State Rep. Jimmy Matlock Introduces Legislation To Defund Planned Parenthood In State

On Tuesday, Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City) announced he would be introducing legislation to outlaw funding of Planned Parenthood in the state of Tennessee following the federal appeals court decision to uphold the 2014 vote on Amendment 1.

“A false narrative exists in Tennessee that Planned Parenthood doesn’t receive Tennessee tax-payer dollars. Media and professional politicians from both sides of the aisle have reinforced this false narrative time and time again to protect their funding,” said Matlock. “It is beyond time for Tennessee leaders to show integrity and honesty by putting this to bed once and for all.”

In 2011, lawmakers diverted funds directly received by Planned Parenthood through the Tennessee Department of Health. Lawmakers claimed that doing so defunded Planned Parenthood, but Matlock says it’s not true.

“The claim that diverting funds and funneling them through a state department somehow defunds Planned Parenthood is misleading and dishonest,” said Matlock. “Planned Parenthood themselves admitted to still receiving money.”

In 2015, Tennessee State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) led an investigation into Planned Parenthood funding after the organization claimed they received no Tennessee tax-payer money. Holt found that the organization did receive money. Holt discovered that from 2011- 2015, Planned Parenthood of Tennessee received $108,100 tax-payer dollars. Of that amount, just under $11k came directly from Tennessee while the rest came from the federal government. Tennessee Planned Parenthood Executive Director Jeff Teague admitted to receiving the money, saying that the money is for TennCare patients seen at Planned Parenthood’s clinics.

“We tried to stop this in 2015, but were told that we couldn’t because the state would risk losing Title X Medicaid dollars,” said Matlock. “Well, thanks to President Trump signing HJR43 last April, there’s no longer an excuse, and I won’t accept one from a legislature with a Republican supermajority. President Trump has given us the ability to now codify, once and for all, that not a single penny of Tennessee tax-dollars will be given to Planned Parenthood, and I know my Republican colleagues are looking forward to making it happen.”

Supporters of Planned Parenthood point to the federal Hyde Amendment and similar state laws that “ban” Planned Parenthood from using tax dollars to fund abortion. Matlock says the laws are mostly feel good measures that are totally ineffective and only serve to allow legislators a cop-out of actually doing the right thing.

“Look, I’ve been in business for 37 years. If you give me $108k in tax-payer money and tell me I can’t use it to pay my employees, but everything else is fair game- do you think I care? Absolutely not. I can use that money to pay for my utilities, taxes, product, rent and so on. Guess what? That’s now freed up $108k from my bottom line that can now be used to pay my employees with. So, at the end of the day, I’m not having to use $108k of my own profit to pay employees because I got $108k from the tax-payers to cover my expenses. It’s a simple matter of cost-shifting,” said Matlock. “The Hyde Amendment and similar state laws are ineffective. Planned Parenthood still gets tax-payer money and they’re using it to pay the electric bills, or whatever else, and that then allows them greater profit on the murder of innocent children. In Tennessee, it ends this year.”

Matlock doesn’t expect any opposition to the proposed legislation.

“I don’t expect any opposition to this legislation. I know my Republican colleagues will stand by me and finally codify, once and for all, that Planned Parenthood can receive no tax-payer dollars. In addition, because Planned Parenthood and their allies on the left push a narrative that they don’t receive tax-payer dollars to begin with, they shouldn’t have a single bit of opposition to the legislation either.”

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