by Steven Ertelt
June 10, 2007
Nashville, TN (LifeNews.com) — Although they were unsuccessful this legislative session in stopping taxpayer funded abortions in the state’s budget, pro-life advocates in Tennesse say they’re not giving up. They say they will continue to work until Planned Parenthood is no longer given preferential treatment in the budget.
Members of the Senate Finance Committee met last week and failed to limit the amount of state family planning dollars that go to the abortion business.
The $1 million appropriation for Planned Parenthood, was included in pro-abortion Governor Phil Bredesen’s proposed budget for non-abortion family planning services.
Pro-life lawmakers said they will work with leaders of Tennessee Right to Life to remove funding for the abortion facility early in the 2008 session.
"Planned Parenthood has a basic mission for abortion, and I would like to take a look at other organizations that don’t have that as their main mission," said Senator Diane Black, a Republican.
Karen Brukardt, the legislative liaison for the pro-life group, says Planned Parenthood claims that none of its state funding goes to abortion services but "state contracts subsidize every activity of the organization."
She said the state should direct taxpayer dollars to entities that don’t engage in abortions.
"Pro-life members of the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee believe that other organizations which do not provide abortions could contract with the state to provide health services," Brukardt told LifeNews.com.
Though amendments were filed this year by pro-life legislators to defund Planned Parenthood, concerns were raised that, in light of existing contracts, such amendments could ultimately harm chances of taxpayers prevailing against the abortion agency in court.
"With an earlier start in 2008 and the resolve of pro-life leaders in the Legislature, Tennessee Right to Life is confident that Tennessee’s families and taxpayers can be protected from funding agencies which promote abortion," said Brian Harris, president of the organization.
Harris blamed the decision not to defund Planned Parenthood on the pro-abortion governor’s Commissioner of Health, Susan Cooper, who told members it would be impossible to provide federal Title X services without contracting with Planned Parenthood.
But leaders at Tennessee Right to Life note that the money is fungible and state taxpayer dollars that go to the abortion business for other parts of its budget frees up money to do abortions.
One failed pro-life amendment would have limited Planned Parenthood’s contract to six months. A second failed amendment would have required the state health department to begin seeking alternative agencies to provide the "family planning" services.
Related web sites:
Tennessee Right to Life – https://www.tnrtl.org