(Photo: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)
The Obama administration, through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has announced a grant of $395,000 a year for the next three years to Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis.
What has made the grant controversial is the fact that the Tennessee legislature and the Shelby County Commission cut funding to Memphis' Planned Parenthood this past session to the tune of $748,000.
First term GOP Gov. Bill Haslam instead encouraged local public health departments in Memphis and Nashville to accept all available Title X funds, which in essence ended Title X funds for Planned Parenthood facilities in Tennessee when the Shelby County Commission voted to award its Title X funds to Christ Community Health Center, a faith-based organization that does not perform abortions.
The announcement of the grant by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), who has a long record to supporting abortion services, will replace approximately half of those funds for the next three years.
"I support Roe v. Wade, a women's right to choose and believe that health care decision should remain between a patient and their doctor," said Cohen in a written statement. "Despite what some zealots might say, Planned Parenthood does not focus solely on abortions."
Dr. George Flinn, one of the GOP candidates vying to take on Cohen in November, says he is disappointed in Cohen's actions, especially given the fact local leaders had already weighed in on the issue.
"I'm disappointed that Rep. Cohen has found a way to redirect our tax dollars to abortion services after both local and state elected officials had cut funding," Flinn told The Christian Post. "I see the beginning of life each day in my medical practice and I know how precious that unborn life is."
Despite repeated claims by Planned Parenthood that they primarily focus on the basic health needs of underserved women, statistics also show they are the nation's largest abortion provider.
And Memphis and Shelby County may be a prime example of why abortion services and the dollars they produce are critical to their operation.
In 2010, approximately 8,300 abortions were performed in Memphis and Shelby County. Women who live within the county made up about 4,600 of those abortions and around 3,700 women came from neighboring counties and border states.
Also, Memphis, which is over 60 percent African American, has one of the nation's highest rates pregnancies among unwed mothers, most of whom are on public assistance.
Sue Parker is the CEO of Life Choices, a crisis pregnancy and adoption center in Memphis who counsels women on their options. She says uninsured and underinsured women in Memphis and Shelby County now have even more medical services available to them since Christ Community successfully applied for the Title X grants.
"Many of the women who are coming to the health centers at Christ Community have told us they are receiving even better medical care than they did at Planned Parenthood facilities," Parker told CP. "We are excited that these options are available to these women and believe the overall quality of care in Memphis and Shelby County will improve because of what Christ Community is doing."