November 2, 2015 — A federal judge on Thursday issued a preliminary injunction that extends a temporary restraining order barring Louisiana from cutting Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid program, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 10/29).
Over the summer, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) ordered the state to end its Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood following the release of a series of misleading videos targeting Planned Parenthood, which were released by an antiabortion-rights group called the Center for Medical Progress. Planned Parenthood has stated that the videos were heavily edited and that the filmed officials did not conduct any illegal activities.
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast and three Medicaid beneficiaries in August filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to issue a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction against the exclusion of Planned Parenthood from the state's Medicaid program. The state's two Planned Parenthood clinics said cutting Medicaid funding violates federal law, which allows Medicaid beneficiaries to seek care from any qualified Medicaid provider. The U.S. Department of Justice also filed a legal brief in support of PPGC, contending the state could not cancel Planned Parenthood's Medicaid contract without showing that the clinics were not adequately performing their services or were billing incorrectly.
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge John deGravelles issued a 14-day restraining order on Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's (R) effort to end the state's Medicaid provider agreement with Planned Parenthood. In that ruling, deGravelles held that the administration acted unlawfully in its effort to cancel Medicaid contracts with PPGC. Further, deGravelles said defunding PPGC would disrupt the provision of health care services for 5,200 PPGC patients (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/20).
DeGravelles on Thursday issued a preliminary injunction against the state's actions, which will remain in effect while the lawsuit continues.
Meanwhile, Gov. Bobby Jindal's (R) office said the state plans to appeal the latest order to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
PPGC Louisiana Director Melissa Flournoy said, "It is offensive that Governor Jindal continues to play political games with women's health care." She added, "He cannot drown out the voices of Louisianans who want access to STI testing, birth control, and lifesaving cancer screenings. We are not going anywhere" (Cavaliere, Reuters, 10/30).