Tennessee Sends $75K Anti-Syphilis Grant to Planned Parenthood

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 1, 2011   |   4:31PM   |   Memphis, TN

Planned Parenthood is an abortion business but that isn’t stopping the state of Tennessee from sending it a grant — dedicating $75,000 in federal taxpayer funds the state received to a project meant to combat syphilis in the Memphis area.

WMC-TV 5 indicates 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 the television station, “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.”

But Brian Harris, of Tennessee Right to Life, is 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 successfuly 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.

“Ultimately, Nashville’s public health department agreed to accept all available Title X “family planning” funds for the Davidson County population — thereby diverting funds from the Planned Parenthood affiliate,” Harris explained. “But in Memphis the local health department director, Yvonne Madlock, has refused to similarly rule out disbursing tax dollars to Planned Parenthood of Memphis and, while the state is no longer directly subsidizing the abortion business, the Shelby County Health Department continues to sub-contract with Planned Parenthood on a month-to-month basis.”

Madlock, Harris explained, has specified that bids from the abortion facility will be considered for future contracts for such ‘family planning’ services.

“Tennessee Right to Life continues to call on our pro-life Governor to appoint a new Commissioner of Health who shares his commitment to protecting human life,” Harris told LifeNews.

“As long as a pro-abortion ally fills that key post in state government, Tennesseans are going to continue being forced to fund abortion facilities in our state,” Harris said, referring to Tennessee Commissioner of Health Susan Cooper, who has opposed efforts to divert funds from Planned Parenthood and who is a hold-over from the previous pro-abortion administration of former two-term Governor Phil Bredesen, a Democrat.

ACTION: Contact Governor Bill Haslam at https://www.tn.gov/help and request that he appoint a new Commissioner of Health who will not send taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood.