WASHINGTON -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said he plans to screen controversial undercover videos of Planned Parenthood on the lawn of his mansion Thursday evening in response to a rally protesting his actions against the family planning provider.
The protest at the GOP presidential candidate's Baton Rouge home Thursday afternoon is in response to the governor's recent announcement that he will block Medicaid recipients in Louisiana from receiving care at Planned Parenthood. Jindal also launched a state investigation into Planned Parenthood, even though the provider does not offer abortions in the state, because a series of undercover videos released by an anti-abortion group shows Planned Parenthood doctors discussing fetal tissue donations after abortions.
"Many Planned Parenthood supporters, including President Obama and members of the White House, said they have not or will not view the horrific Planned Parenthood videos," Jindal's office said in a statement Thursday. "Planned Parenthood has a right to protest today, but Governor Jindal's office will ensure that anyone who shows up will have to witness first-hand the offensive actions of the organization they are supporting."
The heavily edited videos, produced by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress, use graphic videos of still-born babies, strategically cut footage and false subtitles to suggest that Planned Parenthood is selling fetal parts for profit. Congress and several governors have launched investigations into Planned Parenthood following the release of the videos, but so far those investigations have turned up nothing.
Planned Parenthood apologized for the "tone" of one of the doctors, who discussed abortions and fetal tissue donations in the videos rather bluntly over lunch with an actor posing as a tissue procurement representative. But the group maintains it has done nothing illegal in donating fetal tissue to science after abortions at the request of the patient. Planned Parenthood says it does not profit off these donations, but receives reimbursements for the costs of transporting and preserving the specimens, which is legal.
Planned Parenthood's Louisiana affiliate provided health care, contraception and sexually transmitted disease and HIV testing to more than 5,000 Medicaid patients a year before Jindal ended its Medicaid contract Aug. 3. The group noted that more than 60 percent of pregnancies in Louisiana are unintended, and New Orleans and Baton Rouge have some of the highest HIV rates in the country.
A spokeswoman for the organization said Jindal's movie screening is nothing but "political theater."
“Governor Jindal isn’t even in Louisiana today, but he’s made sure to prove that he’s always ready to put politics before Louisianan’s health," said Melissa Flournoy, Louisiana state director for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. "This stunt is proof he doesn’t have any real answers for the people of Louisiana. He is ready to cut health care for thousands of low-income women and men without batting an eye."
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