Tennessee House lawmakers approved a bill Monday to request a federal government waiver to completely defund abortion facilities in the state.
Sponsored by state Rep. Jimmy Matlock, House Bill 2251 would require the state Medicaid program to submit a waiver to the federal government asking that Tennessee not be forced to send tax dollars to groups that do abortions, according to the Tennessean.
The legislation passed in a 71-17 vote Monday, and now heads to the state Senate, the AP reports.
Between 2011 and 2015, Matlock said he found that Planned Parenthood received 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.
However, a U.S. Government Accountability Office report last week found even more. According to the report, Tennessee sent $400,000 taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood in 2014.
Matlock 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.
Here’s more from the AP:
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart said thousands of women could lose access to services. Matlock said they could seek other clinics or doctors for mammogram, prenatal care, birth control and other services.
State and federal law already ban Medicaid abortion funding. Some exceptions include rape, incest or risk of the mother’s death.
Another Tennessee bill moving through the legislature would permanently redirect Title X taxpayer funds away from abortion groups like Planned Parenthood. The bill would codify a measure that Gov. Bill Haslam put in place in 2011.
Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion chain in America, destroying about 320,000 unborn babies’ lives each year. The U.S. Department of Justice currently is investigating whether Planned Parenthood illegally sold aborted baby body parts.