Judge allows Utah to block Planned Parenthood funds

Tuesday , December 22, 2015 - 9:47 AM

Eric Gay

FILE - In this July 28, 2015, file photo, Erica Canaut, center, cheers as she and other anti-abortion activists rally on the steps of the Texas Capitol in Austin, Texas, to condemn the use in medical research of tissue samples obtained from aborted fetuses. Texas announced Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, that it was cutting off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood clinics following undercover videos of officials discussing fetal tissue, potentially triggering a legal fight like the one unfolding in neighboring Louisiana. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

By MICHELLE L. PRICE and LINDSAY WHITEHURST
Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal judge has reversed an earlier decision and ruled Utah can cut off federal funds to the state Planned Parenthood organization.

The ruling from U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups on Tuesday, Dec. 22, temporarily upholds Gov. Gary Herbert’s order to end contracts for sex education and sexually transmitted disease testing programs.

The Planned Parenthood Association of Utah sued in October. They argued the move violated the organization’s First Amendment right to advocate for or perform abortions.

Waddoups temporarily stopped Herbert’s order in October but on Tuesday declined to issue a longer injunction blocking the governor’s directive.

Herbert, a Republican, stopped about $275,000 in federal funds after the release of secretly recorded videos by an anti-abortion group showing Planned Parenthood officials in other states discussing fetal tissue from abortions.