A federal judge reversed his prior decision and ruled that Utah has the authority to end its contracts with Planned Parenthood and eliminate the organization’s federal funding in that state.
U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups upheld Gov. Gary Herbert’s (R) August order blocking $275,000 from Planned Parenthood’s affiliate in Utah.
“Indeed, these are the types of decisions that should be left to elected officials,” Waddoups wrote, “and not managed by the courts.”
Herbert said the federal funding that would have gone to Planned Parenthood will be redirected to 26 health agencies in the state in 49 locations, reports The Salt Lake Tribune.
In September Waddoups issued a temporary order blocking Herbert’s decision to end the state’s contract with Planned Parenthood. His latest ruling ends the temporary order while Planned Parenthood Association of Utah pursues its lawsuit against the state.
Though a health official warned that Herbert’s redirecting funds from Planned Parenthood to other health agencies would take services “from women who would have been helped,” Waddoups wrote the authority of the governor to act in the state’s best interest overrides the potential that some women in Utah would have to go elsewhere to receive STD testing and sex education services instead of being helped at Planned Parenthood.
Following the release of a series of videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s apparent practice of selling the body parts of aborted babies on the open market, several states – including Utah – moved to end their contracts with the abortion business. With support from the Obama administration, however, Planned Parenthood has sued those states, claiming the videos were misleading while at the same time it also announced it would no longer accept payment for the sale of fetal tissue.
Waddoups said the government is best served by avoiding the appearance of corruption. Utah, he said, can end agreements just as much as it can fire a state employee who associates with someone engaged in illegal activity.
The government, the judge wrote, in choosing to end its contract with Planned Parenthood, was “acting as a decisionmaker, making subjective, individualized assessments about whether to continue the contracts.”
“Moreover, the terms of the contracts gave the defendants full discretion and authority to continue them or terminate them at will,” he added.
Attorneys for Planned Parenthood Association of Utah argued in October that the affiliate had not participated in the discussions about the sale of fetal tissue in the videos, and that Herbert knew this but was motivated by his own political aspirations.
Waddoups wrote, however, that even though the Utah group had not engaged in the sale of fetal tissue itself, it was affiliated with other Planned Parenthood groups “that have allegedly engaged in illegal conduct.”
“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,” he explained. “Accordingly, the court finds no violation of the right of association.”
“Planned Parenthood is an ethically and legally challenged organization under investigation at every level,” John Stemberger, Florida Family Policy Council president said in a statement to Breitbart News. “The videos show Planned Parenthood senior national leadership, not rogue affiliates, negotiating prices for baby body parts.”
“Every state with publicly released audits of Planned Parenthood has found waste, abuse and potential fraud; and Planned Parenthood has failed to report sex abuse of minor girls in at least seven states,” he added. “Planned Parenthood is not entitled to our taxpayer dollars anywhere.”
Waddoups continued that Planned Parenthood had failed to prove that Herbert’s motivation for ending the organization’s federal funding was his personal opposition to abortion.
Additionally, regarding the claim by Planned Parenthood that the organization’s “right to advocate for and perform abortions has been violated,” Waddoups observed, “No federal or state funds may be used to perform abortions. The court therefore concludes termination of the contracts does not violate Plaintiff’s right to advocate for or perform abortions.”
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News in October, 2016 GOP contender Sen. Ted Cruz said state legislatures and governors needed to “stand up and lead” on defunding Planned Parenthood.
“I encourage every state legislature and every governor to stand up and lead on Planned Parenthood,” Cruz said. “Unfortunately, Republican leadership in Washington is unwilling to lead and, indeed, it’s Republican leadership who’s joined with Barack Obama in leading the fight to preserve taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.”
The Republican-led Congress failed to take a stand to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding in the recent $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill. The abortion business is now funded with taxpayer monies through most of 2016.