Senate sends ‘defund Planned Parenthood’ bill to governor

The state Senate Thursday approved and sent to the governor a bill promoted as “defunding” Planned Parenthood. It requires TennCare officials to submit a waiver request to the federal government for ending any payments to “elective abortion providers’ – even if those payments are for health care services other than abortions.

The bill (HB2251, as amended) was approved 24-2 in the Senate with Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville) as sponsor. It was approved by the House 71-17 on March 13 with Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City) as sponsor.

Matlock, who is running for the Republican nomination in the 2nd Congressional District, has actively promoted his role in pushing the bill on his campaign website. Excerpt from a press release there posted after House passage:

“It’s a huge win for Tennessee taxpayers who believe in the sanctity of life,” said Matlock. “For years, I’ve been fighting to defund Planned Parenthood. Today, we’re that much closer, and for that, I’m incredibly grateful to all who’ve stood with me,” said Matlock. “The forced relationship of Christians and Planned Parenthood is about to come to an end.”

The legislation has an amendment that makes an exemption for hospitals performing medically necessary abortions when needed to save the life of the mother.

“I’m very grateful to President Trump’s administration for working closely with my office on this legislation,” said Matlock.

Excerpt from The Tennessean report on Senate passage:

“We have dozens of other medical clinics,” Bell said. “This is not a cut. It is the policy of the state to favor child birth as an integral part of the health and the welfare of the state.”

But Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, criticized a part of the measure that would also cut non-abortion health care services provided at some locations where elective abortions are performed.

He and Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis, said that although the bill seeks to prevent abortions, the proposal could lead to more abortions as it could could prevent some women from receiving medical services at their current providers.

“This bill is trying to make a statement about abortions at the expense of causing other abortions,” Yarbro said.

“This bill does not limit funding for abortion at all,” Harris said. “What this bill does is limit funding for other health care services. Those services would dry up.”

Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, then asked the sponsor to clarify whether the bill would eliminate any funding.

Bell responded that no funds would be eliminated, only redirected.

He said health care providers that would stop receiving funding if the measure passes, could stop providing abortions and not be affected.

“This bill is a statement,” Bell said. “It’s a statement from this legislative body. It’s a statement from the people of Tennessee, that we want our money to stop going to providers that perform elective abortions.”

UPDATE/Note: Only two Democrats voted for the bill, Sen. Reginald Tate of Memphis and Rep. John Mark Windle of Livingston. The Commercial Appeal reports in a follow-up story that Tate got some criticism over his vote, HERE.



9 Responses to Senate sends ‘defund Planned Parenthood’ bill to governor

  • Avatar
    Pamela DeMatteo-Linn says:

    Obviously, these men do not care about the health and welfare of women. I pray the Governor will not sign.

    • Avatar
      Leslie Parsley says:

      Me and thee. These so-called “men” yammering about believing in the sanctity of life is about as low and hypocritical as you can get and on so many levels. It breaks my heart that so many Tennesseans can’t see through this ploy.

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      Brianna says:

      If the Governor doesn’t sign it still passes. We really need him to veto this bill and need to be encouraging everyone to call his office and demand that veto!!

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    Tommy Ray McAnally says:

    Hey, Tennessee didn’t pay for you girls to get pregnant. Why should tax payers pay to get YOU unpregant? Have you girls ever heard of adoption? WOW! Morals,Morals ,Morals.

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      Mark Clemons says:

      Tennessee Taxpayers do pay for the maternal services, the medicaid, the schools, public housing and the increase in juveniles in trouble with the law. This means more police, courts, jails, social workers, and public hospitals that need to be funded. Because these children continue in poverty the cycle starts over and over again. Yea, you don’t pay if these girls get pregnant! You pay through the nose because they got pregnant! By the way who is going to adopt these children? YOU?
      Spend the money on education and birth control, then the desire to get an abortion disappears. Everybody wins

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      bob timmerman says:

      “… unpregant…” told us all anyone would ever need to know about you, sir.

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    David Collins says:

    Yes, Mr. McAnally, this bill is totally moral. That is, if you think it moral to cut off funds so poor women will not be diagnosed with say, cervical cancer or breast cancer because the only clinic they had access to was one of those affected by this legislation. Bell says, “We have dozens of other clinics” but fails to mention (or more likely he doesn’t know and doesn’t care) that these clinics are few and far between and not available to many of the women who would need them. As I have said many times, the Tennessee legislature does not have the Midas touch, they have the fecal touch and they are one of the most despicable collection of people in this state.

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    Eddie White says:

    The majority of Tennesseans are pro-life and our state legislature represents their views. The vote on this bill was not even close. The angry pro-abortion folks need to come to grips with the fact that most people have a strong desire to protect the unborn. As long as these clinics keep practicing abortion services, they will have issues with funding.

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    Aeryn Aulder says:

    Does the bill address pregnancy due to rape or incest?

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