Planned Parenthood Sues Governor Of Utah For Cutting Off Federal Funding

| by Meg O'Connor
Planned Parenthood supportersPlanned Parenthood supporters

Planned Parenthood of Utah sued Republican Gov. Gary Herbert on Sept. 28 for ordering state agencies to cut off federal funding to the women's health care provider. The move to defund Planned Parenthood comes after heavily-edited videos of the organization were released by the anti-abortion group The Center for Medical Progress.

The anti-abortion group claims that the videos, released in August, showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the illegal sale of aborted fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood has said that the videos were deceptively edited, and outside agencies have confirmed that the videos were altered.

An independent forensic analysis commissioned by Planned Parenthood found evidence of manipulation, "intentionally deceptive edits, missing footage, and inaccurately transcribed conversations," according to Politico, which obtained a copy of the report. In truth, the videos show Planned Parenthood officials talking about how they provide some fetal tissue leftover from abortions for medical research, which is not illegal.

After the videos were released, Herbert ordered state agencies to discontinue their contracts with Planned Parenthood Association of Utah -- essentially cutting off of the state's federal federal funding to the organization, Reuters reports. Last year, Planned Parenthood received $272,000 in federal funds from the state, according to the Associated Press.

In response, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in federal court, requesting that the judge declare the governor's actions a violation of the organization's constitutional rights to free speech and due process, given the fact that the Center for Medical Progress' allegations have not been proven.

"Governor Herbert is targeting access to critical, lifesaving health care and education for women, men and teens in Utah -- including STD tests for rape survivors," Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement, according to Reuters.

The women's health care center has also filed lawsuits in other states that have made similar moves against local Planned Parenthood chapters, like Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama, in an effort to prevent those states from stripping the organization of contracts and federal funds doled out by the state.

Sources: AP via NBC News, Reuters via Yahoo NewsPolitico

Photo credit: ThinkProgress, Charlotte Cooper/Flickr