Planned Parenthood files lawsuit against Jindal

Planned Parenthood files lawsuit against Jindal
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Planned Parenthood is taking legal action against Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) in an attempt to save its state funding.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Planned Parenthood asks a federal court to block what it describes as “Jindal’s illegal efforts” to strip away the Medicaid funding that helps run their clinics.

“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,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement, citing the number of women enrolled through Medicaid who use the provider’s services.

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She blasted Jindal’s efforts against Planned Parenthood, which she said will “ensure women's cancer will get worse before it's caught and that HIV and other infections will spread.”

It is Planned Parenthood's first legal step in response to the undercover video controversy spurred by anti-abortion-rights activists this summer.

Jindal, a presidential hopeful, said in early August that he would defund Planned Parenthood in his state by eliminating its source of Medicaid dollars. The Obama administration has already warned the move by Louisiana — as well as a similar effort by Alabama — would be illegal because Medicaid enrollees are entitled to the healthcare provider of their choice.

Shortly after the Louisiana and Alabama governors announced their plans, they were contacted by the federal agency that runs Medicaid. Both were notified that they “may be in conflict with federal law,” Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Ben Wakana said in a statement.

In response to Tuesday's lawsuit, Jindal spokesman Mike Reed said the governor's office will stand its ground.

"Planned Parenthood is flailing. This lawsuit is without merit and the state will aggressively defend our right to cancel the contract," Reed wrote in a statement.

Planned Parenthood has said it is considering legal action to stop the videos about the health provider's handling of fetal tissue, accusing the group behind them of illegally recording their footage.