Planned Parenthood should lose its Medicaid financing if the organization starts performing abortions in Louisiana, state lawmakers have agreed.
The Senate gave final passage to the proposal Monday with a 33-2 vote, sending it to Gov. John Bel Edwards. The Democratic governor was pushing the bill as part of his legislative agenda and is expected to sign it.
Federal health officials have warned such efforts may violate the law, and a federal judge has blocked previous Louisiana efforts to cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood clinics.
House Bill 606 by Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe, prohibits public funding in Louisiana for entities that perform abortions. Planned Parenthood has indicated it wants to offer abortions at its new clinic under construction in New Orleans.
Exceptions are included in the bill for abortions performed for victims of rape or incest, for women whose lives are in danger or for pregnancies considered “medically futile.”
No one debated the measure on the Senate floor Monday.
But in prior discussions, bill supporters said they don’t want tax dollars to flow to clinics that offer abortions, even though Medicaid money can’t pay for abortions. They said they hoped the legislation will discourage Planned Parenthood from providing abortions at its New Orleans facility once it opens.
Opponents of the measure said the ban would shrink available health services for poor people with few options for care, and they said passage of the legislation could send the state back to court.
The federal Medicaid agency recently sent a letter to states notifying them that they are limited in taking actions to remove providers from their Medicaid programs.
Louisiana’s Legislature has passed several measures this session aimed at restricting and lessening abortions in the state.
So far, Edwards has signed bills that will force most women in Louisiana to wait 72 hours before getting an abortion and that will toughen the criteria for doctors who perform abortions. Those new laws take effect Aug. 1.