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US Judge Reverses Order, Letting Utah End Planned Parenthood Contracts

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By    |   Tuesday, 29 Dec 2015 03:47 PM

A federal court judge has reversed a prior decision and ruled that Utah could block $275,000 from Planned Parenthood in the state by canceling its contracts with the embattled agency in light of undercover videos showing top officials discussing the sale of fetal body parts.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups last week upheld Gov. Gary Herbert's order in August ending the contracts for the organization's Utah affiliate, Breitbart News reports.

"Indeed, these are the types of decisions that should be left to elected officials, and not managed by the courts," Waddoups wrote.

Waddoups temporarily blocked Herbert's decision in August, Breitbart reports.

He ruled that, while the state's Planned Parenthood branch had done nothing wrong, it was associated with other entities accused of illegal activity because of the videos.

Utah has a right to avoid any appearance of corruption by ending the contracts, Waddoups ruled.

"Plaintiff has provided no case law to support its position that a contract cannot be terminated when a party associates with entities allegedly engaged in illegal conduct," the judge wrote. "Accordingly, the court finds no violation of the right of association."
Karrie Galloway, CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, called the judge's ruling regrettable.

The organization has accused Herbert of responding to the videos and argued that canceling the contracts violated Planned Parenthood's First Amendment right to advocate for or perform abortions.

Waddoup's ruling ends the temporary order while Planned Parenthood continues its lawsuit against the state.

Utah was among several states that have moved to cut funding to Planned Parenthood in the wake of videos by the Center for Medical Progress.

Herbert had said that he was offended by the callousness of the discussion shown on the videos.

Planned Parenthood has said it recouped only expenses for providing tissue to researchers, and the videos were heavily edited. The footage has spawned multiple investigations by Congress and several states but none have shown Planned Parenthood broke any law.

The organization has since sued Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana and other states to prevent them from ending their contracts and federal money.

In many other states, however, judges have ruled in Planned Parenthood's favor, allowing the funds to keep flowing while the court cases continue.

Herbert said the federal funding that would have gone to Planned Parenthood will be sent instead to 26 health agencies throughout the state, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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A federal court judge has reversed a prior decision and ruled that Utah could block $275,000 from Planned Parenthood in the state by canceling its contracts with the embattled agency in light of undercover videos showing top officials discussing the sale of fetal body parts.
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2015-47-29
Tuesday, 29 Dec 2015 03:47 PM
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