Funding for Planned Parenthood has been under attack in several states and the agency, along with the Obama administration, is taking legal action to force states to pay for what they term “non-abortion” services.
It is illegal under federal law to use federal funds to pay for abortion services. However, Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers can use federal funds to pay for services such as cancer screenings and birth control pills.
Former Planned Parenthood employees who asked not be identified, say they “routinely” shifted funds so they could be used to pay for abortion services. This has been the primary motivating factor for pro-life legislators at the federal and state level to strip funding to the agency.
Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life, is fighting a battle similar to the one seen in Indiana.
“Tennessee is in a better place in regards to pro-life issues with the executive and legislation branch than we have been in years,” Harris confirmed to The Christian Post. “However, the governor’s decision to hold over the previous pro-abortion Commissioner of Health has presented us with some challenges.”
Besides Indiana and Tennessee, others states such as New Jersey, Kansas and Texas are also waging battles against Planned Parenthood and abortion supporters.
On a national level, abortion rights opponents are using the term “litmus test” to describe Planned Parenthood’s support for public funding, especially when it comes to supporting Republican candidates and even pro-life Democrats.
However, the idea of imposing a “litmus test” for candidates is not well received by some leaders in the Republican Party, many of whom worry that social issues such as abortion will hurt some candidates in marginal districts.
“Most of the conservative candidates in Tennessee run on a pro-life platform and vote accordingly. The challenge is some of the more ‘moderate’ pro-life candidates don’t want to expend political capital on controversial issues like abortion,” said Harris. “I find it interesting this issue has landed back in our governor’s lap since he advocated a pro-life position during his campaign.”
Anti-abortion advocates in Tennessee are urging Governor Bill Haslam to exercise his control over the state’s $30 billion dollar budget and withhold slightly over $1 million in funds to the West Tennessee and Middle Tennessee Planned Parenthood chapters.
These funds are typically administrated through state health agencies on behalf of the federal government. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), a former state legislator in Tennessee, introduced a resolution in Congress earlier this year to strip federal funding from abortion providers.
Rep. Eric Turner, a Republican legislator in Indiana, sponsored and passed HB 1210 that restricted funding to abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood in Indiana. A legal challenge is pending in Indiana to determine if the law can go into effect.
“Most Indiana legislators, be they Republican or Democrat, believe abortion facilities should not receive funding for abortion services. I believe we have the overwhelming support of the citizens of Indiana,” said Turner.
“This comes down to one issue,” Turner asked. “Do states have the right to choose their vendors?”