The Memphis branch of Planned Parenthood received a federal grant that will help offset the loss of state funding last year, reports the Commercial Appeal.
A $395,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will cover a little more than half of the $748,000 in funding that was eliminated last year by lawmakers who oppose abortion.
The federal funding brought a prompt condemnation from the Tennessee Right to Life group. (Note: News release below.)
The grant, which will be distributed annually for the next three years, will be used to provide services to low-income women, said Barry Chase, president of Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region.
“The basic thing that we lost the ability to do was provide low-income women with free birth control and free annual exams. We have had to charge some small minimal amount to women,” Chase said. “We were extremely pleased to know that we will have the opportunity to provide health care for low-income women who will be able to come to us as they have in the past.”
The money eliminated from Planned Parenthood in both Memphis and Nashville last year was part of federal Title 10 funding, which covers birth control counseling, drugs and devices, and health services such as testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and screenings for breast and cervical cancer.
That funding does not include abortion, nor will the new grant, Chase said.
Compounding Planned Parenthood’s recent troubles, the Shelby County Commission also voted last year to award a $397,900 contract to provide family planning services for low-income people to Christ Community Health Services. Some commissioners expressed concern over abortion, leading to their vote to bypass Planned Parenthood for the grant.
While this grant will not fully replace the money lost, Chase hopes private fundraising will help offset the difference.
“This is not good for Planned Parenthood. This is good for the women and teens in Shelby County,” Chase said.
News release from Tennessee Right to Life:
In opposition to the majority of Tennesseans who do not support public funding for Planned Parenthood, radically pro-abortion Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) has announced the awarding of federal tax dollars to the Memphis Planned Parenthood abortion facility. “These new federal funds will help ensure the Title X Family Planning Program reaches those who need help the most in underserved communities,” Cohen said. Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region will receive $395,000 in tax payer funding through the Title X (ten) “family planning” program administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Still, the federal grant represents a significant decrease in tax funding received previously which amounted to more than $727,000 annually according to Tennessee Right to Life, the state’s leading pro-life organization which led efforts to defund the abortion giant in Tennessee.
“While we are disappointed that any tax funding would be directed to private organizations promoting and profiting from the killing of unborn children, this end run around the people of Tennessee will serve to underscore the urgent need to elect a pro-life president, Senate and Congress in November,” said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life.
The federal action comes following successful efforts by pro-life Governor Bill Haslam and the Tennessee Legislature to redirect public health funds in Tennessee to ethical providers in Memphis and Nashville which do not promote, perform or profit from the killing of unborn children.
In 2011, state legislators passed a budget which was believed to have effectively defunded Planned Parenthood. Following the Legislature’s adjournment it was discovered that pro-abortion language had also been included which nullified the effort to remove funding.
In response, the Haslam Administration took action to direct available Title X funds to public health departments in both Davidson and Shelby counties where required family planning services were already being provided. Neither Davidson nor Shelby county health departments perform abortion.
“The stakes for pro-life Tennesseans in the upcoming elections have just been heightened,” said Harris. “We’ve done good work here in Tennessee electing pro-life majorities to the Legislature and Congress. But all of that can apparently be undone by a single official unless we have a pro-life president and a pro-life senate solidly committed to defending the weakest and most vulnerable of all.”