Gov. Bobby Jindal on Tuesday called upon Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast executives to be honest about the organization’s activities involving the sale of fetal body parts.
Jindal used the release of a fifth video purportedly showing a Planned Parenthood official talking about the fetal sales to question the truthfulness of information the organization provided state health officials.
“The recent video of a Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast employee discussing the harvesting of organs from aborted babies is disgusting,” Jindal said in a news release issued by his office. “It is especially concerning given that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast responded to our investigation with a letter just a few weeks ago claiming its organization does not sell or donate any unborn baby organs or body parts. After watching the most recent video, it certainly appears Planned Parenthood representatives are being less than truthful in their responses to our investigation so far.”
Jindal called for the organization to stop misleading the state in its investigation “and be honest about the nature of its activities.”
State Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Kathy Kliebert wrote a letter to Gulf Coast executive Melanie Linton asking her to reconcile the video with the answers provided the state.
The move comes a day after Jindal canceled Planned Parenthood’s participation in the state Medicaid program where it provides health care services at facilities in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Neither Louisiana facility provides abortion services. Planned Parenthood Louisiana is an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.
Jindal’s Louisiana actions come as Planned Parenthood Federation of America is in the midst of political warfare with anti-abortion interests that want to see some $500 million in federal funding to the organization to end. Congressional Republicans are leading the fight.
In a written response, Linton said Tuesday that the latest video shot by anti-abortion extremists contains “at least 20 substantial and unexplained edits. “These videos are intended to shock and deceive the public. For example, one video was edited to make it look like a doctor said she would ‘sell’ fetal tissue for a profit — when in fact she said the exact opposite, 10 separate times, and nearly all instances were edited out of the tape.
“The footage released today doesn’t show Planned Parenthood staff engaged in any wrongdoing or agreeing to violate any legal or medical standards,” she said.
Linton said Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in Texas has participated in fetal tissue donation programs in the past and has helped with research projects with groups like the University of Texas Medical Branch.
Jindal ordered a state investigation into Planned Parenthood’s activities soon after the initial undercover videos shot and distributed by anti-abortion interest surfaced. Linton answered a series of questions posed by Kliebert involving practices involving aborted fetuses.
Linton advised that Planned Parenthood has no fetal tissue donation programs in Texas currently and she answered no to questions about whether any of its facilities, affiliates or associates “sell or donate any unborn baby organs or body parts.”
“These statements directly contradict a recently released video made on April 9, 2015 at the Planned Parenthood facility in Houston, TX., in which Melissa Farrell, director of research at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, discusses existing contracts for fetal tissue donation for the purpose of research,” Kliebert wrote Linton. “In one specific contract, she notes that the researcher is requesting 120 fetal cadavers.”
“In light of this new video, the Department is extremely concerned that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, its close associate Planned Parenthood Center for Choice, or both have not only participated in the sale or donation of fetal tissue, but also deliberately misinformed the Department about this practice in its July 24 response letter.”
Kliebert then asked a series of new, more specific questions.