June 23, 2015 — The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has withdrawn a rule that would have restricted abortion access in the state after Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit against the requirement, the Shreveport Times reports.
The move allows the Planned Parenthood Center for Choice to continue with plans to offer abortion care at a health care clinic currently being built in New Orleans, according to the Times (Shreveport Times, 6/20).
The state DHH in January rejected Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast's application to provide abortion services at PPCC.
The request was rejected under 2012 regulations issued by Gov. Bobby Jindal's (R) administration. The rules require clinics seeking to offer abortion services to carry out the same "facility need review" as state residential care facilities, such as hospice facilities or nursing homes. Under the regulations, outpatient facilities that want to provide abortion services must prove that such services are needed to preserve access to care prior to applying for a license to perform the procedure (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/21).
PPGC appealed the decision in February. Following the appeal, the state DHH agreed to review additional data showing the need for expanding reproductive health care services in New Orleans and withdrew its initial rejection notice.
State DHH Rescinds FNR Requirement
The Louisiana DHH now also has rescinded its requirement that clinics must first apply for and receive an FNR before providing abortion care.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said the move "marks a major victory for the women of Louisiana, who will have increased access to critical health care, including safe, legal abortion."
Raegan Carter, senior director of external services at PPCC, also praised the decision. "The new health center will offer the full range of reproductive health care that the community overwhelmingly supports and needs: lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and treatment, HIV screening, and safe, legal abortion," she said, adding, "When this health center opens, Planned Parenthood will more than double the number of women and men we serve in Louisiana" (Shreveport Times, 6/20).