This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A federal judge has signed an order prohibiting Gov. Gary Herbert from denying funding to Planned Parenthood, including for the group's advocacy of legal abortion.
U.S. District Judge Dee Benson signed the order on Sunday. The action follows a July decision by a panel of justices of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that overturned U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups' denial of a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood.
The group sued after Herbert in 2015 blocked state funding after a series of videos were released that claimed to show the group was illegally selling fetal tissue. The videos did not include Utah clinics and were later determined to be inaccurate and misleading, but Herbert declined to reverse his decision.
The 10th Circuit Court ruled that it likely could be shown that Herbert's decision was made for political reasons in violation of constitutional protections for speech and association.
Waddoups recused himself from the case after the 10th Circuit Court's decision and it was assigned to Benson. Herbert agreed to the entry of the preliminary injunction following the appeals court ruling.
Benson's order also prohibits Joseph Miner, executive director of the Department of Health, from cutting off the funding, as well as employees under his or Herbert's direction.
It does not require the state to continue to contract with Planned Parenthood, but says any decision to cut off funding or not renew a contract requires a statement in writing stating legitimate reasons for doing so.
"Such a 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," the order states.