Tennessee state Senators strongly supported a bill Thursday to defund Planned Parenthood and other groups that do abortions.
The bill, which passed in a 24-2 vote, would direct the state to request a federal government waiver to completely defund abortion facilities in the state from TennCare, the state Medicaid program, the Tennessean reports. The state House passed the bill earlier this month.
State Sen. Mike Bell defended the bill on the Senate floor.
“We have dozens of other medical clinics,” Bell said. “This is not a cut. It is the policy of the state to favor child birth as an integral part of the health and the welfare of the state.”
House sponsor, state Rep. Jimmy Matlock, previously said he found that Planned Parenthood received about $108,100 in taxpayer dollars, including about $11,000 directly from the state, the Tribune News Service and KATU News report.
However, a U.S. Government Accountability Office report 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 abortion groups in the state.
On Thursday, several Senate Democrats tried to claim the bill would drastically reduce access to health care in Tennessee.
According to the report:
But Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, criticized a part of the measure that would also cut non-abortion health care services provided at some locations where elective abortions are performed.
He and Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis, said that although the bill seeks to prevent abortions, the proposal could lead to more abortions as it could could prevent some women from receiving medical services at their current providers. …
Bell responded that no funds would be eliminated, only redirected.
He said health care providers that would stop receiving funding if the measure passes, could stop proving abortions and not be affected.
Last week, the Tennessee legislature approved another bill that also will help ensure no tax dollars are used to promote or pay for abortions. The measure codifies existing policy established in 2011 by Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration which prioritizes health departments to receive Title X family planning funds rather than Planned Parenthood abortion facilities in the state.
According to Tennessee Right to Life, prior to 2009, Planned Parenthood facilities received preferential treatment in the awarding of more than $1 million tax dollars annually. For decades the funds were automatically directed to Planned Parenthood without any bidding process or request for proposals from other entities. If signed by the governor, SB 2494 /HB 2262 will permanently establish that first priority for distribution of the funds will be given to public health departments, the policy of the Haslam administration since 2011.
The Tennessee Democratic Party just announced the hiring of a new executive director — and it’s none other than the former president of the Planned Parenthood abortion business in the state.
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.