Judge sides with Governor Herbert over cutting Planned Parenthood money

Posted at 11:47 AM, Dec 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-22 21:25:00-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has sided with Governor Gary Herbert over his plans to block funding from Planned Parenthood.

In a ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups refused to grant Planned Parenthood of Utah’s request for a preliminary injunction. Among the judge’s rulings, terminating the contracts the state had with Planned Parenthood does not violate their right to advocate for abortion and any financial harm from terminating contracts can be redressed.

The judge also rejected arguments that the governor’s personal views on abortion clouded his decision.

“These facts fall short of proving, however, that Governor Herbert’s opposition to abortion was a substantial or motivating factor for terminating the contracts,” Judge Waddoups wrote.

Read the ruling here:

In a statement, Planned Parenthood of Utah CEO Karrie Galloway said she was disappointed with the decision.

“We went to court to stand up for the Utah women, men, teens, and their families who rely on Planned Parenthood for STI screenings, facts-based education programs, and other basic health care services,” she wrote. “The court’s decision to deny our request for an injunction is regrettable. We are reviewing next steps with our attorneys and we will be looking at every possible way to continue the critical health care and education programs that are at risk. But let me be clear: we are committed to providing trusted health care and education that Utahns rely on us for – no matter what.”

Planned Parenthood said it would continue with its lawsuit against the state over the cut funding.

In a statement, Governor Herbert said he was pleased.

“I appreciate today’s court decision which recognizes my ability to make contract decisions on behalf of the state. As I have said, the health of all Utahns remains a priority, and I will continue to work with the Utah Department of Health, local health departments, community health centers, non-profit clinics and others to ensure access to these important services,” he said.

The governor cut funding after videos surfaced that claimed to show Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue (the organization has said the videos were heavily edited). Planned Parenthood of Utah sued the governor, claiming he knew they had no role in the videotapes.