Democrats want Governor Herbert to reverse Planned Parenthood funding cut

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SALT LAKE CITY — A group of Democratic lawmakers are calling on Governor Gary Herbert to reverse course on defunding Utah’s Planned Parenthood organization.

In a statement issued Thursday, Reps. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, Patrice Arent, Carol Spackman-Moss and Angela Romero called on the governor to reverse his decision after a Texas grand jury indicted the makers of videos that purported to show Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal tissues.

Planned Parenthood has said the videos were highly misleading and heavily edited. The governor, reacting to the videos, ordered the state of Utah to no longer act as a pass-through for federal dollars to go to Planned Parenthood of Utah for STD testing and after-school programs.

“The Governor reacted to a heavily edited, highly political video. He stated that even though none of the videos occurred in Utah, that the organization had ‘colored outside the lines’ and no longer deserved funding. Texas has now cleared the organization and charged the video creators. This is a clear message that the contracts and services Planned Parenthood provides are legal and supportive to men and women in our communities across the state. They provide necessary medical services like check ups and family planning,” Chavez-Houck wrote.

At a news conference Thursday, Governor Herbert said he wanted to wait to see how the courts and congressional investigations played out.

“My focus has always been on what’s come out of the videos themselves and the investigation going on in Washington. We’ll let that play out as we’ve said and we’ll make determinations,” he said.

Planned Parenthood of Utah sued the governor over his decision. A federal judge sided with Herbert, ruling that he was acting within his authority. Planned Parenthood has appealed to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. Arguments are slated for March.