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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert
Steve Weatherbe

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Utah governor gives up attempt to defund Planned Parenthood

Steve Weatherbe

SALT LAKE CITY, May 2, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Eighteen months after a court overturned Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s order to block Title X federal funds from flowing to Planned Parenthood, he has proposed a permanent solution to end the dispute.

Under the agreement filed with the federal district court that issued the first ruling, Utah will not cut off federal flow-through funding in mid-contract because Planned Parenthood does abortions. But the state does not have to renew contracts or sign new ones with the nation’s largest abortion provider for “legitimate” reasons on the condition it notifies Planned Parenthood 30 days in advance.

The deal caught pro-life groups by surprise. Mary Taylor, president of Pro Life Utah, told LifeSiteNews she only knew about the deal after the fact from reading the newspapers.

Herbert issued the order to the Health Department in 2015 after pro-life crusader David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress released video recordings of senior Planned Parenthood officials bargaining over the price of aborted baby parts with Daleiden. He was posing as a representative for a medical supplier.

Had Herbert not been stayed by a federal court, it would have cost Planned Parenthood $374,000 in 2015 and 2016, which was all the federal funding over which the state wielded authority, and a quarter of the total federal dollars going to the abortion provider in Utah. Planned Parenthood insisted that none of the money went for abortions (which is illegal under federal law). The funds were used instead for such things as sexually transmitted disease tracking and testing, and, it claimed, an abstinence-based sex education program for schools.

A lower court ruled the governor’s decision was unconstitutional.

In a footnote to the legal battle, newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, then a federal appellate court judge, ruled on the losing side of a panel decision that rejected an appeal by the governor.

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Utah judge blocks state from defunding Planned Parenthood

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