Utah judge blocks state from defunding Planned Parenthood
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, October 20, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Utah taxpayers cannot divest themselves of sending $275,000 to the state's arm of Planned Parenthood, a judge ruled this week.
According to The Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups extended his September 29 restraining order against Governor Gary Herbert. The order prevents the governor from ending the state's subsidization of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah (PPAU).
Herbert had ordered the state to defund the abortion giant on August 14; Planned Parenthood sued shortly thereafter. Herbert had used undercover pro-life videos that allege illegal abortions and illegal fetal harvesting taking place at the highest levels of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, with which PPAU is affiliated, as justification for defunding.
Per The Salt Lake Tribune, Planned Parenthood attorney Peggy Tomsic says that because Herbert knew that Utah Planned Parenthood clinics were not involved in any illegal fetal harvesting, the defunding effort was defaming to her group.
The attempt to withdraw funds "sent a message to this community at large that Planned Parenthood is a criminal and deserves to be punished," she said.
Utah Solitical General Tyler Green countered that "there is nothing objectively unreasonable about the state's decision to terminate the contract."
Waddoups indicated in his original September 29 order that the state's effort would likely not succeed.
The AP reports that Tomsic said that pulling Planned Parenthood's funding would hurt its First Amendment right to promote abortion – as well as work with Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
An official for PPAU did not respond to multiple requests for comment asking for justification of Tomsic's statement.
Waddoups has run afoul of social conservatives before; he ruled that Utah's polygamy law was unconstitutional and said the state owed court fees to the people who had sued to overturn the law.