Tennessee Governor To Give $100 Million To ‘Crisis Pregnancy Clinics’

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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  • The Governor of Tennessee delivered his State of the State Address on Monday, announcing a $100 million grant for “crisis pregnancy clinics.”
  • This grant program will provide direct counseling services through the clinics, adoption support, assisting new mothers into the workforce and housing these mothers in crisis situations.
  • “Pro-life is much more than defending the lives of the unborn. This is not a matter of politics. This is about human dignity,” the governor said.

Republican Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced his plans Monday to aid “crisis pregnancy clinics,” with $100 million in funds, according to his State of the State speech.

The objective of this investment is to help nonprofits assist families in a “crisis pregnancy” situation, the governor’s address said. The grant intends to better “maternal healthcare” by providing soon-to-be mothers with the resources they need through investing in nonprofits and crisis pregnancy centers, the governor’s office told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“There was a significant shift in this country last year when it comes to protecting the lives of the unborn. We now all have an opportunity and a moral obligation to support strong Tennessee families,” Lee said in his speech.

Lee added that the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives will work with these community programs and nonprofits to get them the resources they need. In fact, last year, Tennessee assisted these centers with ultrasound funding, he said.

“Pro-life is much more than defending the lives of the unborn. This is not a matter of politics. This is about human dignity,” the governor said.

Some of the services that will come from the grant program are direct counseling services through crisis pregnancy centers, adoption support, helping new mothers enter the workforce and housing for mothers in crisis situations, the governor’s office said.

This announcement is no surprise to Democrats in the state, as Tennessee has has some of the strictest abortion laws in the U.S., the AP reported. Democratic Representative Gloria Johnson, who has made critical comments about Tennessee’s abortion laws in the past, told the DCNF that this funding is “typical” of this administration, and called the facilities “propaganda centers.”

“Women deserve factual, medical information about their pregnancies, and not to be shamed and manipulated by people at these centers,” Johnson said.

“We should be using tax dollars to solve problems, and instead, the governor is steering our money to his favorite churches,” Johnson said. “It’s definitely an ideological agenda that he’s using all of Tennessee taxpayer dollars for.” (RELATED: ‘Unsafe And Illegal’: Republican AGs Warn CVS, Walgreens Against Selling Abortion Pills By Mail)

Lee acknowledged last year’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision, and the ability for the states to decide their policy on abortion. After the Dobbs decision, Tennessee updated their already strict abortion bill, to limit exceptions even further, the AP reported.

“In light of the Dobbs decision last year, Tennessee has in place maximum legal protection for unborn children under our law and the opportunity to significantly boost support for mothers, children and families facing a crisis pregnancy, and Gov. Lee is making it a top priority,” the governor’s office told the DCNF.

The Human Life Protection Act, or Trigger Law, states that in the event that a pregnancy is ended, it must have been done by a licensed physician only to save the mother’s life, however it doesn’t explicitly say so.

The physician would have to prove, with evidence, that “the abortion was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman,” according to the law.

This bill sparked controversy among Republican Tennessee Officials, with House Speaker Cameron Sexton stating that the act needs to be updated, as it does not clearly state an exemption for saving the mother’s life, he told the AP. Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally, on the other hand, agrees “wholeheartedly” with Lee’s “pro-life approach,” he told the DCNF.

“Now more than ever, it is important to remember that being pro-life is more than just being anti-abortion. In a post-Dobbs world, it is essential to support mothers in crises and new families in general. Governor Lee and the General Assembly will be doing this in a variety of ways. I wholeheartedly support the direction of state dollars to the crisis pregnancy centers most qualified to help new mothers. I am grateful for Governor Lee’s leadership on [the] issue and support this holistic pro-life approach wholeheartedly,” McNally said.

House Speaker Cameron Sexton did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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