Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee introduced her first bill in the Senate. The proposed law, S. 105, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, is a counterpart to a similar bill introduced in the House of Representatives. The legislation seeks to deny funding to abortion organizations, including Planned Parenthood.
The freshman senator made the announcement in a statement on Twitter.
"Today, I introduced my first bill in the United States Senate, S. 105, the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which strips all abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, of federal funding," she wrote. "Tennesseans and the American people do not want their tax dollars funding abortions. They have made this position clear time and again. Hardworking taxpayers do not want to subsidize the business of abortion providers and entities such as Planned Parenthood."
The Tennessee Star reports that Blackburn introduced her bill last Thursday one day after U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-04) introduced H.R. 217 Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-6).
If passed, the legislation "amends the Public Health Service Act to permit the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) to provide federal family planning grants only to entities that certify that, during the period of the grant, they will not perform abortions or provide funds to entities that perform abortions." It makes exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother. The Senate version would also increase funding for "Community Health Centers" aimed at giving women an alternative to abortion.
The National Right To Life organization praised the bill. NRL Legislative Director Jennifer Popik told LifeNews, "Most Democrats in Congress think Planned Parenthood can do no wrong. Congresswoman Hartzler knows better and we thank her for her leadership in working to defund America’s largest abortion provider."
She added in a statement, "We applaud Senator Blackburn for her long history of protecting unborn children while in the U.S. House and look forward to her continued leadership in the Senate."
Sen. Blackburn has been a strong supporter of Pro-Life causes. During her 2018 campaign, she was endorsed by several Pro-Life organizations, including the Senate Pro-Life Coalition, National Right to Life, the Knox County Pro-Life Network, and the Susan B. Anthony List.
She said at the time, "The first of our rights is the right to life. It is both my duty and honor to protect life, and I am honored to have such a committed group of Tennesseans supporting my campaign for Senate. In the Senate, I will continue to stand for the sanctity of life and the protection of women and unborn children."
She would go on to defeat Democratic former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen in the midterm election, despite Bredesen receiving high-profile endorsements, including by popstar Taylor Swift. Blackburn's victory made her the first female senator elected in the state.
Planned Parenthood and its affiliates receive $543.7 million, nearly 40% of its budget, from federal, state, and local grants paid for by taxpayer dollars.