SALT LAKE CITY — Planned Parenthood of Utah sued the governor on Monday for ordering state agencies to cut off federal funding to the organization following the release of secretly recorded videos by an anti-abortion group.
Gov. Gary Herbert’s action violated the organization’s constitutional rights and was based on unfounded allegations, Planned Parenthood of Utah said in federal court documents.
He blocked funding distributed by the state after a California anti-abortion group leaked videos showing Planned Parenthood officials describing how they provide fetal tissue from abortions for medical research.
Herbert said he was deeply troubled by the footage. Planned Parenthood says it’s acted legally and that the tapes were deceptively edited. The organization is barred from using federal or state money for abortions.
The Utah branch says Herbert’s decision is based solely on unproven allegations in other states by other arms of the national group. Planned Parenthood said it’s been a key provider of reproductive health services, such as STD testing, in Utah for decades.
Messages seeking comment from Herbert’s spokesman and the Utah attorney general’s office were not immediately returned Monday.
Utah’s decision to cut off funding followed similar moves in other states against local Planned Parenthood chapters. The organization has fought back, filing lawsuits in Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana to block those states from stripping the organization of contracts and federal money that the states dole out.
In Utah, the agency received $272,000 in federal funds last year to provide testing and reporting for sexually transmitted diseases and abstinence education.
Karrie Galloway, CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, has said that is a small portion of the organization’s $8 million budget. They also receive money through federal contracts, fees from clients, insurance and contributions.