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Federal Judge Rules Utah Can Defund Planned Parenthood

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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A federal judge ruled Utah can defund Planned Parenthood clinics in the state Tuesday, reversing an earlier decision to force the state to continue funding the clinics.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert ordered the state to cut off the money flow after the Center for Medical Progress released a series of videos earlier this year that brought to light Planned Parenthood’s dealings in aborted fetuses. Top Planned Parenthood doctors talk frankly about harvesting aborted fetuses, and clinic staff are seen picking through abortion remains in the videos. (RELATED: Key Points From The First 9 Planned Parenthood Videos)

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against Utah over the measure, as it has in Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana, arguing it’s a qualified provider and therefore cannot be cut off from Medicaid funds. And a federal judge temporarily barred Utah from cutting off the funds until the lawsuit plays out.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups ruling Tuesday, however, will remove that ban and allow Utah to cut off funds even as the lawsuit is resolved.

Although Utah clinics do not sell aborted fetuses to researchers, Waddoups said their affiliation with Planned Parenthood clinics that have engaged in the practice warrants a decision to strip them of funding, reported The Guardian. The state has an interest “in avoiding the appearance of corruption,” Waddoups said in the ruling.

A representative for Planned Parenthood in Utah called the ruling “regrettable,” while Herbert said he appreciated the ruling. The House recently passed a bill that would allow any state to cut off Medicaid funding from abortion providers.

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