Attorneys representing Planned Parenthood of Utah filed a lawsuit Monday against Governor Gary Herbert for blocking the organization’s federal funding.
The lawsuit filed in federal district court claims that the governor’s order is unconstitutional and is going to result in irreparable harm. Utah Planned Parenthood CEO Karrie Galloway says the funds being withheld are not used for abortion, but to provide testing for sexually transmitted diseases and for education programs, serving at-risk youth.
“We aren’t going to allow the governor to play politics with our health and lives,” Galloway says. “We are standing up and fighting back.”
Governor Herbert directed state agencies to discontinue federal funding to Planned Parenthood of Utah after the release of secretly recorded videos by a California anti-abortion group. Aimee Edwards, spokesperson for Herbert said in a statement that the governor stands by his decision. She said he’s offended by the callousness with which Planned Parenthood officials appear to discuss human life. Salt Lake City attorney Peggy Tomsic is representing Planned Parenthood in the lawsuit. She says Utah’s chapter has never provided fetal tissue from abortions for medical research. She says it’s not the governor’s job to pass judgement, accusing him of unfairly discriminating against the agency.
“What courts have pretty consistently said is that the majority nor politicians can use personal viewpoints to deprive people of their constitutional rights and that is what is happening here,” Tomsic says.
Edwards says the governor is working with local health officials to redirect funds so that women continue to receive services. Attorneys for Planned Parenthood have requested a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, so that funding for its programs can continue while the case progresses.