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Tennessee Gov. Asked to De-Fund Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz

by Steven Ertelt | Nashville, TN | LifeNews.com | 5/27/11 12:59 PM

State

Tennessee lawmakers approved a bill that they thought would de-fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business, but an unnamed legislator has thrown a wrench in the plans and now the governor is getting calls to help.

As LifeNews.com reported, Senate pro-life advocates Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville), Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City), Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge), along with Lt. Gov. Ramsey, got an amendment unanimously approved as part of the state budget that it says “further tightens a 2009 effort by requiring that federal Title X family planning funds shall be used fully by local, county or municipal health departments and that no funds shall be disbursed to private non-profit organizations or agencies.”

The group says the amendment “diverts $1.2 million tax dollars from Planned Parenthood affiliates in Nashville and Memphis.”

But the pro-life amendment was gutted by unknown person(s) who secretly added hostile language as a ‘housekeeping’ amendment elsewhere in the budget.

“In 2009 the Tennessee Legislature overwhelming passed House Bill 1756 / Senate Bill 470 which sought to limit the flow of public Title X tax dollars to private organizations such as Planned Parenthood,” Tennessee Right to Life says. “The legislation accomplished two important goals including removing longtime priority status in the Tennessee Code for Planned Parenthood affiliates in the state and establishing that first priority for the distribution of public funds be given to public health departments rather than private agencies and organizations.”

“Unfortunately more than 1.1 million tax dollars continue to flow each year to the two Planned Parenthood affiliates in our state,” the group said. “Will Tennessee’s Department of Health continue to contract with Planned Parenthood affiliates in our state?”

The pro-life group is urging state residents to “contact Governor Haslam immediately and urge him to use the full authority of his office to eliminate public funding for Planned Parenthood in Tennessee.”

“Please urge Governor Haslam to use every legal tool available to end funding of Planned Parenthood in Tennessee, including instructing his Commissioner of Health, Susan Cooper, to comply with clear legislative intent of Section 78,” the group added.

Campfield is also asking that Governor Haslam use a line-item veto to remove a provision allowing Planned Parenthood funding to remain in place.

The governor, who supports de-funding the abortion business, told the Knoxville newspaper yesterday that “obviously something went wrong in the legislative process, which they need to straighten out themselves” before he considers any action.

“I didn’t even know about the situation until this morning, and I haven’t even thought about the possibility of using a line-item veto,” Haslam said. “The Legislature thought they had passed one thing and then later found out they didn’t. Somewhere there was a disconnect.”

Campfield said earlier that he believed that his amendment had been deliberately sabotaged by legislative staff, according to the newspaper. He contacted Doug Himes, a legislative attorney who handles budget drafting and Himes said  “someone on the House side” had instructed staff to put the overturned amendment back into the budget bill but would not say who did.

ACTION: Contact the governor to urge the problematic language be removed so Planned Parenthood will be de-funded. http://www.tn.gov/