Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday ended the state’s nearly $300,000 contract with Planned Parenthood, saying the organization is not worthy of getting public assistance from the state.
Jindal cited undercover videos that allegedly depict the selling of fetal body parts at some facilities outside Louisiana.
“In recent weeks, it has been shocking to see reports of the alleged activities taking place at Planned Parenthood facilities across the country. Planned Parenthood does not represent the values of the people of Louisiana and shows a fundamental disrespect for human life,” Jindal said in a statement issued by his office.
Jindal’s move came as anti-abortion interests pushed Congress to yank federal funds from Planned Parenthood based on what they say is video evidence the organization has violated a ban on selling fetal tissue for profit.
The GOP-driven move has given rise to threats of a filibuster from Democrats who pledge to protect the funds that go toward women’s health care. U.S. Senate Democrats on Monday blocked an effort to strip the funding but the fight is expected to continue.
Louisiana has two Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast facilities — one in Baton Rouge and the other in New Orleans. Neither perform abortion services.
The facilities receive Medicaid funds for the delivery of health care services — mainly to women — including well-woman exams, cancer screenings, pregnancy testing and counseling.
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s Louisiana director Melissa Flournoy said Jindal is reducing needed health care services for a population that has nowhere else to turn.
The state has already drastically cut funding for its Office of Public Health “and is already unable to meet the health care needs of those who are most vulnerable,” Flournoy said. “Furthering this problem by eliminating a trusted and high-quality provider will jeopardize health care for women and men across Louisiana.”
Planned Parenthood is a Medicaid provider through the Family Planning Services program. The state is terminating that provider agreement under which Planned Parenthood was reimbursed more than $287,000 in family planning services during the last fiscal year, that ended June 30. Medicaid is largely federally funded, but in most programs there is a state match.
Information was not readily available on what kind of a budget impact the defunding would have on Planned Parenthood Louisiana operations.
Jindal previously ordered the state Department of Health and Hospitals to investigate Planned Parenthood’s activities in Louisiana as well as those of five abortion clinics in the state. He also asked state Inspector General Stephen Street and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America has denied any improper activity and said the videos are part of a political agenda by anti-abortionists to destroy the organization.
Planned Parenthood officials said the videos have been edited to distort conversations involving legal fetal tissue donations, which are used in medical research.
The videos to which Jindal reacted were released by an anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress. The initial undercover video appears to show a New York-based PPFA senior director describing how some employees are, according to Jindal, “actively engaging in illegal partial-birth abortion procedures and attempting to conduct these abortions so that they leave body parts intact so they can later be sold on the open market.”
The Medicaid provider contract between DHH and Planned Parenthood allows either party to cancel the contract at will after providing 30-day written notice. Planned Parenthood has been given a notice because the organization “does not represent the values of the state of Louisiana in regards to respecting human life,” according to the administration. The state also reserved the right to terminate the contract immediately if cause can be determined, the administration said.
According to the news release, DHH has concerns that Planned Parenthood could be acting in violation of Louisiana law that states no person or group contracting with the state or receiving government assistance shall require or recommend that any woman have an abortion.
Neither Jindal’s office nor DHH responded to questions about what prompted those concerns.
The group is one of many providers in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas who provide the service, state officials said.
Louisiana Right to Life executive director Benjamin Clapper issued a statement commending Jindal for terminating the agreement. “PPGC is a big abortion business that our tax dollars should not be subsidizing,” Clapper said.