Appeals Court Blocks Utah From Stripping Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid Funding

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Photo Credit: All Nite Images

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A federal appeals court has granted the abortion giant Planned Parenthood an emergency injunction to stop officials in Utah from stripping the organization of its Medicaid funding.

“We conclude an injunction is appropriate pending the court’s determination of the merits,” the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday.

As previously reported, Republican Gov. Gary Hebert directed the Utah Department of Health to revoke funding in August following the release of a number of expose’ videos from the Center for Medical Progress. The series of videos provided undercover footage of various Planned Parenthood officials apparently admitting to engaging in the harvesting and sale of the organs of aborted babies.

“The allegations against Planned Parenthood are deeply troubling,” Hebert wrote in a statement. “In light of ongoing concerns about the organization, I have instructed state agencies to cease acting as an intermediary for pass-through federal funds to Planned Parenthood.”

He said that he was reacting to the “casualness” and “callousness” of how those in the videos spoke of the removal of various organs as they extracted the deceased child from his or her mother’s body.

According to reports, Planned Parenthood in Utah received approximately $100,000 this year for testing residents for sexually transmitted diseases, $115,000 for abstinence and “personal responsibility education” and over $1,000 to provide pregnancy tests and other tests to rape victims.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups, nominated to the bench by then-President George W. Bush, had determined last week that Utah had the right to its interest of “avoiding the appearance of corruption” by funding the embattled organization, even if Planned Parenthood facilities in the state weren’t specifically guilty of any crimes.

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“Indeed, these are the types of decisions that should be left to elected officials, and not managed by the courts,” he declared in ruling that the state may strip the abortion giant of funding while the case moves forward.

But Planned Parenthood appealed the decision to the 10th Circuit Court of appeals, which restored the injunction this week.

“We are thrilled with today’s decision, which will allow our trusted health care providers and educators to continue serving the thousands of Utahns who depend on us as the appeals process proceeds,” Karrie Galloway, CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said in a statement.

Gov. Herbert’s office, however, said that the state is confident that it will ultimately win the battle.

“The governor is confident that once the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has the opportunity to look closely at the legal issues in this case, like Judge [Clark] Waddoups, they will reach the same decision and agree that it is contrary to the public’s best interest to remove the governor’s discretion to make contract decisions on behalf of the state,” Herbert spokesman Jon Cox outlined in a statement.

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