Press Release from Tennessee Right to Life, Sept. 14, 2011:
The Commercial Appeal reported Wednesday morning that the Shelby County Public Health Department will no longer be contracting with Planned Parenthood’s Memphis affiliate, a decision which effectively ends a decades long practice in which the Tennessee Department of Health automatically awarded federal Title X family planning funds to Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities. Tennessee Right to Life has led the public fight since 2006 to defund the nation’s foremost abortion provider by directing the funds to ethical health care providers instead.
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell stated that the family planning contract will awarded to Christ Community Health Services, a non-profit health service provider which does not perform or refer for abortion. Luttrell said that a six-person team of local health care professionals and members of his administration ranked three proposals and selected Christ Community. The contract must now be approved by the Shelby County Commission, likely within the next several weeks.
The action in Memphis follows similar developments last June when the Nashville Public Health Department announced that it would accept all available Title X family planning funds previously directed to Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee. As a result, no 2011-12 Title X funds were awarded to the Nashville abortion facility either. At stake were grants totaling $1,062,500.00 which would otherwise have been directed to Planned Parenthood.
Both decisions to re-direct funds away from Planned Parenthood affiliates followed intense public outcry when the Tennessee Legislature failed to strip funding for the abortion behemoth. A pro-life amendment to the state budget by Senator Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) was secretly undone when still publicly unidentified legislators inserted their own amendment into the state budget restoring the funding for Planned Parenthood. Governor Haslam acted administratively to identify alternative means of providing the services while fulfilling his campaign commitment to prevent funds from being directed to Planned Parenthood.
Tennessee Right to Life heralded today’s announcement. “Pro-life Tennesseans have proven again what can be positively accomplished for the protection of life when we work together,” said Brian Harris, the group’s president. “Pro-life voters have spoken in a consistent manner over the course of years and their elected officials—councilmen, commissioners, legislators, mayors, congressmen and our Governor—they have all joined the long effort to protect life and Tennessee’s taxpayers. Tennessee Right to Life thanks its members and these pro-life public officials for this long-awaited announcement today.”