Records show that Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen has some skeletons in his closet concerning ties to Planned Parenthood and advocating for the public to fund Down syndrome abortions.
His comments about and position on abortion have come under scrutiny as he dukes it out with Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn ahead of the 2018 Senate race in Tennessee.
“I am opposed to federal funding of it [abortion], except in the case of danger to the life or medical health of the mother, rape, incest, or children with substantial development deformities such as Down’s syndrome,” Bredesen said in The Nashville Banner in 1987.
The former governor has waffled on his abortion stance a number of times since then. Bredesen served as the governor of Tennessee from 2003 to 2011 and as the mayor of Nashville from 1991 to 1999.
Bredesen changed his mind on the state’s abortion coverage — TennCare — in July 1994, however, after realizing that voters were vitriolic toward his position on public funding for Down syndrome and elective abortions.
“I’ve really come to the conclusion I need to stick with my original position” opposing tax dollars for abortion, Bredesen said at a press conference, according to The Commercial Appeal. A month earlier, however, he told the Nashville Women’s Political Caucus that he would consider altering his stance so that women who couldn’t afford to pay for abortions wouldn’t be denied the service.
Currently, TennCare pays for abortions in cases of rape, incest and when the mother’s life is threatened. Bredesen has not come out with a statement on the public funding of abortion in 2018.
Bredesen also refused to sign a law prohibiting taxpayer dollars from going toward abortion services associated with Obamacare in 2010.
Planned Parenthood endorsed Bredesen for the Tennessee Senate seat in April.
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) April 5, 2018
Tennessee’s Democratic Party also named Jeff Teague — the former CEO Of Planned Parenthood Of Middle And East Tennessee — as the executive director in March. Teague replaced director Jason Freeman who allegedly did not want to give up his position and said he’d been ousted after Teague managed to wrestle the position from his grasp, the Nashville Scene reported. A party insider suggested the move might be an attempt at a campaign takeover, according to the Scene.
The National Right to Life endorsed Bredesen’s competition, Blackburn, for Senate Thursday. President Donald Trump also endorsed Blackburn for U.S. Senate in April. (RELATED: Marsha Blackburn Will Fight For Life In The Senate)
Blackburn has been vocal about her opposition to abortion since the start of her political career. “I am unapologetically #ProLife and will fight planned parenthood every day until hope & opportunity is restored in the lives of unborn children,” Blackburn tweeted Wednesday.
Our nation has long stood against the sale of baby body parts. It was a responsibility to ensure that this horrific practice came to an end. pic.twitter.com/73aIdsEkc9
— Marsha Blackburn (@VoteMarsha) July 19, 2018
She says the government needs to reduce its debt, balance the budget, enforce Trump’s immigration ban and build a wall. Bredesen is running on his ability to work with Democrats and Republicans, balance the state budget and push for new education policies.
Neither Bredesen nor Blackburn responded to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
Tennessee will hold its Senate race on Nov. 6.
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