As North Carolina, Indiana, Kansas and Wisconsin join a growing list of states refusing to fund abortion promoters with tax dollars, the long effort to fully defund Planned Parenthood in Tennessee has been dealt yet another setback.
The Commercial Appeal reported this week that Shelby County officials expect Planned Parenthood of Memphis to continue delivering “family planning” and “health services” on a month-by-month basis.
In contrast, Nashville’s public health department agreed earlier this month to accept all available family planning funds and to provide the required services to targeted populations. As a result, no state funds will flow directly to Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee. 94 of 95 Tennessee counties now accept all available Title X funds from the state Department of Health and provide the required birth control services themselves.
However, Shelby County’s Health Department has refused to end their partnership with Memphis Planned Parenthood and an official with the Shelby health department stated Tuesday that Shelby County might have to “subcontract with outside health providers on a longer-term basis through an open competitive bid process.”
Planned Parenthood Memphis spokeswoman Joan Carr said her agency would agree to continue providing services on a month-by-month basis and would also bid on any subcontracts the county might put out for bid to provide the services. At stake is more than $725,000 of tax funding.
The news comes as a deep disappointment to pro-life supporters who had urged the Tennessee Legislature and Governor Bill Haslam to take the necessary steps to end tax funding for the state’s leading promoter and performer of abortion. An amendment sponsored last session by pro-life state Senator Stacey Campfield requiring that funds be directed solely to public health departments was secretly stripped in a last minute maneuver by legislators who have still not been publicly identified. In response to public outcry at continued public funding for Planned Parenthood and the manner in which the pro-life amendment was gutted, legislative leaders quickly committed to making passage of a permanent funding ban a top priority in January.
“We are coming closer every session to defunding Planned Parenthood of our tax dollars,” said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life.
“Planned Parenthood didn’t integrate itself into public health care programs overnight and it’s going to take resolve by pro-life Tennesseans and their legislators to strip the funding and veneer of respectability that Planned Parenthood has established,” said Harris. “After so many years of political promises, we’re disappointed that funds will continue to flow to an organization that profits from killing unborn children and harming women. Even so, Tennesseans are closer than ever and we won’t give up until this critical goal of defending life by defunding Planned Parenthood has been met.”