Planned Parenthood Files Appeal to Protect Access to Safe, Legal Abortion
“We will stop at nothing to fight for the women and families of Louisiana,” says Planned Parenthood
New Orleans, LA – Late yesterday, Planned Parenthood Center for Choice filed a notice of appeal with the Louisiana Division of Administrative Law to protect women’s access to safe, legal abortion in Louisiana. In January, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), under the Jindal administration denied Planned Parenthood’s application to provide abortion in the new health center under construction in New Orleans. Planned Parenthood is now appealing this decision.
The latest blow to women’s health in Louisiana comes only weeks after the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals proposed new facility restrictions for abortion providers, and while litigation against a separate law (HB 388) proceeds in federal court. Louisiana politicians are using every trick in the book to restrict access to safe, legal abortion. Some have also publicly threatened to introduce legislation with even more abortion restrictions in the upcoming session. Special interest groups are using abhorrent tactics such as harassment and intimidation in an effort to shame and silence those who support women’s health care. Taken together, it’s clear that a determined minority will stop at nothing to end access to safe, legal abortion for women in Louisiana.
“All women and families deserve the highest quality care no matter who they are and where they live. It’s clear that politicians and special interest groups will stop at nothing to end access to safe, legal abortion for the women of Louisiana. Planned Parenthood will do everything possible to fight for the women of Louisiana. Our new health center will open and when it does, it will double the number of women receiving care from Planned Parenthood,” said Raegan Carter, Senior Director of External Services, Planned Parenthood Center for Choice.
In Louisiana, there is a vast unmet need for women’s health care – specifically preventive care and access to contraception. As a result, six in 10 pregnancies in Louisiana are unintended. In fact, trends are moving in the wrong direction in Louisiana. At a time when unintended pregnancy rates are moving in the right direction in other states, Louisiana saw an increase in unintended pregnancy rates from 2006 to 2010 (of 4.6 percent), which means many babies here are born without early prenatal care and with a low birth weight. Despite this, Governor Jindal has asked the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to cut what could be up to $700 million from their budget, a move that would decimate access to health care in an already faltering health care system. The bottom line is too many Louisiana women and families are already going without access to basic, preventive health care.
To help more Louisiana women and families access the care they need, Planned Parenthood has planned to build a new health center that will provide the full range of reproductive health care services, which includes access to well-women exams, breast health, STI prevention, testing and treatment, contraception and abortion. However, since 2012, the DHH under the Jindal administration has prohibited any new abortion provider from opening in Louisiana unless the provider applies for and is granted a FNR (facilities need review) by the DHH. Planned Parenthood submitted a comprehensive FNR application in October, including extensive research from experts in the field attesting to the unmet need for safe and legal abortion in the region. According to the expert’s analysis, “an estimated 48 percent of women residing in [Southeast Louisiana] who would be expected to need abortion services were unable to access them.”
In January, DHH denied Planned Parenthood’s application to provide abortion in the new health center under construction in New Orleans, effectively attempting to veto abortion services at this new health center. Planned Parenthood has now filed a notice of appeal to challenge the department’s decision.
A poll conducted in late 2013 found that a strong majority of Louisiana voters (84 percent) agree that “decisions about whether to choose adoption, end a pregnancy or raise a child must be left to the woman, her family and her faith with the counsel of her doctor.” This same poll also found that the majority of Louisiana voters (59 percent) believe that Roe v. Wade should be left in place.
Planned Parenthood Center for Choice, Inc. (PPCfC), based in Houston, has been providing quality, safe, compassionate care for women seeking safe, legal abortion since 1973. PPCfC's focus is on making sure women have access to the high-quality health care they need, have accurate information about all of their options, and are able to make their own health care decisions in a safe and respectful environment.
February 11, 2015