Jindal canceling state contracts with Planned Parenthood

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration announced Monday that Louisiana is ousting Planned Parenthood from its Medicaid program.

The Jindal administration sent the organization notification that it was ending four provider agreements that reimbursed Planned Parenthood for providing health care services to low-income patients through the government-funded Medicaid insurance program.

Termination of the agreements comes after an anti-abortion group released secretly recorded videos showing Planned Parenthood officials describing how they provide aborted fetus tissue for medical research.

Jindal, a Republican running for the GOP presidential nomination, cited the videos in his announcement.

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

Planned Parenthood doesn’t provide abortions in Louisiana, but offers cancer screenings, birth control, gynecology exams, sexually transmitted disease treatment and other health services in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

The state had been reimbursing Planned Parenthood for such services provided to Medicaid patients, paying more than $287,000 in reimbursements to the organization in the last budget year, according to the state Department of Health and Hospitals.

Melissa Flournoy, Louisiana state director for Planned Parenthood, said Jindal’s decision will lessen health services for the poor.

“More than 4,300 low-income, uninsured women and men were able to access high-quality affordable health care through the safety net provided by Medicaid funding. 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 said in a statement.

Anti-abortion groups praised Jindal’s action. Both they and the Jindal administration said Medicaid patients who relied on Planned Parenthood clinics can use other hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas without losing access to services.

Jindal’s office also said the health department was concerned that Planned Parenthood was violating a Louisiana law prohibiting a group that contracts with the state from recommending that women have abortions. It provided no specific examples, however.

The organization is building a new health center in New Orleans and had announced plans to seek a license to provide abortions there.

Letters sent from Health and Hospitals Secretary Kathy Kliebert to Planned Parenthood said the organization has 30 days to request an appeal of the provider agreement termination. Final decisions on appeal are made by Kliebert’s office, according to the letters.

Republicans around the country have targeted Planned Parenthood after several videos have been released by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress.

The center said the videos showed Planned Parenthood illegally sells fetal tissue for profit. Planned Parenthood said the organization receives legal payment only for the cost of the procedure and requires a mother’s consent before the tissue is given to researchers.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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