Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Louisiana to cut Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood

Gov. Jindal says Planned Parenthood 'does not represent the values' of Louisiana

Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Monday that Louisiana is terminating its Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood.

After September, the Louisiana Department of Public Health and Hospitals (DHH) will no longer pay for the health care of low-income women who are insured through Medicaid at the state’s two Planned Parenthood clinics — a response to videos that circulated online implying that Planned Parenthood sells the organs of aborted fetuses.

The video was surreptitiously captured by the Center for Medical Progress, a California-based anti-abortion group.

“Planned Parenthood does not represent the values of the people of Louisiana and shows a fundamental disrespect for human life,” Gov. Jindal said in a statement. “It has become clear that this is not an organization that is worthy of receiving public assistance from the state.”

DHH was concerned, Jindal added, that Planned Parenthood was acting in violation of Louisiana law that bars government funds from being used to perform or recommend abortions.

Planned Parenthood, which provides contraception and screens for cancer and sexually transmitted infections in addition to terminating pregnancies, has denied the allegations that it makes money from the organs of aborted fetuses. The group said Tuesday that Jindal’s move amounted to eliminating basic health care for thousands of low-income women.

“Let’s talk about what defunding Planned Parenthood really means: It means taking away health care services for the 2.7 million women, men and young people who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers each year for basic health care,” Melissa Flournoy, director of Planned Parenthood Louisiana, said in an emailed statement.

She said Planned Parenthood provided over 15,000 health care visits in Louisiana in 2014, and that more than 4,300 low-income women and men received health care through Medicaid funding. The state’s two Planned Parenthood clinics do not provide abortions.

“The men and women who benefit from this funding often have limited health care access, and we are often their primary health care provider,” Flournoy wrote.

Nationally, abortions make up just 3 percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood, according to the organization’s 2014-2015 annual report.

Legislation proposed by conservative lawmakers that would have stripped Planned Parenthood of more than $500 million in federal funding failed to pass in the Senate on Monday.

Controversy over the secretly recorded videos erupted last month when representatives from the Center for Medical Progress captured Planned Parenthood officials discussing the donation of fetal organs from abortions to research organizations.

Anti-abortion activists accused Planned Parenthood of profiting from the fetal tissue, but the group says the videos were selectively edited and that it donates the tissue in accordance with the law and with patients' consent.

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