Planned Parenthood Association of Utah is suing Governor Gary Herbert in order to protect our constitutional rights. On July 7, 2016 the Tenth Circuit overturned Judge Waddoups’ decision denying our request for a preliminary injunction against Governor Herbert and the Utah Department of Health (UDOH). The Tenth Circuit panel found that the directive from Governor Herbert was in violation of our First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The panel overturned the District Courts decision and remanded the case back to the District Court and ordered them to reinstate the preliminary injunction.
The entire case began in August 2015, when Governor Herbert gave a verbal directive to state agencies to cut off federal pass-through funding to Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. This order endangers four programs that receive funds from the federal government through the Utah Department of Health:
1. A program that pays for Chlamydia and gonorrhea testing and treatment for at-risk Utahns,
2. An after school education program funded by a Personal Responsibility and Education Program (PREP) grant to support PPPAU’s education team in replicating and training on an evidence-based curriculum to reduce teen pregnancy rates and increase academic performance,
3. An after school program funded by Utah Abstinence Education Program to promote abstinence from sexual activity with teens, and
4. A 5-year cooperative project to create a system to upgrade the UDOH’s system for submitting STD test results and facilitating statistical analysis.
Plain and simple, Governor Herbert was influenced by highly-edited, secretly recorded, and since-discredited videos that claim to show Planned Parenthood doctors outside of our state discussing reimbursements for fetal tissue donation. These videos were recorded as part of a multi-year undercover sting by extreme anti-abortion activists whose sole intention is to end safe and legal abortion. Governor Herbert cut funding despite the fact that multiple investigations of Planned Parenthood affiliates in other states have turned up nothing, and the fact that we do not, and have never, participated in fetal tissue donation.
In September 2015, Planned Parenthood Association of Utah hired Peggy Tomsic and her team from Magleby, Cataxinos & Greenwood (the same attorneys that brought marriage equality to Utah) to file a lawsuit against Governor Herbert and the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) in the United States Court for the District of Utah on behalf of Planned Parenthood. Our lawsuit claims the State’s action violates PPAU’s rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and threatens imminent and irreparable harm to PPAU and the thousands of women, men, and teens of Utah who rely on Planned Parenthood Association of Utah for critical reproductive health care and education. We asked the courts to issue a preliminary injunction to stop Governor Herbert’s directive, and a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was issued that kept the funding in place through December 31, 2015 while Judge Waddoups considered whether to issue the injunction.
Planned Parenthood Association of Utah is pursuing the case before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and we await a positive result in March, 2016 that protects our constitutional rights and our pass-through funding.