A Tennessee lawmaker proposed a new bill this week to cut off all state funding to the abortion chain Planned Parenthood.
State Rep. Jimmy Matlock announced his plan to draft a bill Tuesday just after Tennessee won a major pro-life victory in federal appeals court.
While Tennessee defunded Planned Parenthood of Title X tax dollars in 2011, Matlock said the abortion chain’s Tennessee branch still receives taxpayer funds. Between 2011 and 2015, he said it used about $108,100 in taxpayer dollars, with about $11,000 of that coming directly from the state, the Tribune News Service and KATU News report.
“A false narrative exists in Tennessee that Planned Parenthood doesn’t receive Tennessee taxpayer dollars,” Matlock said. “Media and professional politicians from both sides of the aisle have reinforced this false narrative time and time again to protect their funding. It is beyond time for Tennessee leaders to show integrity and honesty by putting this to bed once and for all.”
He said his bill would cut off any remaining state tax dollars to Planned Parenthood, which does more abortions than any other group in the United States. The U.S. Department of Justice currently is investigating whether Planned Parenthood illegally sold aborted baby body parts.
Answering claims that Planned Parenthood does not use tax dollars for abortions, Matlock gave this example: “If you give me $108k in tax-payer money and tell me I can’t use it to pay my employees, but everything else is fair game- do you think I care? Absolutely not. I can use that money to pay for my utilities, taxes, product, rent and so on. Guess what? That’s now freed up $108k from my bottom line that can now be used to pay my employees with. … It’s a simple matter of cost-shifting.”
Matlock said he does not see how anyone could oppose his bill.
“I know my Republican colleagues will stand by me and finally codify, once and for all, that Planned Parenthood can receive no taxpayer dollars,” he said. “In addition, because Planned Parenthood and their allies on the left push a narrative that they don’t receive taxpayer dollars to begin with, they shouldn’t have a single bit of opposition to the legislation either.”
Abortion activists plan to try, though. According to the Tribune:
In a statement to the USA TODAY NETWORK — Tennessee, Keri Adams, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle & East Tennessee, said Matlock’s use of the word “defund” shows his lack of understanding about how the health care system works. She said the bill would have a “devastating impact” on the people who rely on Planned Parenthood.
“Planned Parenthood receives reimbursement, just like hospitals and other health care organizations, for providing preventive care services including birth control, breast exams, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment.
“This bill is simply an attack against women,” she continued. “It would prohibit women from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers and take away a person’s ability to see the qualified health care provider of their choice for these sensitive services.”
Following that statement, Matlock said he was “glad to see” that Planned Parenthood and its allies finally are admitting that it does receive taxpayer funds in Tennessee.
His announcement came soon after the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a victory for life in Tennessee. On Tuesday, the federal appeals court upheld a 2014 voter-approved amendment to the state constitution. The amendment reads: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.”
The amendment allows state lawmakers to pass new life-affirming laws that courts previously would have overturned under language in the state constitution.