Louisiana Committee OKs Bill to Investigate Planned Parenthood

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 22, 2013   |   11:34AM   |   Baton Rouge, LA

A Louisiana legislative committee yesterday approved a measure calling for state agencies to investigate the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

The panel approved House Resolution 105 by Rep. Frank Hoffmann to ask the state Department of Health and Hospitals, the Department of Administration, the Legislative Auditor, and the office of the Inspector General to investigate Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast to see if it is in compliance with state and federal laws as it plans to build a new abortion business in New Orleans.

From a report on passage:

Testifying before the committee, Dorinda Bordlee, an attorney representing the Bioethics Defense Fund, said Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast has been using its Medicaid contract, which is comprised of state and federal dollars, to provide abortions in its Texas facilities.

“There are legal issues concerning our current state law which says state contractors cannot recommend abortion or provide facilities for abortion. This resolution asks various state agencies to inquire whether that contract would be null because of their abortion providing activities,” Bordlee said.

An amendment to the resolution that was passed by the House Committee on Health and Welfare also urges the state health agency to “immediately suspend all grants and reimbursements pursuant to its Medicaid provider agreement,” until allegations Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast misuse their federal funds have been addressed.

Planned Parenthood will host a groundbreaking Wednesday for a new facility on Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans, which is expected to open in 2014 or early 2015.

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The bill also addresses Medicaid fraud that Planned Parenthood has engaged in in other states — with a request to look into its Medicaid reimbursements in Louisiana.

House Resolution 105 also urges suspension of grants and reimbursements under state contracts or Medicaid provider agreements for family planning and other services pending investigation of fraudulent billing practices alleged in two federal lawsuits. The lawsuits do not involve Louisiana operations.

“This bill is playing offense to a practice that is taking place in other states,” said Senate Bill 90 sponsor Sen. Fred Mills, R-St. Martinville.

Planned Parenthood representatives did not testify on either measure. Lobbyist D.W. Hunt put in a card noting the group’s opposition.

The House Health and Welfare Committee approved both measures, without objection, sending them to the House floor for action.

Former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson, Archbishop Gregory Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans and Pastor Antoine Barriere of Household of Faith joined with hundreds of pro-life advocates for a rally to oppose a new Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in New Orleans.