Planned Parenthood Launches Legal Battle to Keep Funding

Planned Parenthood has fired the opening salvo in its war against the Republican-led defunding campaign that threatens to stretch into the fall.

Lawyers for Planned Parenthood announced a lawsuit Tuesday against Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, claiming he acted illegally by blocking Medicaid funding to the healthcare provider.

It is Planned Parenthood’s first legal step since anti-abortion activists began targeting the group this summer in a bid to shutter its clinics around the country.

There will likely be more lawsuits: Planned Parenthood is also eying the Republican governors in Arkansas and Alabama who have taken similar steps to eliminate its Medicaid funding.

“This political grandstanding could have real and devastating consequences for the women, men and young people who rely on us,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “And that’s why we’re going to fight this with everything we’ve got.”

The organization’s focus on the states could be a shift in strategy. Instead of launching a counterattack against the Center for Medical Progress — the group behind a series of sting videos that have rekindled the national debate over abortion procedures — Planned Parenthood is taking on smaller battles where it thinks it can win.

The Obama administration has warned that the move by Jindal, who is running for president, in Louisiana — as well as a similar effort in Alabama — might be illegal because Medicaid enrollees are entitled to the healthcare provider of their choice.