(Reuters) - A divided federal appeals court on Tuesday ordered Utah to continue funding the state branch of Planned Parenthood, in a defeat for Republican Governor Gary Herbert, who had ordered a cutoff last year.
By a 2-1 vote, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a lower court judge erred in denying Planned Parenthood Association of Utah a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the cutoff.
The women's health organization had argued that the denial of funding would violate its constitutional rights.
In Tuesday's decision, the appeals court said the group was likely to succeed on the merits of its claims, and likely to suffer irreparable harm absent an injunction.
When ordering the cutoff last August, Herbert cited secretly-recorded videos that anti-abortion groups have said showed out-of-state Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of aborted fetal tissue.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Chris Reese)