BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - In response to a highly controversial anti-abortion video accusing Planned Parenthood of selling fetal body parts, the State of Louisiana plans to kick the healthcare group off the list of Medicaid providers. That means Planned Parenthood will no longer be reimbursed for providing Medicaid services for patients.
"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," said Governor Bobby Jindal in a press release.
According to the Department of Health and Hospitals, the state reimbursed Planned Parenthood for more than $287,000 worth of family planning services in the 2015 fiscal year. Those services include basic wellness screenings and tests that Planned Parenthood said patients can't afford to lose.
"Over the last year, the Office of Public Health has drastically cut funding and is already unable to meet the health care needs of those who are most vulnerable. Furthering this problem by eliminating a trusted and high-quality provider will jeopardize health care for women and men across Louisiana," said Planned Parenthood Louisiana State Director Melissa Flournoy in a statement.
According to Flournoy, Planned Parenthood provided more than 15,000 healthcare visits in Louisiana last year.
However, DHH said this will not create gap in health care access. Current Medicaid patients can continue to use Planned Parenthood for the next 30 days. In the meantime, patients can contact Medicaid or DHH for help finding a new provider. Planned Parenthood can also transfer medical records to a patient's new doctor.
"The access to care will still be there. There are other providers, Medicaid providers that people, individuals will be able to go to. They can contact Medicaid now for any of those providers," said DHH press Officer Ashley C. Lewis.
Still some analyst wonder if Jindal's announcement, days before the first GOP presidential primary debate, had other motives.
"Jindal's been very disciplined about what part of the Republican base he goes for in the Republican presidential primary. It's the social conservatives. So, this move is directly in line with what we would expect Jindal to do," said political analyst Mike Sherman.
Jindal has also instructed DHH to investigate Planned Parenthood's activities in Louisiana, asking for the assistance of the state's Inspector General and the FBI.
Abortion services are not currently offered by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast at its New Orleans or Baton Rouge locations. But the group stated in a release that it is "building a new facility in New Orleans and plans to do abortions there."
DHH is looking into whether or not Planned Parenthood is violating Louisiana law that says "no person or group contracting with the state or receiving government assistance shall require or recommend that any woman have an abortion." The state's investigation into Planned Parenthood is currently ongoing.
Planned Parenthood has 30 days to appeal.
Below is the full statement released by Flournoy on Gov. Jindal's termination of Planned Parenthood's Medicaid funding contract