Tennessee Defunds Planned Parenthood

Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee signed into law a bill that is intended to stop Planned Parenthood and any other clinic that performs elective abortions in the state from receiving federal money.

HB 2251 and SB 2248 were passed by the state legislature in March and signed by Gov. Haslam on April 11. According to an article on the factn.org website, the new law “directs the state to request a waiver from the federal Medicaid office to allow the state to exclude entities that provide elective abortions as providers in TennCare.” A second bill, HB 2262 and SB 2494, “codified a process utilized by the Haslam administration to prioritize who may receive Title X family planning funds, with local health departments receiving top priority. The process effectively eliminates entities such as Planned Parenthood.” Prior to this second bill, Title X planning funds were automatically directed toward Planned Parenthood, shutting out other clinics.

This is good news! Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the nation. It receives more than half a billion dollars annually from the federal government, in spite of laws that prevent federal money from being used to provide elective abortion. Planned Parenthood’s supporters insist that none of the money they receive from the federal government is used for abortion, but that’s hogwash. Money being fungible, if Planned Parenthood uses its federal funds for services other than abortion, that simply opens up more funds from other sources for abortion. Planned Parenthood’s claim is like saying that the left side of my stomach is reserved for digesting meat, while the right side only digests dairy products. But, everything that goes in the mouth eventually ends up in the same pouch.

Planned Parenthood also claims that defunding them will negatively impact women who need their services, especially poor women and women of color, because it means that there will be fewer healthcare services for these women. However, according to NeedyMeds website, there are 292 free, low cost, or sliding scale clinics in Tennessee. According to Planned Parenthood’s website, there are four Planned Parenthood clinics in Tennessee. Four. So, if Planned Parenthood simply ceased to exist in Tennessee, that would still leave 288 free, low cost, or sliding scale clinics in Tennessee to serve the needs of poor women. These clinics will now receive the federal funds once given to Planned Parenthood. It takes an amazing amount of hubris for Planned Parenthood to claim that they need all of this federal money because its four clinics represent the difference between adequate healthcare and a healthcare crisis for the women of Tennessee.

Finally, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, so far in 2018, Planned Parenthood has already contributed over $110,000 to federal candidates, 96% to Democrats, 0% to Republicans. Why it is not illegal for organizations, especially non-profits, that receive federal funds to contribute money to political elections is beyond me. Churches are tax-exempt and are not permitted to openly support political candidates (though that doesn’t stop some churches from holding political rallies for their favorite candidates, even at Sunday worship service). Perhaps our Senators and Representatives ought to look into that.

Unfortunately, that same factn.org article reports that another law was passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Haslam “allows federal funds administered by the state to be used to provide ‘assistance’ to ‘health clinics that the commissioner of health finds are qualified and willing to perform comprehensive family planning services’ so that they can provide ‘intrauterine devices and birth control implants.'” Unfortunately, these devices and hormonal contraceptives, while primarily aimed toward preventing pregnancies, have a fall back strategy of making the womb inhospitable to implantation for any newly conceived child, thus resulting in an abortion.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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