Administration ignores state wishes, sends $395K to Tenn. Planned Parenthood

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Pro-lifers are calling foul at Tennessee Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Grants Management has given Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region $395,000 through its Title X Family Planning Services Program.

According to Cohen’s office, Title X is the only federal grant program with the lone mission of funding family planning services.

“Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region has been helping Memphis and Shelby County residents get the health care they need to lead happier, healthier lives for years,” Cohen said in a statement. “These new federal funds will help ensure the Title X Family Planning Program reaches those who need help the most in underserved communities.”

Pro-life groups say that the Obama administration is blatantly circumventing the state’s 2011 decision to defund Planned Parenthood.

“While we are disappointed that any tax funding would be directed to private organizations promoting and profiting from the killing of unborn children, this end run around the people of Tennessee will serve to underscore the urgent need to elect a pro-life president, Senate and Congress in November,” said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life.

According to the Tennessee Right to Life, however, the $359,000 is still less than the $727,000 Planned Parenthood had been receiving annually. (RELATED: Full coverage of Planned Parenthood)

“From day one of his presidency, Obama has gone to extremes to support Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider,” added Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. “He has refused to yield in the face of Planned Parenthood’s scandals including their exposure as an ally of alleged human traffickers and as willing to turn a blind eye to sex-selective abortion in their clinics. Additionally, it defies reason to send more federal funds to an organization that has been found culpable in the waste, abuse, and potential fraud of millions of taxpayer dollars.”

Harris claims this is more proof that the state needs to be sure a pro-life president is in the White House next year.

“The stakes for pro-life Tennesseans in the upcoming elections have just been heightened,” said Harris. “We’ve done good work here in Tennessee electing pro-life majorities to the Legislature and Congress. But all of that can apparently be undone by a single official unless we have a pro-life president and a pro-life senate solidly committed to defending the weakest and most vulnerable of all.”

The Susan B. Anthony List added that this is the second time the administration has bypassed a state’s decision to not fund Planned Parenthood — the first example being a $1 million contract with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, despite New Hampshire’s initial decision to reject a contract with the group.

LifeNews reported Thursday evening that the $359,000 grant is the first of a three-year award set to total almost $1.2 million.

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