation is clear, they maintain.
Tom King, the Pennsylvania lawyer representing the Kuhars, also sees the case as clear-cut on the merits but told The Federalist that the Pro-Life Coalition of Pennsylvania will soon be joining the case as a plaintiff to eliminate any attempt by the mayor and his team to avoid the law by arguing the Kuhars, as mere taxpayers, lack standing to sue.
“Philadelphia’s attempt to circumvent state and federal law is egregious,” King further stressed. “This should be stopped by the DOJ, Pennsylvania’s attorney general, and the local district attorney,” he added, but told The Federalist that “as usual, they are all silent.”
Whether the court will agree with King’s clients remains to be seen. But this case provides a perfect illustration of the end goal of liberals in a post-Roe/Casey world: When in charge, Democrats will use taxpayer funds to pay for abortions regardless of the objections of taxpayers. That is a far cry from codifying Roe, Mr. President.