In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal - desperate to make the cut for the prized chance to make the prime-time Fox Not-News prime-time debate - made the political gesture to cut Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood offices in his state.
It's a political gesture because he's made it one:
The move comes despite the fact that the two Planned Parenthood clinics in Louisiana do not provide abortion, which Planned Parenthood confirmed to the state's Department of Health and Hospitals as part of the state's ongoing investigation into claims that the organization is profiting off of aborted fetal tissue donations. A third clinic being built in New Orleans plans to offer abortion, but will not participate in the tissue donation programs, a Planned Parenthood executive told the state.
The "tissue donation program" at issue, by the by, is part of an over-hyped fabricated assault by anti-abortion organizations to discredit and destroy Planned Parenthood (as well as stoke the pro-fetus voting base eager to have their issue treated as top priority). Per the Bob Cesca article in Salon.com:
If you’ve been keeping score at home, you’ll have noticed that not one but two states, including a red state with a paleoconservative governor, have in the past several days exonerated Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing in the so-called secret-video sting that has conservatives calling on Congress to defund the non-profit organization. The appropriate response to this news is, “Of course! Because Planned Parenthood is absolutely not selling fetus parts via some sort of grisly underground marketplace.” For many, especially on the right, no amount of fact-checking will ever be enough...
For Jindal, who couldn't even wait for Louisiana to finish its' investigation that he ordered last month into Planned Parenthood, fact-checking is not the point. The fact that federal aid - of which Medicaid is part - is already blocked from funding abortions is not the point. The point is, Jindal is trying to position himself as a major player in the Republican battlefield for voters' attentions, and if getting even five percent of the pro-fetus crowd into his corner is enough to make the crossing line to make it to Thursday night's panderfest, so be it.
In the process, of course, Jindal is leaving a lot of damage in his wake. Planned Parenthood is one of the few clinics that assist poor women with health care needs across the board, not just birth control but also cancer treatments and more. Statistics point towards around 10 million different people helped at their offices across the U.S. Zander at Balloon Juice is figuring about 700,000 women in Louisiana facing the loss of health care help because of Jindal's pandering move.
While Planned Parenthood only offers abortion as a service to a small degree - roughly 370,000 procedures compared to 4.4 million STD tests or 3.7 million contraception services (which by the by would do great good reducing abortion in the first place) or 1.1 million cancer tests and treatment - the Republican Party is eagerly looking to defund that organization in toto, recklessly ignoring all the other health care services those office provide. Then again, we're talking about a GOP that rails against Obamacare to such a degree any health care positive for poor women and families turns into a red negative deserving of annihilation.
In that regard, Jindal is not even viewing his ban on Planned Parenthood as a risk. He's viewing it already as a win, even if he misses the final cut for prime time. Anything - like all the Republican leaders pandering for primary votes this election cycle - to placate the Far Right crowd across the nation. And to hell with the residents of his own state.