- Associated Press - Friday, October 2, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah said Friday it would continue sending federal money to the state’s Planned Parenthood organization through the end of the year.

State Department of Health spokesman Tom Hudachko said contracts Utah sought to cancel or allow to expire will remain in place through 2015 as a legal challenge over the funding continues.

Karrie Galloway, CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said she was pleased with the decision.

The organization sued the governor Monday after he blocked more than $200,000 in federal funds from going to the group.

Gov. Gary Herbert’s move followed the release of secretly recorded videos by a California anti-abortion group showing Planned Parenthood officials in other states describing how they provide fetal tissue from abortions for medical research.

Herbert, a Republican, said he was offended by the discussion’s “casualness” and “callousness.”

Lawyers for Utah’s branch of Planned Parenthood said the governor was acting on his personal and political agenda and knew the videos had nothing to do with the local organization.

This week, a judge issued an emergency order freezing Herbert’s directive to defund the group until mid-October.

Hudachko said Friday the state is complying with the judge’s order and extending it to avoid repeated appearances in court.

The decision to continue the contracts does not deter the governor from his goal of defunding the group, Herbert’s spokeswoman Aimee Edwards said. She said the governor stands by his action and looks forward to responding to Planned Parenthood in court.

Utah’s move to cut off funding followed similar moves in other states against Planned Parenthood chapters. The organization has also filed lawsuits in Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana to block those states from stripping Planned Parenthood of contracts and federal money distributed by the states.

In Utah, the federal funding is a small portion of the local organization’s $8 million budget. It also receives money through federal contracts, fees from clients, insurance and contributions.

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