Planned Parenthood Suing Utah; Says State Should Help It Get Federal Funds

Planned Parenthood
A sign is pictured at the entrance to a Planned Parenthood building in New York, August 31, 2015. |

Planned Parenthood is suing Utah for its governor's decision earlier this year to no longer help the organization receive federal funds through the state health department.

Earlier this year, Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced that the Utah Department of Health would no longer channel federal funds to the state chapter of the national abortion provider.

Planned Parenthood Association of Utah filed an emergency motion for injunction on Sunday in the hopes of delaying the implementation of Governor Herbert's decision while their litigation continues.

According to a lower court ruling, Utah will end the availability of federal funding through UDOH at the end of the year on Thursday. Utah's Planned Parenthood can still apply directly to the federal government for the same funds.

The emergency motion was sent to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, with the request arguing that no longer receiving the federal funds through a state agency, rather than directly from the federal government, "will irreparably harm PPAU, the recipients of PPAU's services, and the public."


"Moving for injunctive relief in the district court would be impracticable both because of the urgent nature of the proceedings and because the district court has already denied PPAU's request to preserve the status quo between the parties," continued the motion.

"An injunction should be granted because of the strong public interest in ensuring continued public access to crucial health services, especially for the underserved and low-income patients PPAU serves."

In August, Governor Herbert announced that the Utah Department of Health was to cease providing Planned Parenthood with federal funding.

The move came in response to the prolife group Center for Medical Progress releasing a series of videos purportedly showing various Planned Parenthood officials engaging in illegal activities, including the sale of aborted baby body parts.

Governor Herbert explained in a statement that while Utah had already defunded Planned Parenthood, the organization was still getting federal money via the state Health Department.

"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," stated Herbert.

Planned Parenthood filed suit against Utah in September in response to the governor's actions, with U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups granting a temporary restraining order on their behalf.

However, on December 22, Judge Waddoups denied Planned Parenthood's request for a preliminary injunction against Herbert's defunding order.

In his ruling, Waddoups disagreed that the women's healthcare provider was irreparably harmed by the governor's action, noting that "it is also important to note what [Herbert] did not do."

"The defendants did not terminate Plaintiff as a Medicaid provider. This means Plaintiff may still be compensated for providing care to Medicaid recipients. Additionally, the defendants have not sought to preclude Plaintiff from receiving funding directly from the federal government, as Plaintiff has done in the past," wrote Waddoups.

"In contrast, if the defendants are enjoined from terminating the contracts, their authority to manage their affairs will be curtailed. Moreover, it will deprive the defendants of their contractual right to terminate the contracts at will."

Utah is one of many states that in recent months have taken action against Planned Parenthood via the cutting or limiting of public funding, Medicare reimbursement, or government contracts.

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