The Louisiana health department has allowed Planned Parenthood to apply for a license to provide abortion services in New Orleans, backtracking on a previous rule that barred the organization from opening a clinic in the city.

In January, under the administration of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) issued a letter to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast refusing to allow its new state of the art clinic in New Orleans to perform abortions on the legal “excuse” that it did not show a need for a new facility to perform abortions in Louisiana. In 2012, Jindal’s administration passed a state law requiring abortion clinics to show that there is need for another clinic before applying for a license. Planned Parenthood challenged this decision, and the Feminist Majority Foundation and New Orleans Abortion Fund released a petition demanding that the DHH recind the regulations.

In a letter released on Friday, it seems the DHH listened. It revoked the requirement that an outpatient abortion facility provide a “facility need review,” clearing the way for Planned Parenthood to open a clinic in Louisiana. The new clinic will be just one of five abortion clinics in the state of Louisiana. The DHH did not provide a reason for the change in regulation.

“Planned Parenthood is now one step closer to providing safe, legal abortion in Louisiana,” said Jewel Bush, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Center for Choice, in a statement.

The new health center that Planned Parenthood intends to license will offer a wide array of health care services, including screenings for cervical cancer, breast cancer, and sexually transmitted diseases and- if its application to the state for a license is successful- abortion care.

Media Resources:  The State 1/16/2015; The New Orleans Advocate 6/22/15

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