Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed two new laws this week to ensure that no state tax dollars go to Planned Parenthood and other groups that do abortions.
One of the new laws (HB 2251) directs the state to request a federal government waiver to completely defund abortion facilities from the taxpayer-funded TennCare, the state Medicaid program. The legislature passed the bill in March.
The second law (SB 2494 / HB 2262) codifies existing policy established in 2011 by the Haslam administration, which prioritizes health departments to receive Title X family planning funds rather than Planned Parenthood abortion facilities in the state.
Haslam press secretary Jennifer Donnals confirmed to the Times Free Press that he signed the legislation.
“Tennessee Right to Life is grateful to Governor Haslam for his legacy of restoring common sense protections for Tennessee’s women, girls, and unborn children,” said Brian Harris, the organization president. “The governor ran for office as a sincere pro-life candidate and has consistently demonstrated that commitment throughout his two terms.”
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. The legislation 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.
Americans United for Life President Catherine Glenn Foster also praised Haslam, saying the legislation will allow Tennessee to focus on true, comprehensive health care for low-income families.
“… this legislation prioritizes the funding of comprehensive healthcare facilities that can help women address a broad array of health issues that Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers are not equipped to handle,” Foster said.
Here’s more from the local news:
Rep. Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City, who carried (HB 2251), charged during debate that nearly $1 million has been paid to abortion clinics here through TennCare in the past six years.
While the money doesn’t go directly toward providing abortions, Matlock acknowledged, he argued it does go to clinics that provide that service and thus “is a form of supporting abortions.”
A recent national report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that a total of $40,000 in indirect funding went to Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee in fiscal years 2013, 2014 and 2015 combined. All of that was in 2014.
Matlock and other abortion opponents say any funding should go to the state’s 95 county health departments and other nonprofit providers, which can provide non-abortion related health services.
In another interesting development, 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.