Utah must continue giving taxpayer dollars to the abortion chain Planned Parenthood for now, a federal judge ordered this week.
In August 2015, Utah became the fifth state to defund the abortion group after a series of undercover videos caught Planned Parenthood leaders discussing the sale of aborted babies’ body parts. 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. The lawsuit has been moving through the courts.
On Sunday, U.S. District Judge Dee Benson ruled that the state cannot block funding to the abortion group before the lawsuit is resolved, ABC News reports.
Benson’s ruling follows 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in July that also sided with Planned Parenthood. The court also temporarily blocked Utah from defunding Planned Parenthood.
Herbert said he was disturbed by the undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress, showing top Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of aborted babies’ body parts. 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.
The Center for Medical Progress investigation prompted numerous states to take action against the abortion group. Since the videos broke, eight states uncovered evidence of wrong-doing at Planned Parenthood facilities.
A federal Congressional investigation is on-going. The House panel has uncovered a growing list of evidence that abortion facilities may have violated federal laws. Earlier in June, the panel sent evidence to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicating that Planned Parenthood and the human tissue procurement company StemExpress may have violated patients’ privacy under HIPPA.
The panel also recommended that criminal charges be filed against the University of New Mexico after it allowed summer camp students to be involved in dissecting aborted babies’ brains obtained from an abortion facility not affiliated with Planned Parenthood, according to Fox News.