Judge signs order telling Utah it can’t block money to Planned Parenthood

A sign at a recent rally in support of Planned Parenthood.

A sign at a recent rally in support of Planned Parenthood.

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has signed an order prohibiting the state of Utah from blocking funding going to Planned Parenthood.

The order signed by U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson follows a ruling by the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which sided with Planned Parenthood in its request for a preliminary injunction. The reproductive rights group sought to stop Governor Gary Herbert’s directive that blocked federal “pass through” dollars from going to it.

A file image of an August 2015 rally in support of Planned Parenthood after Governor Gary Herbert ordered funding blocked. (FOX 13 News)

A file image of an August 2015 rally in support of Planned Parenthood after Governor Gary Herbert ordered funding blocked. (FOX 13 News)

Planned Parenthood of Utah sued the governor over last year’s directive, arguing it was driven by his personal feelings on abortion. Governor Herbert ordered roughly $272,000 in money for sexually transmitted disease testing and education programs stripped after videos surfaced that claimed to show national Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood said the videos were heavily edited and misleading.

The 10th Circuit Court ruled that the governor’s feelings on abortion could be demonstrated in court to be a motivating factor for blocking funding to Utah’s Planned Parenthood organization.

In the injunction, Judge Benson said the state of Utah is not required to renew contracts or even offer new business to Planned Parenthood.

“However, if the Defendants defund, decline to renew, or do not issue a contract to the Plaintiff, they are required to state in writing a legitimate basis for doing so and provide that writing to the Plaintiff within thirty (30) days of the time their decision takes effect. Such basis cannot include unproven allegations against the national Planned Parenthood organization or its affiliates or the Plaintiff’s provision of or advocacy for legal abortion,” he wrote.

Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit against Governor Herbert is still pending.

Read the injunction here: