Nebraska and Tennessee Defund Planned Parenthood

Nebraska and Tennessee this month joined more than a dozen states that have cut funding for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood, a pro-life campaign that has seen mixed results.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts approved a budget that prohibits Title X funding from going to abortion providers, directing $1.9 million toward centers that neither refer for nor perform abortions.

Planned Parenthood criticized the move, saying it would “block health care” for at least 8,000 people. But Nebraska Right to Life director Julie Schmit-Albin said the law will prevent “illegal melding of Title X funds to support abortion activities.”

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Use of federal funds to perform abortions or to fund entities that perform abortions is prohibited by federal law, but Planned Parenthood claims it uses its $60 million in Title X funding and $390 million in Medicaid reimbursements for other services. In part because of that claim, many states’ efforts to direct Medicaid or Title X funding away from the abortion giant are tied up in court battles.

Undeterred by those challenges, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed two pieces of legislation that defund Planned Parenthood in different ways.

The first bill codifies an administrative policy from 2011 that prioritizes federally qualified health centers over other facilities, including abortion providers.

Brian Harris, director of Tennessee Right to Life, said the state has 187 federally qualified health centers, and only four Planned Parenthood facilities. The health centers “are far more accessible and offer comprehensive services,” he said.

Tennessee’s policy has directed $1.1 million away from Planned Parenthood every year, without directly targeting the abortion giant.

“The policy doesn’t directly name Planned Parenthood and, legally, they can still compete for the funds,” Harris noted. “But they are a bottom tier contender, and during the last seven years, no Title X funds have been directed by the state of Tennessee to Planned Parenthood facilities anywhere in our state.”

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Source: Baptist Press

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