The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) says that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s decision to end his state’s Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood violates federal law.
In a court filing that appears to support Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit days before the Jindal administration and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC) head to federal court over the decision, the DOJ said Jindal’s administration has not adequately shown why the abortion provider’s contract should be terminated, and that the decision violates laws that allow Medicaid patients to choose their own medical doctors, reports nola.com.
PPGC is asking the court for a temporary restraining order against the Jindal administration’s decision to cut its federal funding.
“Louisiana has not proffered sufficient reasons to terminate Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast from its Medicaid program,” the DOJ said in a statement of interest. “Terminating (Planned Parenthood) from its Medicaid program without providing any justification … would violate Louisiana’s obligations under the Medicaid statute by denying Medicaid beneficiaries of their right to obtain medical care from the qualified providers of their choice.”
The Jindal administration has said the state’s Medicaid contract with the nation’s largest abortion provider allows for either party to be able to cancel the contract at will with 30 days written notice of the termination.
DOJ, however, asserts, “But states do not have unfettered discretion to determine that a provider is not ‘qualified’ for purposes of federal Medicaid law. Crucially, they cannot evade the statutory mandate … through the simple expedient of incorporating ‘at-will’ termination provisions into their Medicaid provider agreements.”
The DOJ continued that the state’s position “conflicts with the considered and longstanding views of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the agency to whom Congress explicitly delegated authority to interpret and apply the Medicaid statute.”
In 2006, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch – who was a DOJ official at the time – signed an amicus brief in support of Planned Parenthood’s opposition to a partial-birth abortion ban, as CNSNews.com reported. In January of this year, Sen. Lindsey Graham – now a GOP presidential contender – said that the fact that Lynch signed the brief in support of Planned Parenthood and partial-birth abortion did not “disqualify” her from serving as attorney general of the United States.
The Obama administration has been a close ally of Planned Parenthood and has threatened states attempting to defund it in the wake of the release of videos exposing the abortion provider’s practice of harvesting the body parts of aborted babies for sale on the open market.
President Obama is a known champion of Planned Parenthood, and became the first sitting president to deliver an address to the group, which was founded by eugenicist Margaret Sanger. In 2013, Obama promised to stand with the organization against what he described as efforts to “turn back the clock to policies more suited to the 1950’s than the 21st Century.”
After praising the organization for its 100-year existence, Obama told Planned Parenthood, “God bless you.”
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has enjoyed a close relationship with the White House from the start of Obama’s presidency. According to a report at CNSNews.com, an online record of visitors shows that Richards has visited the White House 39 times since Obama took office, beginning January 20, 2009–the day he was inaugurated.
Since then, Richards has met with Obama alone at least three times and First Lady Michelle Obama at least twice. Additionally, she met with the President and his wife together another four times. She also attended the President’s second inaugural on January 20, 2013.
Richards met with David Plouffe, former senior adviser to the president, four times and current senior adviser Valerie Jarrett five times. She has also met with many members of the Obama administration, including former White House Chief of Staff William Daley, Office of Management and Budget director Shaun Donovan, and current Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.
At the end of July – after the Center for Medical Progress had released four videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s organ-harvesting practices – White House spokesman Josh Earnest said President Obama likely hadn’t seen, and had no plans to view, the videos. Similarly, last week, Earnest said he himself had not seen any of the videos.