POSTED: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 5:00pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 6:11pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Planned Parenthood sees about 9,000 patients in the state of Louisiana every year. Right now it only provides preventative services and testing, but when its new facility in New Orleans opens, it will be able to start performing abortions.
Lawmakers are taking steps to stop Medicaid dollars to the healthcare provider when that starts.
Dr Holley Galland sees a slew of Medicaid patients every day; patients she said need to turn to places like Planned Parenthood for wellness exams and STD testing.
"I had patients at Earl K. Long who, I didn't know how they kept themselves together, I don't know how they filled the refrigerator. But they were able to get healthcare. When I ask, I hear that our services are being used, that the services of Planned Parenthood are being used," explained Dr. Galland.
Two new legislative resolutions recommend taking away the one million Medicaid dollars Planned Parenthood gets every year. Lawmakers have said they want to stop that money before the clinic starts offering abortion services in their newly expanded New Orleans offices.
"Planned Parenthood is the leading provider of abortions in America. They do not provide abortions right now in the state of Louisiana and we're glad of that," said Representative Frank Hoffman to the House Health and Welfare Committee.
"A firewall should be between abortion and government dollars. We believe that any organization or any entity that is performing abortion services should not also receive government funds, even if those funds are tagged for another purpose," added Ben Clapper with Louisiana Right to Life.
Medicaid dollars can not by law be used toward abortion services. Those on the side of Planned Parenthood say stopping the dollars means stopping healthcare for people who need it and can’t get it anywhere else.
"We don't need to be fighting issues, legislation that will restrict us further. What we need to be doing is increasing access to healthcare," Dr. Galland.
These twin resolutions have almost made it through the legislative process; while they don't carry any weight of law legislators strongly recommend those with the power to de-fund Planned Parenthood take action on the issue.