The last county in Tennessee to provide taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood has chosen to send its state family planning grant money elsewhere — making it so the abortion business has been almost totally de-funded.
Shelby County Health Department director Yvonne Madlock announced on Tuesday that, after significant lobbying from pro-life advocates, another recipient has been chosen to receive almost $400,000 in taxpayer funds to promote family planning efforts. Tennessee Right to Life and other pro-life groups have been pushing for the county to revoke funding because Planned Parenthood is an abortion business.
“The bid was awarded, and it was not Planned Parenthood,” Madlock said, telling the Commercial Appeal newspaper that Christ Community Health Services will receive the $397,000 contract as long as the County Commission signed off on the decision. The newspaper indicates Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell expects the county board to vote by the end of the month on making the change.
The money comes from the Title X family planning grants states are given by the federal government and Davidson County, the location of Nashville, made the decision earlier this year to move the recipient of its funding elsewhere from the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Because Shelby County was the lone holdout, pro-life advocates focused their efforts on persuading the county government to de-fund Planned Parenthood.
“A number of organizations and entities and individuals have expressed dissatisfaction with this,” Madlock acknowledged yesterday.
Luttrell told the newspaper that politics did not enter into the de-funding decision and that a board of six qualified medical professionals recommended the change.
“I can only speak for the process that we followed, and if you don’t follow that process to the letter, then you’re open for second-guessing and protests,” Luttrell said. “I make it very clear to our people that we follow the strictest guidelines so what we do can stand the strictest of scrutiny.”
Brian Harris of Tennessee Right to Life told LifeNews he is delighted by the decision.
“Pro-life Tennesseans have proven again today what can be positively accomplished for the protection of human life when we work together,” he said. “Pro-life voters have spoken in a consistent manner over the course of years and their elected officials–councilmen, commissioners, legislators, mayors, congressmen and our Governor—they have all joined the long effort to protect life and Tennessee’s taxpayers. Tennessee Right to Life thanks them all for this good news today.”
Despite the decision, the Planned Parenthood abortion business is still receiving taxpayer dollars from the state of Tennessee.
As LifeNews reported earlier this month, the Tennessee Department of Health gave Parenthood Greater Memphis Region (PPGMR) a grant to combat syphilis in Shelby County that allows Planned Parenthood to prop itself up by adding legitimate medical services to its abortion business. PPGGMR will able to provide free syphilis testing starting next month at its 2430 Poplar Avenue facility.
The Centers for Disease Control chose the county as a target area because of high rates of the disease as it ranked fifteenth in the United States for syphilis rates and WMC-TV indicates “Shelby County has the highest number of newly-diagnosed syphilis cases in Tennessee, and the infection rate for all stages of syphilis is five times higher in Shelby County than in the U.S. overall.”
PPGMR CEO Barry Chase told WMC-TV 5: “The syphilis elimination project dovetails well with PPGMR’s community HIV testing and prevention counseling program. Thousands of Mid-South women and teens rely on Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region for preventive and reproductive health care. This is another way we can serve vulnerable and at-risk populations who may have nowhere else to turn for health care.”
Harris was disappointed the abortion business received a grant that should have gone to a legitimate medical provider that can better treat potential patients and be free of the ethical concerns of having Tennesseans fund the nation’s biggest abortion business with its tax dollars.
Harris’ group worked to eliminate taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood and successfully won legislative approval of a provision to do so, but someone in the legislature secretly removed it from the final bill that Governor Bill Haslam eventually signed. In response, Tennessee Right to Life called on Haslam to keep his campaign promise not to fund Planned Parenthood if elected to office.