Gov. Haslam signed into law two bills this week designed to make sure no state tax dollars or certain federal funds administered by the state go to Planned Parenthood and other clinics that perform elective abortions.
The first of the two, HB 2251 by Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City) and SB 2248 by Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville), directs the state to request a waiver from the federal Medicaid office to allow the state to exclude entities that provide elective abortions as providers in TennCare. The second bill, HB 2262 by Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) and SB 2494 by Sen. Jack Johnson (R-Franklin), codified a process utilized by the Haslam administration to prioritize who may receive Title X family planning funds, with local health departments receiving top priority. The process effectively eliminates entities such as Planned Parenthood.
However, the Senate and House overwhelmingly approved, and Gov. Haslam signed into law SB 883/HB 1320 that allows federal funds administered by the state to be used to provide “assistance” to “health clinics that the commissioner of health finds are qualified and willing to perform comprehensive family planning services” so that they can provide “intrauterine devices and birth control implants.”
Hopefully, no commissioner of health will ever consider Planned Parenthood a “qualified and willing” provider of these services, but that remains to be seen.
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