National leaders may be unwilling to strip Planned Parenthood of its government funding. But one state governor is taking a stand, and is telling Planned Parenthood he’ll see them in court.
The Utah branch of Planned Parenthood sued Republican Gov. Gary Herbert 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.
Herbert blocked funding distributed by the state after a California anti-abortion group leaked footage showing Planned Parenthood officials describing how they provide fetal tissue from abortions for medical research. Many Republicans claim these videos prove that Planned Parenthood participates in illegal and immoral practices.
Herbert spokeswoman Aimee Edwards said Monday that the governor stands by his order.
“He was offended by the actions of Planned Parenthood and the callousness with which they discussed human life,” Edwards said in a statement.
Utah’s decision to cut off funding is causing similar moves in other states against local Planned Parenthood chapters. The organization is desperately fighting back, using lawsuits in Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana to try and stop those states’ leaders from stripping the group of contracts and federal money that the states dole out.
The videos also have sparked a budget fight in Congress, where conservatives are trying to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood. The dispute has left congressional leaders staring down a potential government shutdown this week unless a temporary funding bill is passed.
In Utah, Planned Parenthood received more than $200,000 in federal funds during the last budget year. The group also receives money through federal contracts, fees from clients, insurance and contributions.
Several Republican presidential hopefuls have condemned Planned Parenthood. And conservatives’ demands that Congress cut the group’s federal payments — for which Republicans lack the votes to succeed — indirectly contributed to the GOP unrest that prompted House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to announce his resignation last week.
The videos — 10 have been released so far — capture Planned Parenthood officials casually describing how they sometimes obtain tissue from aborted fetuses for researchers.
Abortion foes say the videos show the group breaks federal laws barring for-profit fetal tissue sales and altering abortion procedures to obtain usable organs.
The Associated Press contributed to this article