Tennessee Defunds Planned Parenthood

"This will especially hurt women of color.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., waits to speak at a mid-day rally outside the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in support of defunding Planned Parenthood.
Bill Clark / Contributor / Getty Images

Tennessee has done the right thing by defunding abortion conglomerate Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities.

According to Live Action, "Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill this week" and "will now request a federal waiver which allows them to bar TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid program, from giving money to any abortion facility."

“The governor … deferred to the will of the legislature on this bill as amended, and after reviewing the bill in its final form decided to sign the bill into law,” said Jennifer Donnals, Haslam’s press secretary.

When the bill passed the state legislature back in March, Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City) pointed out that the state has effectively given the abortion giant nearly $1 million in just six years.

Funds that were once directed toward abortions will now be given to other health care providers, which obliterates the oft-repeated protests from Planned Parenthood that women will die unless they are given federal funds.

“We have dozens of other medical clinics,” said Sen. Mike Bell, the bill’s sponsor. “This is not a cut. It is the policy of the state to favor childbirth as an integral part of the health and the welfare of the state.”

Any facility can receive its funding again if it agrees to quit providing abortions. “This bill is a statement,” Bell said. “It’s a statement from this legislative body. It’s a statement from the people of Tennessee that we want our money to stop going to providers that perform elective abortions.”

So, what does Planned Parenthood have to say about all this? Let's take a guess: WOMEN ARE GOING TO DIE!

“This hurts patients. It prevents them from seeing a healthcare provider they choose. Specifically, in our area, reproductive healthcare is difficult to access for some people,” said Sarah Wallet, the Medical Director for Planned Parenthood of Greater Memphis. There's a lot of stigma surrounding reproductive healthcare."

Wallet made sure to add this little addendum: "This will especially hurt women of color.”

And everybody knows how much Planned Parenthood just loves their women of color patients.

The group Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood released the following statement:

Tennessee’s Governor Bill Haslam signed HB 2251/SB 2148. Sponsored by Representative Jimmy Matlock (R-Loudon) and Senator Mike Bell (R-Cleveland), the bill threatens access to health care for Planned Parenthood patients who rely on TennCare (Medicaid).

Emboldened by the Trump-Pence agenda, Tennessee politicians are recklessly asking the administration to willfully bend the rules to allow the state to illegally bar patients from Planned Parenthood. If the Trump-Pence administration approves the waiver, TennCare patients could lose access to birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment at Planned Parenthood health centers. This is a legislative overreach to impose personal beliefs on Tennesseans with a disregard for women’s health and patients’ rights.

“This will hurt women, men, and teens in the Memphis region and have a disproportionate impact on women of color,” said Ashley Coffield, CEO of Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region. “Patients rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for providers they can access quickly who specialize in nonjudgmental reproductive health care.”

“Governor Haslam and the General Assembly continue to demonstrate blatant disrespect and dismissal of patients’ rights, which further discriminates against women, people of color, and people with low-incomes. This pushes the harmful and extremist agenda set forth by the Trump-Pence administration,” said Francie Hunt, Executive Director of Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood. “Our state has refused to expand Medicaid, which caused 280,000 Tennesseans to go without health care, and we have the second highest amount of hospital closures in the nation. Now is the time to trust patients and provide them with as many qualified health care options as possible, rather than restrict access and limit providers.”

The signing of this bill comes a few weeks after the 7-2 vote against the Women’s Health Equity Bill HB 2627/SB 2185, which would have proactively required coverage of contraception in a way that enshrined and expanded the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit, and would have required coverage for women's preventive services.

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