The Obama administration has sided with Planned Parenthood in its effort to keep its contract with Louisiana, arguing in a court filing that the state’s decision to defund the organization may be in violation of the federal Medicaid Act.
The Justice Department filed a “statement of interest” late Monday in favor of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, arguing that “thus far, Louisiana has not proffered sufficient reasons to terminate Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Inc. (“PPGC”) from its Medicaid program.”
“If Louisiana terminates PPGC from participation in its Medicaid program without providing any justification related to PPGC’s qualifications to perform or bill for medical services, the State would violate the rights of Medicaid beneficiaries to receive medical care from the qualified providers of their choice,” said the filing in federal court in Louisiana.
The Justice Department’s move comes as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration prepares for a federal court hearing Wednesday in Baton Rouge in response to Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary restraining order to stop the state government from cancelling its $300,000 contract.
The cancellation, which came in response to explosive undercover videos by the pro-life Center for Medical Progress, goes into effect Wednesday.
“Today’s DOJ filing makes it clear: Governor Jindal’s attacks on Planned Parenthood not only hurt women, they’re against the law,” said Planned Parenthood Federation of America spokeswoman Dawn Laguens in a Tuesday statement.
Jindal spokesman Mike Reed said earlier the state health department is well within its rights to cancel the contract. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals notified Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast that it would cancel the contract on Aug. 3.
Five states have taken steps to defund Planned Parenthood affiliates in their states since the first video was released July 14.