Planned Parenthood Sues Tennessee for Cutting Taxpayer Funds

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 3, 2012   |   8:27PM   |   Nashville, TN

The Planned Parenthood abortion business in Tennessee is suing the state for cutting off taxpayer funding for grants totaling $150,000 — in what is the latest case it has filed against state officials.

Last year, Planned Parenthood abortion business lost its battle to keep a $397,000 taxpayer-funded contract in Memphis, Tennessee after pro-life advocates contacted members of the county commission requesting that the grant be given to someone else.  That came after the state decided to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood in other counties.

However, 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 was expected to be able to provide free syphilis testing.

Now, two Planned Parenthood affiliates filed a lawsuit against the state on Thursday for denying more than $150,000 in taxpayer funds to them. According to The Tennessean, “In the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood accuses the state of arbitrarily denying the funding in December and this month — without providing a reason — after approving it in August. Planned Parenthood also accuses the state of violating the organization’s First Amendment rights and patients’ rights by restricting access to non-abortion services based solely on an aversion to abortion.”

The newspaper added:

According to the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee and Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region have participated in HIV and syphilis prevention programs for more than a decade, funded largely by CDC grants. The group said in court documents that last year the two organizations received nearly $150,000 in funding and served more than 15,000 people with prevention, detection and education services.

The suit says that Planned Parenthood applied last year for grants to continue participating in the programs in 2012 and was approved in August. But in December, it received notice from the state that it wouldn’t be allowed to participate in the program and word from a Health Department official that it “would not be approved for other grant funding for which it might apply in the future.”

Jeff Teague, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, told the newspaper, “It was clearly politically motivated. The governor and people in the General Assembly have made no secret of the fact they wanted to defund Planned Parenthood. It’s something that has kind of accelerated over the past three or four years. Planned Parenthood was singled out. We were the only people receiving this funding that were denied this funding. I think it’s pretty obvious this was a political attack on Planned Parenthood.”

Tennessee Right to Life told the newspaper the abortion business is attempting to force the state to fund it.

“This demonstrates that Planned Parenthood is attempting to take by force what the people of Tennessee have decided they no longer wish to give in terms of tax dollars,” said the organization’s president, Brian Harris. “If Planned Parenthood wants to provide these auxiliary services and other important health-care services, then they should requalify themselves by the ceasing of abortions at their facilities.”