10:26 GMT29 February 2020
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    Utah has suspended state funding for Planned Parenthood amid controversy surrounding the organization.

    Governor Gary Herbert on Friday issued an executive order demanding state agencies to cease serving as conduits for federal funds earmarked for the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah.

    The governor’s move comes as Planned Parenthood faces increased scrutiny following the release of video showing a Planned Parenthood employee from Houston discussing the sale of aborted fetal tissue.

    A video released by the US Center for Medical Progress (CMP), an anti-abortion activist organization, allegedly proving that abortion provider Planned Parenthood provides fetal tissue and organs without obtaining consent from patients.

    Former StemExpress procurement technician Holly O’Donnell said in the video that Planned Parenthood conducted abortions knowing the women who terminated their pregnancies, or their partners, were not aware the fetuses would be used for other purposes.

    Barack Obama will not back the Republicans' effort to defund abortion provider Planned Parenthood, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said.
    © AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster
    The procurement and use of human fetal tissue require patients’ consent, according to the Center for Medical Progress.

    “The allegations against Planned Parenthood are deeply troubling,” Herbert said in a statement. “Current Utah state law prohibits the use of state funds to provide abortions by Planned Parenthood or any other organization. The federal government has provided grants to Planned Parenthood, distributed through the Utah Department of Health. These funds are also prohibited from being used to perform abortions. In light of ongoing concerns about the organization, I have instructed state agencies to cease acting as an intermediary for pass-through federal funds to Planned Parenthood.”

    The videos also inspired outrage from women's health advocates, who say the materials are heavily edited and portray Planned Parenthood and their activities inaccurately.

    In 2013, Planned Parenthood received 45 percent of its funding from the US government through $540 million in grants, according to the organization’s 2012-2013 annual report.


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