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Judge Rules Utah Can Cut Planned Parenthood Funds

Planned Parenthood rally in August at the Utah statehouse protesting Gov. Gary Herbert's decision to cut off funding.  (Planned Parenthood Association of Utah)
Planned Parenthood rally in August at the Utah statehouse protesting Gov. Gary Herbert's decision to cut off funding. (Planned Parenthood Association of Utah)
December 23, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY - Women's health advocates are slamming a judge's decision Tuesday to allow the state of Utah to cut off $273,000 a year in federal funds to Planned Parenthood.

Gov. Gary Herbert blocked the grants in August, indicating outrage over undercover videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials negotiating prices for fetal tissue for research. Planned Parenthood has said the videos are misleading, and in any case, their Utah affiliate does not participate in fetal-tissue research.

Utah State Rep. Angela Romero says most of Planned Parenthood's services have nothing to do with abortion and are crucial to low-income women.

"Abortion is legal and there's parameters around that," says Hebert. "And none of the money that's provided through Congress and allocated at a local level funds that particular service."

This ruling vacates a temporary injunction that kept the money flowing until the end of the year. Planned Parenthood of Utah issued a statement saying the decision is regrettable, that they will continue with their lawsuit and their Utah clinics will remain open.

Romero notes that the money being cut off was going to sex education and to programs to combat sexually transmitted diseases.

"If you look at our STD rates in the state, they're on the rise and so it's important that people get access to the right information," says Romero. "I think they provide quality and informed education."

Planned Parenthood is suing several other states where governors have tried to cut off funding. This is the first time a judge has ruled against Planned Parenthood.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - UT