Pro-life advocates in Tennessee can breathe a sigh of relief, now that their years-long battle to defund Planned Parenthood in the state has reached its conclusion.
Late last month, Shelby County, the final county in the state where Planned Parenthood was still receiving taxpayer dollars, announced that it was awarding a nearly $400,000 contract to Christ Community Health Services (CCHS), instead of Planned Parenthood. This is reportedly the first time in 35 years where Planned Parenthood has not received the contract in the county.
Two years ago, the state’s General Assembly had passed a law handing over family planning responsibilities to county health departments. However, two counties, Shelby and Davidson Counties, had continued to contract with Planned Parenthood.
Davidson County stopped the funding earlier this year. The decision by Shelby County means that 95 out of 95 counties in Tennessee are now no longer funding the abortion giant.
“Without question, lives will be improved, changed and saved as a result of directing these tax dollars away from Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities in Memphis and Nashville,” said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life. “At risk women and families will now have the opportunity to receive quality care from ethical providers whose underlying goal is not to sell an abortion.”
Tennessee pro-lifers had spent three weeks on the edge of their seats, after the final decision on whether to defund Planned Parenthood in Shelby County was delayed in late September after the organization filed an appeal.
But despite fears that Planned Parenthood would find a way to protect its funding, the Shelby County Commission voted 9-4 on October 17 to award the contract to CCHS, saying that Planned Parenthood’s appeal was without merit.
Planned Parenthood expressed its disappointment in a statement. “This decision is not in the best interest of the women and families of Shelby County and was the result of state and local political pandering,” they said. “It is unfortunate that politics trumped people’s needs.”
The abortion organization said it is exploring a “number of options” to respond, including legal action.