NEW ORLEANS - Gov. Bobby Jindal is launching a state investigation into allegations against Planned Parenthood, adding to the investigations opened by a congressional committee and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
It comes after a viral video raised serious questions about whether Planned Parenthood is breaking the law when it donates fetal body parts to science after abortions.
In a video posted to his Facebook page, Jindal said, "I just watched this Planned Parenthood video. Disgusting. Every human life is sacred. We need to protect human life."
Jindal is the latest GOP presidential candidate to take aim at Planned Parenthood after a controversial video sparked new outrage over possible illegal practices.
The anti-abortion group that released the video claims the undercover footage shows a top Planned Parenthood official describing how Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of aborted fetuses for a profit and uses partial-birth abortions to supply intact body parts, both of which are illegal under federal law.
In the video, Planned Parenthood's Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, is heard saying, "We've been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that."
Nucatola goes on to say, "So I'm not gonna crush that part, I'm gonna basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above and I'm gonna see if I can get it all intact."
"If something illegal is happening, it needs to be stopped and we need to make sure it never happens at this facility," said Benjamin Clapper, the executive director for the Louisiana Right to Life Federation.
After the video went viral, local protesters lined up outside the new abortion clinic Planned Parenthood is building in New Orleans.
"It makes me concerned that the intent originally was not on behalf of that woman, but was for profit in selling fetal parts," said Cindy Collins, with the group Louisiana Abortion Recovery.
"Planned Parenthood, once again, has shown us the extent of deception and lies they will use," added pro-life Tulane student Meagan Magaldi.
Local pro-life groups praised Jindal for launching a state investigation with the FBI and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
"Whether they are profiting, so to speak, I think that is going to be up to the investigation to determine," Clapper said. "Louisiana, before they give a license for Planned Parenthood to operate here, they need to know these facts. They need to know what is happening, and is it dangerous to mothers and babies in our state?"
In a statement, Planned Parenthood said, "These outrageous claims are flat-out untrue."
Planned Parenthood's Louisiana State Director, Melissa Flournoy, also released this statement in response to the allegations:
"Planned Parenthood has been providing high-quality, affordable health care to the people of Louisiana for 30 years. We are committed to completing our new health center in New Orleans and providing the full range of reproductive health care this community overwhelmingly supports and needs such as lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and treatment, HIV screening; and safe, legal abortion. Make no mistake: This health center will open, and Planned Parenthood will do everything we can to provide care for the women and men of Louisiana who rely on us.
"Too many Louisianans are already going without access to health care and New Orleans, in particular, does not have enough health care providers to meet the clear and dire needs of this community. According to a recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control study, 22 Louisiana residents have died from syphilis from 2001 to 2010. To have Louisianans dying from preventable and treatable sexually transmitted diseases (STI's) such as syphilis is deeply troubling to public health in the state. New Orleans has some of the country's highest rates of HIV transmission, sexually transmitted infections, and unintended pregnancy. Louisiana has a 58% unintended pregnancy rate and a teen birth rate that is soaring while other states are experiencing declines in teen pregnancy and teen births.
"The focus of Planned Parenthood's work in New Orleans for the past 31 years has been to improve the health of the people of New Orleans by providing high-quality, affordable health care and age-appropriate, medically accurate sexually health education and information. We believe that people of this community and across Louisiana deserve access to preventive care, including access to contraception and accurate sexual health information."