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Federal Judge Rules That Utah Governor May Stop Funding Planned Parenthood

"These are the types of decisions that should be left to elected officials and not managed by the courts."

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

A federal judge has ruled that Gov. Gary Herbert (R-Utah) may end his state’s contract with Planned Parenthood.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups ruled that Herbert does have the authority to terminate contracts with Planned Parenthood.

"Indeed, these are the types of decisions that should be left to elected officials and not managed by the courts," Waddoups wrote in his decision, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

This summer, Herbert directed the state’s Department of Health to cease funding Planned Parenthood after the Center for Medical Progress released a series of undercover videos alleging that Planned Parenthood is profiting from the sale of aborted fetal body parts. The sale of human organs, including those of the unborn, is a felony in the United States.

Spokesmen for Planned Parenthood have denied profiting from illegal transactions.

Herbert argued that funds currently being provided to Planned Parenthood should be redirected to other health care providers.

The governors of several other states – including Alabama and Louisiana – attempted to defund Planned Parenthood in their states following the release of the videos, but they were barred by federal judges.

"I appreciate today's court decision which recognizes my ability to make contract decisions on behalf of the state,” Herbert said in a statement. “As I have said, the health of all Utahns remains a priority, and I will continue to work with the Utah Department of Health, local health departments, community health centers, non-profit clinics and others to ensure access to these important services."

"It was obviously an emotional reaction on his part," Karrie Galloway, executive director of Planned Parenthood of Utah, told the Salt Lake Tribune of Herbert’s decision. "I don't know who else would qualify for [the money]. To be honest, he doesn't even understand the money. It's not his world.”

Follow Kate Scanlon (@kgscanlon) on Twitter

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