Planned Parenthood checked off another victory — at least temporarily — Tuesday when an appeals court told Utah that it must continue to fund the state branch of the organization.

The decision from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a blow to Utah Republicans, including Gov. Gary Herbert. It said cutting off the cash flow would violate Planned Parenthood of Utah’s constitutional right to free speech. 

In doing so, the Denver-based court ordered U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups in Salt Lake City to issue a preliminary injunction banning the state from discontinuing the cash flow. A prior injunction to temporarily keep money flowing was issued in late December just before the funding was slated to expire, according to Reuters.

A spokesperson for the governor said he was disappointed with the decision and will work with other government officials to determine how to proceed. Planned Parenthood officials cheered the decision and described it as a “major victory.”


When announcing his plans to cut funding, Herbert cited secretly recorded videos that appeared to show Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of aborted fetuses. Planned Parenthood has dismissed the video saying that it was edited to be misleading. 

The court order follows a major Supreme Court decision in June that struck down a different attack on abortion in Texas, where a law that would have required safety equipment and measures for abortion providers that critics said would severely cut down the number of clinics legally able to perform the services.

That decision heartened pro-choice advocates around the country and Democrats have begun a push for more repeals of abortion restrictions. That includes three Democrats in Missouri, where Planned Parenthood is the only abortion provider. That is down from 29 clinics in 1982 as a result of standards that require similarly high safety standards. 

Planned Parenthood doesn't use federal funds for abortions but is frequently targeted for providing the service.