How Tennessee Funds Planned Parenthood With Your Tax Dollars

Last Wednesday, members of the Tennessee General Assembly investigated Planned Parenthood at a special committee hearing. Legislators wanted to know whether or not any of the state’s abortion providers were guilty of selling fetal tissue for profit. The Tennessee Department of Health informed these legislators that there was no way of knowing whether or not Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers had violated the law. In essence, these organizations could very well be violating federal law right under our nose and no one would know the difference.

Last April, in Tennessee’s House Health Committee, Rep. Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro) asked Planned Parenthood of Tennessee whether or not they received tax-payer funds. One Planned Parenthood representative told Rep. Terry that Middle and East Tennessee Planned Parenthood received no public funds (Hour 2, Minute 17). Another Planned Parenthood representative told Rep. Terry that West Tennessee Planned Parenthood provided no-cost contraception, but never said whether or not they received public funds. Planned Parenthood lied.

As someone who has delivered more than 2,000 baby girls and boys, I am offended by the misleading rhetoric and lies that are designed to keep Tennessee tax-payers in the shadows.

Many legislators also continue to claim that Tennessee does not provide Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers any tax payer dollars. While these legislators likely have the best intentions and are not purposefully trying to mislead their constituents, this claim simply isn’t true.

I have been in close contact with Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) who has been investigating the funding of Planned Parenthood. As it turns out, he has found that over the past 3 years, Planned Parenthood of Tennessee has received at least $108,100 tax-payer dollars. Remember the Planned Parenthood representative that said Middle and East Tennessee received no money? Well, almost $4,000 of that money went to Planned Parenthood’s middle-Tennessee clinic. Some legislators continue to maintain that this is federal money and that the funds cannot be used to provide abortion. That is only partially true.

The state of Tennessee is required to pay 10% of the bill. That means that over the past 3 years, at least $10,800 has been taken directly from the State of Tennessee’s budget, which is funded directly by your tax dollars, and given to Planned Parenthood.  For the remaining $97,200, last time I checked, the federal government is funded by our tax-dollars.

As for the argument that this money cannot be used to provide abortion due to the federal Hyde Amendment and parallel state law because it bans abortion providers from using tax-money to fund abortive procedures, nothing could be more misleading. The Hyde Amendment and similar laws are nothing more than feel-good legislation passed by politicians so they can say they did something. There is no way of enforcing the law. It’s like saying money we send to Iran cannot be used to develop a nuclear bomb because they are only allowed to use the money to pay the light bill on their nuclear facilities. Using tax dollars to pay the rent on an abortion clinic is money being used to provide abortive services. It’s called cost shifting.

Now you know the truth.

A special thank you to Rep. Holt and Rep. Terry for working to educate Tennesseans and telling them the truth about Planned Parenthood.