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Federal Judge Orders Gov. Herbert to Restore Funds to Planned Parenthood

Andrea Smardon
Attorney Peggy Tomsic waves to the press after a federal judge grants Planned Parenthood's request for a temporary restraining order against Governor Gary Herbert. (Sept. 29th, 2015)

Funding for Planned Parenthood in Utah will continue at least for a couple more weeks. A U.S. District Court judge Tuesday blocked an order issued by Governor Gary Herbert to cut off federal money going to the organization.

Judge Clark Waddoups issued the temporary restraining order during a hearing, allowing the money to keep flowing while Planned Parenthood of Utah seeks a longer-term injunction. Attorney Peggy Tomsic is representing Planned Parenthood in a lawsuit brought against Governor Herbert. She says she’s feeling very good about the case after the hearing.  

“I think the thing that I came away with is an absolute admission by the governor’s lawyers that the only reason that they stopped the funding for Planned Parenthood of Utah was based on political and personal reasons,” Tomsic told reporters.  

Herbert ordered state agencies to withhold federal funds after the release of videos showing Planned Parenthood officials in Texas and other states describing how they allegedly sell fetal tissue from abortions for medical research. Herbert has said he was offended by the ``callousness'' of the discussion.

In the hearing, state solicitor general Tyler Green said he recognized that Utah does not provide fetal tissue for medical research, but argued that the state chapter is associated with the national organization which may be engaged in illegal activity. Waddoups countered that those allegations have not been proven. In the end, the judge ruled that Utah had not made a compelling case why it was in the public interest to withhold funds.

The governor’s office issued a statement saying he stands by his actions and looks forward to responding to Planned Parenthood’s claims in court. Judge Waddoups is scheduled to hear the case on October 15th.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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