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September 15, 2015

La. Tries New Tack in Bid to Block Planned Parenthood Funds

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration is now citing a 2013 Planned Parenthood settlement with neighboring Texas as a reason to end Medicaid payments to the organization's two Louisiana clinics, the Associated Press reports.

The legal move followed a hearing earlier this month in which a federal judge questioned the state's prior contention that it has authority to cancel contracts with qualified Medicaid providers with 30 days' notice, without showing cause.

In court papers filed Friday, Louisiana officials noted Planned Parenthood's August 2013 agreement to pay Texas $4.3 million to settle allegations of false Medicaid billings. While the women's health nonprofit did not admit wrongdoing, the Louisiana health department said the settlement put the group in violation of state rules for Medicaid providers.

Planned Parenthood sued Louisiana last month challenging funding cutoff, which Mr. Jindal announced after an anti-abortion activist group began releasing videos it claims show that Planned Parenthood illegally sells fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood says it only donates fetal tissue for medical research, in accordance with federal law, and that the Center for Medical Progress's undercover videos are misleadingly edited.

Planned Parenthood filed suit Friday against Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order imposing a similar funding cutoff, the Associated Press and Reuters write. A hearing in that case is scheduled for Thursday.