Utah must continue giving tax dollars to the abortion giant Planned Parenthood at least temporarily, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday, according to the Washington Times.
Last August, Utah became the fifth state to vote to defund the abortion group after a series of undercover videos caught Planned Parenthood leaders discussing the sale of aborted babies’ body parts.
According to news reports, Utah lawmakers said they will no longer allow the state to be used by the federal government to funnel funds to the abortion company. Their decision revoked about $275,000 in taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood in Utah.
Planned Parenthood challenged the law, but a federal judge sided with the state in December and allowed it to defund the abortion group. Planned Parenthood then appealed that decision, and the 10th Circuit Court sided with them.
The appeals court ruling on Tuesday extends its previous decision to delay the defunding measure from taking effect. The news report has more details:
The judges extended a court order keeping the money flowing while the larger court battle plays out.
Republican Gov. Gary Herbert cut off the funding for STD and sex education programs last fall, following the release of secretly recorded videos showing out-of-state employees discussing fetal tissue from abortions.
Herbert said he was offended by the callousness of the discussion shown on the videos.
Planned Parenthood says it did nothing wrong and the move amounted to political retribution against an organization he opposes.
“The governor is disappointed with the court’s split decision today,” Herbert spokesman Jon Cox said. “He believes that it is in the public’s best interest to allow state officials to make contract decisions on behalf of the state, rather than a distant federal court. The governor will work with the attorney general to review the court’s decision and determine the best course of action moving forward.”
FOX 13 reports more about the appeals court decision:
“Considering all of this evidence together, we conclude that a reasonable finder of fact is more likely than not to find that Herbert issued the Directive to punish [Planned Parenthood in Utah] for the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights it has identified in this litigation. In particular, we conclude that a reasonable finder of fact is more likely than not to find that Herbert, a politician and admitted opponent of abortion, viewed the situation that presented itself by release of the CMP videos as an opportunity to take public action against PPAU, deprive it of pass-through federal funding, and potentially weaken the organization and hamper its ability to provide and advocate for abortion services,” Judge Mary Beck Briscoe wrote.
“This seems especially true given Herbert’s concession that the allegations made by CMP are unproven and in fact false, and in light of the current political climate, including the efforts by abortion opponents both in the State of Utah and nationally to defund Planned Parenthood and its affiliates.”
Judge Robert Bacharach agreed in part with the ruling, but also dissented.
“I respectfully disagree with the majority’s conclusion that PPAU has shown a likelihood of success on the merits of the claims involving unconstitutional conditions. Accordingly, I would affirm the district court’s denial of PPAU’s motion for a preliminary injunction,” he wrote.
In an interview with KSL Newsradio in December, Herbert defended his decision to defund the abortion group.
“The governor has to make decisions and those are sometimes discretionary, and it’s part of what my responsibility is as we enter into many contracts with folks out there,” Herbert told.
Herbert said the funds, about $275,000, will be redirected to community health providers “to provide the same kind of health care to women that Planned Parenthood was doing” – without funding abortions.
“If anything, we’ll have additional access points, more access points, better access to women’s health, so the idea that this is somehow going to harm women is fallacious,” Herbert said.
As LifeNews previously reported, a poll conducted by Jones and Associates found that 56% of Utah residents view Planned Parenthood in a negative light, while only 37% view them favorably. The Salt Lake City Tribune reports the poll took place from August 7-9 and surveyed 500 adults in the state. Additionally, the survey found that most do not support using fetal “tissue” for research.