Tennessee Cuts Planned Parenthood Funding, Passes Pro-Life Bills

State   Steven Ertelt   May 24, 2011   |   5:00PM    Nashville, TN

Following the passage of an amendment that will allow Tennessee residents to vote on whether they want to neutralize a state Supreme Court decision making abortion a legal right, the legislature has moved to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

According to Tennessee Right to Life, 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.”

Meanwhile, TRTL says “several pro-life protections were passed by overwhelming bi-partisan majorities in the final days of the legislative session.”

Rep. Joshua Evans (R-Springfield) and Sen. Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet.) shepherded the passage of a bill to expand Tennessee’s Unborn Victims of Violence Act that extends current state law to include unborn children prior to viability as victims of assault or homicide. The current state law allows prosecutors to charge criminals for both killing or injuring a pregnant mother as well as her unborn child but it would only allow that after viability. The new law allows protection and justice for mother and baby throughout the entirety of pregnancy. The measure passed both chambers of the legislature unanimously.

Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) and Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) sponsored a bill to ban the use of webcam abortions in Tennessee. TRTL says the bill was “brought in response to Planned Parenthood’s aggressive plan for  inducing RU 486 abortions through Internet connections without a physician present.  In Iowa trials more than 2,000 such abortions have already been performed with plans for expanding the practice in “underserved” and rural areas throughout the country.”

That measure was passed in the House 86-6 and in the Senate 29-1.

Finally, a bill that is a resolution honoring the work of pregnancy centers throughout the state that help women with abortion alternatives received support as well. Rep. Jim Gotto (R-Hermitage) sponsored the bill that was approved unanimously.

“Tennessee Right to Life expresses deep appreciation to the courageous prime sponsors of each bill and to each member who cast their votes in support of restoring some measure of protection for Tennessee’s unborn children and abortion-vulnerable mothers,” the group said. “In addition, we are especially grateful to House Speaker Beth Harwell who allowed full consideration and fair treatment and Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey whose sincere and deep commitment to protecting life is evidenced by the priority given these proposals.”