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October 20, 2015

Judge: La. Must Pay Planned Parenthood at Least 2 More Weeks

A federal judge in Baton Rouge has ordered Louisiana to wait at least two weeks before cutting off Medicaid funds to the state's two Planned Parenthood clinics, reports Bloomberg Business. A spokesman for Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is seeking to cancel Medicaid contracts under which the clinics are repaid for providing nonabortion health services, said the state would appeal Sunday's ruling by U.S. District Judge John deGravelles.

State officials initially cited undercover videos alleging that Planned Parenthood illegally profits from the sale of fetal tissue — which the nonprofit denies — and later argued that the organization's agreement to pay millions of dollars to settle overbilling claims in neighboring Texas voided the Louisiana contracts.

At a hearing Friday the judge cast doubt on both rationales, saying Planned Parenthood has "credibly contradicted" accusations about its tissue program and that Louisiana cannot use the Texas case to cut off its own payments. Planned Parenthood is waging similar legal battles in Alabama, Arkansas, and Utah, where officials are also seeking to cut off the group's Medicaid payments.