SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah's decision to stop disbursing federal money to Planned Parenthood won't threaten women's access to health care, Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday.
The Republican governor ordered the Utah Department of Health last week to stop passing along about $223,000 in federal money to the Utah arm of the organization for programs like STD testing, sex education and screening for victims of sexual assault.
The move followed the release of secretly recorded videos by an anti-abortion group showing Planned Parenthood officials in Houston describing how they provide fetal tissue from abortions for medical research.
At his monthly televised news conference on KUED-TV on Thursday, Herbert said there was a "casualness," and "callousness," to the discussion about fetal tissue that he found disturbing.
Herbert said Utah will end its contracts with Planned Parenthood for the testing and education services after giving 30 days' notice, or decline to re-sign contracts when they come up for renewal.
He said the money would be redirected to other agencies that provide those services.
"Let me emphasize, we really do care about women's health," Herbert said. "The idea that women's health will be shortchanged in this process is not accurate."
Karrie Galloway, CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said Thursday that she did not know of other providers who were ready to step in and continue the programs. She said Planned Parenthood will continue offering the services.
Galloway told The Deseret News last week that the money is a small portion of the organization's $8 million budget. They also receive money through federal contracts, fees from clients, insurance and contributions.
"Planned Parenthood will be there whether we've got the funding or not," she said Thursday.
The organization was barred from using federal or state money for abortions.