A federal judge in Utah has put a stop t
o that state's effort to cut off Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood
It was a cookie-cutter action by a Republican governor — just as Gov. Asa Hutchinson did in Arkansas — and the judge in Utah found, as Judge Kristine Baker did in Little Rock, that it was likely unconstitutional.
"The programs carried out by plaintiff target at-risk individuals and the reduction of communicable diseases," he wrote. "These are strong public interests that outweigh the defendants' stated interests in defunding" the group.
The judge also sided with Planned Parenthood in finding "a substantial likelihood" that it would prevail on the merits of its arguments that Herbert, a Republican, had violated its constitutional rights to equal protection and freedom of association.
The plaintiffs were singled out based on their "association with an organization against whom accusations have been made of illegal conduct," the judge said. "Those accusations are still under investigation and have not been proved."
Judge Baker temporarily stopped the cutoff in Arkansas and will consider arguments on making the order permanent. She's said Planned Parenthood is likely to prevail. Hutchinson also cited no reason other than the doctored videos of actions taken elsewhere — and hotly disputed by Planned Parenthood — to end physician choice of Planned Parenthood for poor women in Arkansas seeking contraceptives, disease testing and health screenings covered by Medicaid.