SALT LAKE CITY — A federal appeals court on Wednesday put an emergency hold on Utah’s move to defund the state Planned Parenthood chapter.
The decision by the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals allows federal money to temporarily keep flowing to the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah while the court considers whether to order a longer hold.
Republican Gov. Gary Herbert wants to end $275,000 in contracts with Planned Parenthood for sex education and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
A federal judge had allowed Utah to cut off the money at the end of 2015, but the state Planned Parenthood branch appealed that decision.
Herbert’s move followed the release of secretly recorded videos by an anti-abortion group showing Planned Parenthood officials in other states discussing fetal tissue from abortions.
Herbert’s office had no immediate comment on the latest ruling.
Karrie Galloway, CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said in a statement that her organization is thrilled by the ruling that allows health care providers to keep providing services.“We will continue to stand up for the health and rights of thousands of Utahns who rely on Planned Parenthood for affordable health care and education,” Galloway said in the statement.
The appeals court has not yet heard arguments in the case, and no hearing has been set.
A federal judge in Utah declined last week to temporarily stop Herbert’s order.
Planned Parenthood sued Utah in October after the governor decided to end the contracts.
Utah is among a number of states that have moved to cut funding to Planned Parenthood following the release of the videos.
Herbert has said he was offended by the callousness of the discussion shown on the videos.
Planned Parenthood has said it only recouped expenses for providing tissue to researchers, and the videos were heavily edited. The videos spawned multiple investigations by Congress and several states, but none has shown that Planned Parenthood broke any laws.
Planned Parenthood has sued Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana and other states to stop the stripping of contracts and federal money. In most other states, judges have ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood, allowing funds to keep flowing while the court cases continue.
In Utah, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups ruled last week that the state’s Planned Parenthood branch has done nothing wrong but has associated with other Planned Parenthood entities accused of illegal activity.
Utah has a right to avoid any appearance of corruption by ending the contracts, Waddoups said.