Image Credit: Dwain Currier, American Life League / CC
The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
Federal funding previously lost by the state will be returned, but it is not headed to the state health department. Instead, that money will be funneled through Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi.
In April, an audit showed that medical providers in Tennessee did not meet federal guidelines regarding “reproductive healthcare” information, and federal Title X funding was taken from the state. Federal regulations require that providers provide information on all options, including abortion, when counseling patients.
The state argued that they were in the right for only counseling patients on the options that were legal in Tennessee and that they did not have to discuss options that are legal elsewhere in the country.
After the federal funding was stripped, Governor Bill Lee proposed a budget amendment of $7.5 million in recurring funding, along with another $1.8 million in non-recurring funding, to supplement this fiscal year.
Funds are now returning to the state, but they are being directed to Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi. This will be done through the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, an affiliate.
The group will be able to pay Planned Parenthood directly for services as a subgrantee.
As reported by The Commercial Appeal, this is not the first time that the federal government has bypassed the state health department and given money directly to nonprofit organizations that provide care to patients. In April, $4 million in federal funds to be used for HIV prevention and treatment in Tennessee was given directly to Planned Parenthood in that case as well.
While Title X funding is not used to cover abortion costs, they do cover family planning education regarding birth control, pregnancy planning, and infertility services. To qualify for this funding, state service providers must give patients information on all available options.
Another $3.9 million will be given to Converge, Inc, an organization based in Mississippi that focuses on reproductive healthcare in the South. They will also be able to make payments directly to Planned Parenthood.