ST. GEORGE — After Gov. Gary Herbert ordered state agencies to cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood of Utah in August following the release of secretly recorded videos by anti-abortion activists, attorneys for the organization sued the governor Monday and were granted a request for a temporary restraining order Tuesday, halting the state from defunding Planned Parenthood.
Herbert issued an order blocking Planned Parenthood from receiving federal money for STD education and prevention programs through the state health department on Aug. 14. Funding for some of the programs was set to be pulled Wednesday.
Planned Parenthood of Utah said Herbert’s action violated the organization’s constitutional rights and was based on unfounded allegations, according to federal court documents.
U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups overruled Herbert’s directive, blocking the state from refusing to hand over federal funds, and issued the temporary restraining order against Herbert and the State of Utah during an abruptly scheduled hearing Tuesday.
Waddoups’ ruling allows Planned Parenthood to receive federal dollars through the Utah Department of Health for at least two weeks while the organization seeks a longer-term injunction that would put the governor’s order on hold pending the outcome of the lawsuit the organization filed against the state.
The governor’s order came in reaction to a series of controversial videos released by a California anti-abortion group allegedly showing national Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of aborted fetal tissue for scientific research.
Aimee Edwards, spokesperson for Herbert, said the governor stands by his actions and looks forward to responding to Planned Parenthood’s claims in court.
“Today’s procedural action does not deter Gov. Herbert’s resolve to carry out his directive,” Edwards said in a statement issued Tuesday.
In a statement issued Monday, Edwards said the governor was “offended by the actions of Planned Parenthood and the callousness with which they discussed human life.”
Planned Parenthood Association of Utah CEO Karrie Galloway issued the following statement late Tuesday afternoon, applauding the issuance of the temporary restraining order:
Governor Gary Herbert has been enjoined by Judge Clark Waddoups of the United States District Court for the District of Utah from halting federal funds to Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. This temporary restraining order against the governor is a major victory for the people of Utah who rely on the affordable reproductive health care and education services that Planned Parenthood provides.
The federal pass-through funds we receive to carry out these essential programs will stay in place, untouched until October 15th, when Judge Waddoups has a chance to consider the full merits of the case. The grant of the temporary restraining order is a positive sign that the lawsuit we filed has merit.
We are overjoyed about this positive step to protect the constitutional rights of Utahns. We will continue to stand up and fight back to continue to provide safe, affordable, high-quality reproductive health care and education services — no matter what.
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