NEW ORLEANS — Attorneys for the state of Louisiana are renewing efforts to block Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood.
They asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to hold a rehearing on the issue — noting in a filing Thursday that one judge on that court recently changed her opinion on the issue.
Last September, a three-judge 5th Circuit panel unanimously upheld a lower court’s injunction preventing the state from cutting Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood. The money goes to non-abortion services for low-income women.
One of the three judges, Priscilla Owen recently changed her position, making it a 2-1 decision instead of a unanimous one.
The result is the same. But attorneys for the state noted Owen’s dissent in their request for a rehearing by all 15 judges of the 5th Circuit.
The lawsuit dates back to former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration.
The Jindal administration moved to cut Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood after the release of stealth videos that abortion opponents claimed showed Planned Parenthood officials outside Louisiana selling fetal tissue for profit. (A Texas grand jury that looked into the videos cleared Planned Parenthood of misusing fetal tissue.)
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, the group’s Louisiana affiliate, and three of its patients challenged the funding cutoff in a 2015 federal lawsuit.
They said the attempt to cut funding for the organization’s non-abortion-related services in Baton Rouge and New Orleans was politically motivated and would leave the patients with no place to get needed care.
Jindal, a Republican who was term-limited, left office in 2016. He was succeeded by John Bel Edwards, an anti-abortion Democrat.
Edwards has not moved to stop the Planned Parenthood lawsuit. And he pushed a bill through a 2016 legislative session to block Planned Parenthood funding if the organization begins offering abortions in the state.
Jimmy Faircloth, a private attorney and longtime Jindal ally, continues to work on the case for the state, along with Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office.
Edwards’ office didn’t respond to a Friday email question about the lawsuit.