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Planned Parenthood Sues Tennessee To Restore Grant Funding

Planned Parenthood Sues Tennessee To Restore Grant Funding

One benefit to come from the implosion of the Komen for the Cure brand after its overtly-political decision to defund cancer screening grants to Planned Parenthood is the spotlight focused on the less-direct avenues the hard right is taking to attack access to women’s health care services.

A good example of these back-door efforts to strip Planned Parenthood of funding is going on in Tennessee. This week Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region and Planned Parenthood Middle and East Tennessee sued the Tennessee Department of Health in federal court to restore preventative care funding under the HIV Prevention Services Grant program and the Syphilis Elimination Grant program.

Planned Parenthood won funding for community education and health services work in these programs in August 2011 after a competitive bidding process. In December 2011 those grant contracts were dropped without explanation and without identifying a qualified provider to meed the need left by the elimination of Planned Parenthood from these prevention programs.

While no explanation was given, one was very apparent. A number of Tennessee politicians took up the campaign to strip Planned Parenthood of all funds over abortion. The Republican-led administration then began a plan to “administratively defund” Planned Parenthood by doing things like removing this kinds of grants.

In this case especially the political motives are completely transparent. PPGMR was the first organization in Memphis to begin rapid testing for HIV, and its  HIV “Master Trainers” train more new HIV testers every year than any other agency in the area.  Following a June 2011 site visit, the Department of Health’s HIV Prevention Testing Program Director commended PPGMR’s “dedication to HIV prevention and the community” and stated that he “look[ed] forward to working with Planned Parenthood in the future.”

Similarly, PPMET’s Education and Training department provides STD prevention education through relationships with more than 100 organizations, and is a primary source of training for professionals who educate youth on STD prevention and other issues. In 2011, PPMET exceeded the number of people it proposed to serve with a fixed grant amount by more than 1,000 individuals.

Planned Parenthood is not backing down in the face of this pressure. “We take our commitment to caring for the tens of thousands of Tennesseans who rely on us for a wide range of health care seriously. That is why we are asking the court to stop this politically motivated attack on the patients and community members who count on us,” said Barry Chase, PPGMR’s CEO.  “Planned Parenthood is exceptionally equipped to provide HIV Prevention health care and education to the community, and because of that, we have repeatedly won competitive bids for funding under this critical program.”

The suit challenges the funding decision and argues that Planned Parenthood was kicked out of the HIV and syphilis elimination programs for providing comprehensive women’s health care in violation of Title X and the Constitution and argues the funding needs to be immediately restored.

In 2011, 17,698 women, men and teens relied on Planned Parenthood’s nonprofit health centers in communities throughout Tennessee for a wide range of quality, affordable health care services including annual exams, birth control counseling and care, reproductive cancer screenings, STD prevention and treatment and abortion care. Planned Parenthood clinics and services reaches populations other health clinics do not. It’s time the attacks on poor women and teenagers stop.

Related Stories:

Republicans Threaten Contraception Access World Wide

The New Anti-Choice Movement

Read more: , , , , , ,

Photo from steakpinball via flickr.

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40 comments

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10:45PM PST on Feb 18, 2012

Thanks for the article.

8:01PM PST on Feb 18, 2012

Planned Parenthood has my support.

9:27PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

Even if you were staunchly opposed to abortion, wouldn't you be able to have a nuanced view that maybe funding the only organization with the capacity to make this kind of difference might be worth it. I do not understand how you could be so single-minded that you would sacrifice all of the good work of an organization to destroy it over unrelated functions.

6:27PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

Good, I hope they win!

10:28AM PST on Feb 13, 2012

Evelyn P.
First off Evelyn, no one is forcing you to have an abortion.

“Norma B. God Bless you, and all the others that stand up for the helpless. As a pro-lifer I think if a woman is sexually active she should be responsible for her behavior’

Like using birth control to keep from getting pregnant in the first place. That’s behaving responsibly. Do you stand up for “the helpless” after they’re born, or just when they’re in some other woman’s womb.

10:27AM PST on Feb 13, 2012

LC L
Here's "MAFFA 21" black genocide 21st century, a professional & amazing documentary that is keeping maffa alive. It exposes the agenda of Planned Parenthood, not just for blacks by any means. Population control. You will understand what is going completely.”

Oh blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. If you want to pop babies out like a pezz dispenser knock yourself out. Don’t be telling all women because they are women they “must” have babies.

10:26AM PST on Feb 13, 2012

Portland N.
“Life begins at the moment of conception! So, if one kills that life after conception, then, the individual is committing murder!”

So every month that a women has her cycle and those “fertilized eggs” don’t attach to her uterine wall she’s a murderer?

4:06AM PST on Feb 13, 2012

Thanks for the article.

9:13AM PST on Feb 12, 2012

Cutting HIV prevention in the name of protecting life. Now I've heard it all.

8:25AM PST on Feb 12, 2012

I hope that Planned Parenthood are successful.

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