Federal judge temporarily halts Jindal's plans to defund Planned Parenthood

A US District Judge has ruled that Louisiana must continue funding Planned Parenthood for the next 14 days.

Jose Luis Magana/AP
Republican presidential candidate Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during the Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council Action, Sept. 25, in Washington.

In Louisiana, Planned Parenthood will live on – at least for the next two weeks.

A federal judge ordered the state Monday to continue money flow to the women’s health clinic from Medicare funding for 14 more days, countering Gov. Bobby Jindal’s efforts to block the funding.

After hearing arguments Friday, US District Judge John deGravelles in Baton Rouge ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood’s request of a temporary restraining order that would ensure its livelihood beyond Monday’s funding cutoff date.

Governor Jindal, a Republican presidential candidate, initiated his defunding efforts after an anti-abortion group released videos that suggest the national clinics illegally sell fetal tissue, an allegation that Planned Parenthood has vehemently denied.

On Friday, Planned Parenthood’s attorney argued that the controversy over the secretly recorded and subsequently edited videos has little to do with the organization’s Medicare funding, which goes to services like cancer screenings and gynecology exams for its 5,200 patients at two clinics in Louisiana.

According to Carrie Flaxman, who argued on behalf of Planned Parenthood and its patients, no abortions are performed at either of these two clinics.

Louisiana state attorney Jimmy Faircloth took the other side, contending that the organization doesn’t need a restraining order because funding should carry over through a state administrative appeal process.

"There is absolutely no harm to them at all," Mr. Faircloth said in court Friday.

Faircloth added that while the anti-abortion videos inspired the state to kickstart its investigations into the agency’s practices, there are other factors that point to defunding.

Using a settlement from Texas, the state claimed that the organization routinely uses government funding for services that aren’t medically necessary.

Judge DeGravelles was already skeptical of this argument Friday, requesting Faircloth to name specific allegations of Planned Parenthood’s misrepresentations to the state, which the attorney was not able to produce.

This report contains material from the Associated Press.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.