Planned Parenthood remains funded at least until Sept. 15 after federal court battle

Planned Parenthood funding battle heads to federal court

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The battle over Planned Parenthood and whether Louisiana will continue to fund the organization through state Medicaid funds went before a federal judge. It was supposed to be cut Wednesday, but things changed in court that afternoon.

Planned Parenthood will remain funded at least until September 15. The state agreed to that Wednesday afternoon inside the Federal Courthouse in Baton Rouge.

Judge John DeGravelles' demeanor seemed a lot more favorable toward Planned Parenthood with the rounds of questioning between the judge and those who took the stand.

DeGravelles questioned why cut funding for planned Parenthood if its clinics are doing good work. The state said their reason for doing this is that they have the authority to do so. The judge asked if that "is that not fundamentally wrong" to cut funding if the organization is competent in how they're doing their services.

Court lasted just 30 minutes. Afterward, the attorneys for Planned Parenthood said Governor Jindal's team is violating patients rights of "free choice" to who they turn to for services.

"We're happy to be here in court today making sure that our patients have a continued right to receive services from their qualified provider of choice," said Senior Staff Attorney Karrie Flaxman.

"What Governor Jindal is trying to do is not only unlawful, it's wrong," said Dr. Melissa Flournoy, the Louisiana Director of Planned Parenthood. "Women in Louisiana don't need a politician telling them where they can get there Pap test, their breast cancer screenings or birth control."

Attorneys with the state declined to speak after court was adjourned.

After hearing both sides of the argument, the judge is expected to make a decision by September on whether or not funding will be cut. The Planned Parenthood's injunction cited the action violates federal law and places thousands of women's critical care in jeopardy.

"We're in court today to protect over 5,200 people's access to cancer screenings, well woman exams and basic health care in Louisiana," said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "Many of these folks would have nowhere else to turn for health care."

Gov. Bobby Jindal's decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood came after a series of controversial videos surfaced that appeared to show the organization's executives talking about abortion practices.

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

"When Governor Jindal and other politicians try to cut Planned Parenthood's funding to score political points, what they're actually doing is ensuring that some women's cancer will get worse before it's caught and that HIV and other infections will spread," Richards added.

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."

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