In a victory for the pro-life movement, a federal judge allowed Utah to begin de-funding the abortion business Planned Parenthood on Tuesday.
The Utah affiliate of Planned Parenthood sued the state in September after pro-life Gov. Gary Herbert ordered the state health department to cut off federal funding to the abortion group. U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups ruled Tuesday that Herbert’s order could move forward.
The Desert News reports that Waddoups said the abortion group did not meet the burden of proof to stop the order. The judge said in the order that Planned Parenthood failed to prove that Herbert was acting unconstitutionally against the group because it does abortions. Waddoups also threw out the temporary restraining order that Planned Parenthood had against the state, according to the report.
Waddoups’ decision ended a temporary halt to the governor’s order, which the judge put in place in October, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Gov. Herbert said he was pleased with the decision.
“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 KSL Newsradio.
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.
Utah Planned Parenthood officials were outraged by the decision.
“We are reviewing next steps with our attorneys, and we will be looking at every possible way to continue the critical health care and education programs that are at risk,” Karrie Galloway, CEO of the Utah affiliate, said in a prepared statement.
Utah legislators also are working to ensure that taxpayer dollars won’t go to the abortion giant in the future. State Sen. Margaret Dayton said she is drafting a bill to block taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood and other groups that promote or provide abortions, LifeNews previously reported.
State officials said they want to de-fund the abortion giant because of a series of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress showing top Planned Parenthood officials discussing harvesting and trafficking aborted babies’ body parts.
Gov. Herbert previously told the AP that he was offended by the “casualness” and callousness” of the abortion giant’s top officials as they discussed crushing unborn babies’ bodies and haggling over the price of their body parts in the undercover videos.
Polling shows wide distrust of the abortion giant among Utahans. An August poll conducted by Jones and Associates found that 56% of Utahans view Planned Parenthood in a negative light, while only 37% view them favorably. The Salt Lake City Tribune reported that the poll surveyed 500 adults in the state. Additionally, the survey found that most do not support using fetal “tissue” for research.
Utah was the fifth state to de-fund Planned Parenthood in the wake of videos exposing their organ harvesting business. The abortion business also is challenging other states’ de-funding efforts in court.