6/11, 8:35a: Shelby County (Memphis area) remains the last Planned Parenthood stronghold for the time being. Per the Memphis Flyer:
Though the Memphis and Shelby County Health Department had been under stout pressure from state government to assume the full burden of conducting family planning services via Title X federal funds, local Health Department director Yvonne Madlock (pictured right) has managed to extend a Friday deadline for responding on the matter until sometime next week….
As she has before, Madlock maintains that the county Health Department, by itself, “does not have the current capacity” to serve the sizable target population of lower-income women and families in need of family planning services….
Madlock said that her Department in its search for such partners “would not include or exclude” Planned Parenthood….
Only two counties, Davidson and Shelby, which contained Tennessee’s two largest cities, Nashville and Memphis respectively, contracted with Planned Parenthoods for Title X services totaling $1.1 million.
Today Tennessee moved one big step closer to completely severing ties with Planned Parenthood when Davidson County announced it would begin providing all Title X services for its population area, according to a story in the Tennessee Journal, a news source available by subscription only.
This leaves Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee high and dry. According to The Tennessean, “The Nashville chapter was slated to receive about $335,000 in federal money next year, or 10% of its budget,” which it now will not.
Meanwhile, “Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region was expecting about $750,000, about 25% of its budget,” the paper continued, which may not happen. A press release from Lieutenant Gov. Ron Ramsey today stated, “Shelby County is also expected to begin the process of transitioning away from its Planned Parenthood contract,” although my sources at Tennessee Right to Life tell me that’s not a done deal. Shelby County health department officials are saying they need more money to handle the load. They had until today to respond to the state health department.
Tennessee’s plan to defund PP differs from Indiana’s in that it has merely instructed its county health departments to directly provide Title X family planning care without specifically mentioning Planned Parenthood.
How all this suddenly came down, according to The Tennessean:
Abortion foes came close to shutting down the federal grants to Planned Parenthood in Tennessee during the budget debate last month.
State Sen. Stacey Campfield… added an amendment to the state appropriations bill that would have shifted PP’s grants to state and local health agencies.
But another provision was quietly inserted into the appropriations bill hours before the bill was passed by the legislature. The provision negated Campfield’s amendment. More than two weeks later, no state lawmaker has claimed responsibility for the change.
The backdoor dealings have outraged anti-abortion activists. TRL has called on its members to ask Haslam “to use every legal tool available to end funding of PP in Tennessee.”
Which he has apparently done. Excellent.