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Appeals Court Restores Funding to Planned Parenthood of Utah

A federal appeals court has struck down Gov. Gary Herbert's a 2015 executive order stripping federal funds from Planned Parenthood of Utah. (iStockphoto)
A federal appeals court has struck down Gov. Gary Herbert's a 2015 executive order stripping federal funds from Planned Parenthood of Utah. (iStockphoto)
July 13, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY - A federal appeals court has reversed Gov. Gary Herbert's executive order blocking federal funding to Planned Parenthood of Utah.

The ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals stated that Herbert likely was trying to punish the organization with his 2015 order, and found that Planned Parenthood had done nothing to justify the action.

Karrie Galloway, chief executive of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said the organization "feels vindicated" by the ruling.

"We felt that the governor's actions were politically motivated from the beginning," she said. "There was no wrongdoing on Planned Parenthood of Utah's part."

Herbert pulled the funding after the release of hidden camera videos that later were discredited, edited to imply that some Planned Parenthood clinics were illegally selling fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood of Utah clinics were not in any of the videos. In a statement, Herbert said he's disappointed by the ruling and is considering his legal options.

In its decision, the court cited the governor's personal opposition to abortion as a likely motivation for blocking the funds. According to Galloway, the ruling said Herbert's actions were meant to punish the organization for providing abortion services and pro-choice advocacy efforts.

"They said a number of times that there was no evidence, or even any allegation, that we had engaged in any wrongful conduct that would allow him to cancel a contract," she said.

The court issued a preliminary injunction restoring the federal funds to Planned Parenthood. The case was sent back to the original court for a hearing on a permanent injunction.

The ruling is online at ca10.uscourts.gov.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - UT