La. Bolsters Planned Parenthood Defunding Efforts

September 14, 2015 — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's (R) administration on Friday said it will move to end its Medicaid provider agreement with Planned Parenthood "for cause" rather than continuing its effort to cut the organization's Medicaid funding without providing a reason, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports (DeSlatte, AP/Sacramento Bee, 9/11).

Earlier this summer, Jindal 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. CMP secretly filmed the videos by meeting with Planned Parenthood staff while posing as buyers of fetal tissue.

Planned Parenthood has stated that the videos were heavily edited and that the filmed officials did not conduct any illegal activities. The organization said it does not profit from fetal tissue donations and only receives reimbursement for costs associated with such donations, which is legal. Meanwhile, supporters of Planned Parenthood said the videos are part of a decades-long campaign against the organization.

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 funding cuts. The two clinics in the state, which do not provide abortion services, 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 billing incorrectly.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge John DeGravelles postponed Louisiana's decision to end Planned Parenthood's Medicaid contracts until Sept. 15. DeGravelles questioned whether the state could end Planned Parenthood's Medicaid contracts despite the organization's qualifications as a health care provider and without cause (Women's Health Policy Report, 9/8).