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Planned Parenthood Argues for Injunction in Case Against State Defunding

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)

A federal judge heard arguments today over whether or not he should grant Planned Parenthood a preliminary injunction that would prevent the state from cutting off some of their funding until after the case has been heard in court.

During the hearing, Planned Parenthood’s attorney, Peggy Tomsic, argued that Governor Herbert’s decision to cut off federal funding that passes through the state is a violation of their constitutional rights and unfairly penalizes them for advocating for abortion. Outside of the courtroom, Tomsic said not granting the injunction would irreparably harm the organization and the people of Utah who would lose access to services.

“It’s going to have a significant negative impact on the citizens of Utah," she said. "In fact, the Utah Department of Health, not a single person in any of the documents produced said what a great idea governor. They all said this is a bad idea.”

But the attorneys for the state argued that the Governor has a right to terminate a contract if he believes the organization might be involved in criminal activity. They say Governor Herbert’s decision came from watching videos released that show Planned Parenthood executives talking about their policies on the collection of fetal tissue and not because the Governor is pro-life. After the hearing, Utah Solicitor General Tyler Green responded to every question with this answer.

“We had a good substantive discussion about the plaintiff’s claim, and we’ll wait to see what the judge says about them.”

Judge Clark Waddoups did not make a decision on the preliminary injunction during the hearing, instead he will take time to write his decision. There is no timeline for when he will release his ruling, but a temporary restraining order will prevent the state from defunding Planned Parenthood until he does. 

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