Planned Parenthood In Legal Battle With Louisiana Over Medicaid Funding

| by Ethan Brown

Nearing the end of an initial 30-day deadline to respond, Planned Parenthood in Louisiana asked a federal court on Aug. 25 to block a request from the state to deny the organization Medicaid funding. The state's request comes in the wake of several videos that were released allegedly showing Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale fetal body parts.

Planned Parenthood and three patient co-plaintiffs filed for an injunction to halt the state’s order to ban federal funding for the women’s health group beginning Sept. 2. The charge was led by Republican Gov. and 2016 presidential candidate Bobby Jindal, whose office ordered the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to cancel its contract with Planned Parenthood on Aug. 3, the Wall Street Journal reported.

While Planned Parenthood does not provide abortions in Louisiana, Jindal made clear in a statement released in August that the organization’s alleged actions in the videos showcased a different representation of what many residents in the state believe.

The contract was cancelled “because Planned Parenthood does not represent the values of the State of Louisiana in regards to respecting human life,” a statement read during the Jindal administration’s earlier announcement. “Pending the ongoing investigation, DHH reserves the right to amend the cancellation notice and terminate the provider agreement immediately should cause be determined.”

Jindal previously asked the Louisiana Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to assist his administration in the investigation to uncover the truth behind the videos. In the most recent video posted by the Center for Medical Progress on Aug. 25, shows the CEO of a company that sells fetal tissue parts to medical researchers discussing the purchase of more tissue from Planned Parenthood clinics around the country, the Journal also noted.

While Jindal said that losing Medicaid funding would “not jeopardize those services in any way as Planned Parenthood is just one of many providers in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans area,” proponents of Planned Parenthood disagreed with the state leader.

Melissa Flournoy, Planned Parenthood Louisiana State Director, said the state’s actions would be “taking away health care services for the 2.7 million women, men and young people who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers each year for basic health care.”

Discussing the injunction against the state’s actions, the president of Planned Parenthood echoed Flournoy’s statements.

“We’re in court today to protect over 5,200 people’s access to cancer screenings, well-woman exams and basic health care in Louisiana,” Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement. “Many of these folks would have nowhere else to turn for health care.”

Arkansas, Alabama, Utah and New Hampshire are other states that have sought to partially defund or end funding altogether of Planned Parenthood clinics in their respective states. In Louisiana alone, Planned Parenthood received $730,000 in Medicaid funding last year.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, New Orleans Times-Picayune

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons