Matlock push to ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood bashed by Democrats

State Rep. Jimmy Matlock, a candidate for the Republican nomination to the 2nd Congressional District seat, has announced a push for passage of legislation to totally “defund” Planned Parenthood in Tennessee, contending there is currently a “false narrative” that no taxpayer dollars support the organization.

Legislative Democrats held a news conference Wednesday to denounce the bill, reports the News Sentinel (with Tennessean input), and a Planned Parenthood spokesperson said the proposal would have a “devastating impact” on preventive care services for women such as birth control and cancer screenings.

Matlock (R-Lenoir City) has posted on his congressional campaign website a press release on the proposal HERE — including a link where supporters can sign a petition to become a “citizen co-sponsor” of the bill. Portions are quoted in the News Sentinel report. An excerpt from the latter:

“Media and professional politicians from both sides of the aisle have reinforced this false narrative time and time again to protect their funding,” he (Matlock) said. “It is beyond time for Tennessee leaders to show integrity and honesty by putting this to bed once and for all.”

Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers in Tennessee have not received these funds, so-called Title X funds, since lawmakers voted to divert them in 2011. Matlock claimed, however, that between 2011-15 Planned Parenthood of Tennessee received nearly $11,000 from the state.

The issue revolves around the fact that Planned Parenthood provides abortions. Though federal funds — including Medicaid — don’t pay for abortions, and haven’t since 1976, some organizations oppose allowing federal (or state) dollars to go to family-planning organizations that also provide abortion services.

…“I know my Republican colleagues will stand by me and finally codify, once and for all, that Planned Parenthood can receive no taxpayer dollars,” he said. “In addition, because Planned Parenthood and their allies on the left push a narrative that they don’t receive taxpayer dollars to begin with, they shouldn’t have a single bit of opposition to the legislation either.”

But in a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Democrats said such a proposed measure would be redundant given the 2011 legislation and would send a negative message to those who support women’s rights issues… Sen. Sara Kyle, D-Memphis, said the bill could be a deterrent to more businesses coming to the state, and Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, said it could result in more abortions as women had less access to contraceptives.

… Keri Adams, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle & East Tennessee, said Matlock’s use of the word “defund” shows his lack of understanding about how the health care system works. She said the bill would have a “devastating impact” on the people who rely on Planned Parenthood.

“Planned Parenthood receives reimbursement, just like hospitals and other health care organizations, for providing preventive care services including birth control, breast exams, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment.

“This bill is simply an attack against women,” she continued. “It would prohibit women from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers and take away a person’s ability to see the qualified health care provider of their choice for these sensitive services.”

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