Feds claim states' defunding of Planned Parenthood is illegal

by Gregory Tomlin |

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)Republican U.S. presidential candidate and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal participates in the Voters First Presidential Forum in Manchester, New Hampshire, August 3, 2015. Jindal, citing Planned Parenthood's pattern of deception in recent videos showing the abortion provider selling human organs from aborted fetuses, cancelled Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood. Now, the federal government claims Jindal's act was illegal.

NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) – The Obama administration is strong arming a group of states who dropped funding for Planned Parenthood in their Medicaid programs following the release of series of gruesome videos showing fetal organs being sold for profit.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Department of Health and Human Service has issued a warning to both Louisiana and Alabama that ending payments to the abortion provider and refusing to allow women to use the "family planning" services of the group is a violation of the law and – presumably – the federal government would take the steps necessary to restore the funding.

By restricting which provider a woman could choose to receive care from, women could lose access to critical preventive care, such as cancer screenings.
- Kevin Griffis, Health and Human Services

In a statement from HHS, spokesman Kevin Griffis said the law forbids states from preventing women to seek the care of a "qualified provider."

"By restricting which provider a woman could choose to receive care from, women could lose access to critical preventive care, such as cancer screenings," Griffis said.

Louisiana and Alabama both announced last week that they were ending payments to Planned Parenthood through Medicaid. Both Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) and Robert Bentley (R-AL) cited the recent videos exposing Planned Parenthood's trafficking in human organs from aborted babies as the reason for the change. New Hampshire has also pledged to defund the abortion provider.

When the states announced their move, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stepped in, contacting health officials in both southern states. CMS told state officials it could withhold federally funding from the states if it deems they are out of line with federal law.

Planned Parenthood said it is considering filing a lawsuit to have its funding restored in the states. The group's Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said in a statement on Wednesday, Aug. 12, that moves to eliminate its funding were "political grandstanding."

"It's good to hear that HHS has clarified what we already know: blocking women's access to care at Planned Parenthood is against the law," Laguens said.

Jindal, one of 17 Republican presidential candidates for 2016, said in a statement that his motivation for defunding Planned Parenthood in his state was the organization's misleading responses to his state's investigation and the videos published by the Center for Medical Progress, the group that has recently exposed Planned Parenthood's sale of fetal tissue for profit.