Tennessee is Defunding Planned Parenthood

The news came out late this afternoon, straight from Ron Ramsey, followed up shortly by coverage at In Session.

Yes, people, fucking Ron Ramsey is bragging about this, but on a Friday afternoon. I don’t know what to make of it.

Please someone tell me a.) there are grounds for a lawsuit; b.) Ramsey is scheduled to come back in his next life as a woman in Tennessee; and c.) that the Governor finds it the least bit strange that Ron Ramsey is running around like he runs the state, making public statements and such.

How does a man have time to dick over poor people AND poison the environment and ruin mountains at the same time? I’ll say this for Dictator-for-Life Ramsey, he’s energetic.

27 thoughts on “Tennessee is Defunding Planned Parenthood

  1. I don’ t live in Tennessee, Aunt B., but my spouse and I look forward to visiting there soon as life-long country music fans. I do read your posts about your local political scene with mild amusement. I am sorry to hear about funding cut to Planned Parenthood.

    However, the federal deficit is $14.4 trillion, and growing fast. The unfortunate brutal reality is that tax revenue is decreasing everywhere, so goes the inevitable funding cuts. Yes, it’s painful. However, if an organization is incapable, or unwilling to make the hard fiscal choices in response to changing economic circumstances, then the decisions will be made top-down for them by politicians, who are elected by an increasingly unhappy taxpaying public.

  2. That people (other than rabid anti-choicers who willfully ignore the fact) can’t grasp that a lack of family planning services leads to higher healthcare costs for EVERYONE still astounds me.

  3. I just can’t even come up with a coherent response to this right now. Didn’t the local health department already say they couldn’t handle the caseload? If I’m reading the letter correctly, they’re accepting the money on the condition that they don’t have to serve the same number of people currently served, although they’re “confident” that they can eventually get back up to that number.

  4. Pingback: Tennessee’s Version of Defunding Planned Parenthood, or Why Fewer Nashville Women Will Be Able to Access Family Planning Services « Women's Health News

  5. Adam, you clearly don’t understand Title X family planning funding or the situation in Tennessee. The federal government is mandated by law to provide certain preventive health care to women of reproductive age who have incomes below the federal poverty line. This mandate is called Title X (10) of the federal public health act. The mandated care includes annual gynecological exams, testing and treatment of STDs, screening for cervical & breast cancer and birth control, if the woman is sexually active and requests it. Title X of the public health act allocates funding to health care providers to provide that care. From the time Title X was passed in 1970, Planned Parenthood health centers have received some of that funding in many states. That’s because Planned Parenthood already had an extensive network of birth control clinics that were already providing those very services. This all started years before abortion was legalized in America. At that time Planned Parenthood only provided birth control, education and related health care.

    The Roe v. Wade decision came down in 1973. At that time, some Planned Parenthood clinics began offering abortion services. Since abortion is a relatively simple surgery that most any trained gynecologist can perform, and is a part of mainstream gynecological care, it seemed to be a good fit with PP’s other services. But the anti-abortion movement began a PR campaign to convince the general public and elected officials that providing abortions and Title X services under the same roof or by the same organization is somehow a conflict of interest.

    Then the Hyde Amendment came down in 1976. That prohibits any federal funding to pay for abortion except in the rare cases of rape, incest and where the mother’s life is endangered. The anti-Planned Parenthood movement seized on the idea that Planned Parenthood is taking Title X funding and using it to pay for abortions. That would be illegal!!! But that argument is patently ridiculous because Title X funding doesn’t pay the full cost of the preventative services and birth control that providers are required to cover. There is no money left over to pay for abortion or anything else. That’s why some county health departments in Tennessee are actively resisting accepting more of the Title X funding. It would also obligate them to assume the costs of the program that they are currently sharing with Planned Parenthood. If the Title X funding was simply free money with no strings attached, don’t you think government agencies would be scrambling for more of it, instead of less?

    Preventing an unwanted pregnancy is a damn sight cheaper than providing prenatal care, labor & delivery, newborn care, financial assistance, nutrition assistance and other aid to the mother and child. Every dollar spent on family planning services in Tennessee saves the state $6.37 that would have been spent on caring for poor mothers and babies. The state is mandated to provide that care to poor pregnant women and new mothers. It can’t just back out of that obligation. That means that unwanted pregnancies are a big financial burden on the state. Birth control costs the government a little money on the front end, but pays for itself many times over. Also, remember, Title X funding is federal money. No Tennessee revenue is involved. So, Tennessee can use federal family planning funding to save itself millions of dollars that it is otherwise obligated to pay for the care of pregnant women and newborns. Whether Planned Parenthood or local health departments provide Title X services, it’s a free windfall for Tennessee taxpayers. What’s not to like?

    Adam, by falling for the “we’re broke” argument, you are playing into the hands of the reactionaries who don’t want birth control to be available to anybody, especially not to poor women. Birth control puts women in charge of their own destinies and allows them to finish school, go to college, delay marriage and compete in the labor market with men… Ah, wait a minute! That’s what it’s really about! It’s about keeping poor women barefoot and pregnant so they cannot improve their lives, live independently, and compete with men for jobs. I dare you to prove me wrong.

  6. Vvixen:

    I completely understand, and also appreciate your efforts to provide some insight. However, we all need to grasp the grim grim reality of what’s happening economically. We can talk about laws, and supreme court decision all day long, but we’re collectively on a down hill slide. Frankly. we’ve spent, borrowed, and spent to the point that our great grandchildren will be paying the bill for the lifestyles we’ve been living. I truly wish the circumstance were different, but we’re in a deep hole, and will take an awfully long time to pull ourselves out. I wish it were better news, but much deeper cuts are coming, and it’s going to be real painful to get through.

  7. “spent to the point that our great grandchildren will be paying the bill” – hey, well at least there will be more of them, since women’s access to family planning services, including birth control, will be cut.

  8. Adam, I guess now is the time that we can clarify and discuss priorities. Since you are not advocating the absolute end of government (just deeper cuts), what do you think is absolutely mandatory to fund? Why? In an era of hard choices, everything should be on the table. We know, of course, that this is never true — but in bringing that to mind, it’s going to become a little easier to see the differing ideals about what government is for. Those who think government is there to provide police order and little more find PP easy to lop. Those who favor a government that improves the health, welfare, and economy of Tennessee will hesitate to label it superfluous.

  9. Am I missing something or is Adam? It sounds to me like arguing about whether we can afford the services or not is completely irrelevant, because we’re not going to spend one less dime than we are now, we’re just going to help fewer people with the money we’re spending.

  10. This is happening in Indiana too, and the showdown is between the state and the feds. If the state goes through with it, the feds have the right to withhold all Medicaid money from the state because it is unconstitutional for the state to pick and choose which healthcare providers receive federal money (?). I think. I’m no expert.

    But the real tragedy that a lot of folks don’t realize is that women frequently use a OBGYN as a primary care provider, and PP serves as the primary care provider for many non-insured and low-income women. In Indiana, 20,000 women are about to lose their primary care provider. When I was uninsured I used PP for primary care, and the woman that took care of me did the same as any other nurse (breast exams, birth control, pap smears, STD tests, general exams) for almost ten years.

  11. Yeah, Jennifer’s right. Adam’s comments really make no sense. The money isn’t going away. They’re just taking it from Planned Parenthood and forcing it upon the health department.

    Adam, I have let you and the other folks from Boomerama comment here because I’m not quite convinced you’re just being paid to spam my site, but if y’all can’t actually hold up your end of the conversation, but just spout platitudes, I’m going to report you as spam.

    Lauren, it’s a complete clusterfuck here and I can’t find anyone who knows for sure what’s going on. There’s some sense here that we’re not in Indiana’s position either because the services are being moved to metro or because our Planned Parenthood didn’t ask for the funds this year anyway. But then, that letter from metro sure seems to indicate they don’t think they can immediately serve all of the same constituents and I know, even if Nashville’s Planned Parenthood didn’t want funds, Memphis’s still does and Memphis is under tremendous pressure from the state to take those funds in-house. I don’t know if that will be actionable, should that happen.

    And, yes, exactly what you’re saying. This is a lot of women’s primary care provider that the state is cutting off at the knees.

    Women will suffer because of this. And, frankly, I’m starting to think that’s the point.

  12. Aunt B:

    I’m just a follower of your blog who decided to participate in the conversation on this post, by relaying the grave financial situation facing all of us with a $14.4 trillion dollar national debt, which is growing fast, and we cannot sustain indefinitely. I have my own blog, and I post often. Thus, this is not spam. You and others are always welcome to peruse and comment on my posts, if you would like. I don’t have all the answers, but look forward to continuing to follow you blog, because I enjoy the interesting information.

  13. If you’re not spam, then stay on topic. The national debt has nothing to do with defunding Planned Parenthood in Tennessee. The money isn’t going away. it’s just being moved around.

  14. Pingback: vibinc » Blog Archive » Here’s One Government Program Republicans Don’t Want to Privatize

  15. Betsy, sorry if it’s off topic but I’d bet that Adam would scream bloody murder if massive cuts(or cuts of any size) to our Imperial budget were cut by our total exit from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Columbia, Panama, Korea, Japan and the EU.

    Is Adam the teeniest bit angry that the State Dept spends 6 Billion annually just on Iraq. Not Defense–State.

    I’d much rather Ramsey come back an illiterate peasant in a country which still practices female circumcision.

  16. Re: Kosh iii
    I’m not angry, but am very concerned about the growing debt. The feds, states, counties and local government are all broke. It’s ugly. Every public entity is clamoring to keep their current funding levels, or want more. Do the math people. You’ll discover that things are tough all over.

    Re: Aunt B.
    I am on topic. Everyone is fighting over dwindling funds. If money is moved to fund something else, it’s only a matter of time until there’s another shift. Politics sucks.

  17. Adam you’re still missing the point of what’s actually going on here. NO ONE is fighting over these funds. TN politicians are FORCING these funds onto county health departments who *don’t want them*, because they know they can’t handle the caseloads.

    In other words, the public run programs are not as efficient as the privately run Planned Parenthood, and so Memphis and Nashville have chosen to outsource these services to PP, but now conservatives won’t let them for no better reason than because they find PP icky.

  18. I am a pro-life Libertarian.

    And I think defunding Planned Parenthood is the dumbest move we can make right now.

    For crying out loud. Abortion is a tiny fraction of the services offered by PP. Others above have already outlined the numerous other ways in which medical services from PP serve the community and save us all money in the long run.

    I will say, though, that it makes me feel a little squicky to talk about how much money abortion will save by eliminating future persons. I’d like to think there are better ways of framing the PP argument than “D&C for Dollars!”

  19. I don’t think a single person on this thread is ignorant to the dire economic situation, as Adam seems to think we poor little emotional women are. It’s just funny how the only people who are not being asked to sacrifice right now, are not being asked to put anything on the table, are the ones who actually got us into this mess. But I’ll bet Adam would consider it socialist if anyone on Wall St had to actually pay for what they did.

    And yes, the money is not going away, we’re just now going to be spending it less efficiently. So if your real problem is Title X itself (and it’s ok, plenty of mansplaining conservatives do), your complaint about spending is better directed to the feds, not to Aunt B.

  20. Katherine,

    In reply to your comment:
    “I will say, though, that it makes me feel a little squicky to talk about how much money abortion will save by eliminating future persons. I’d like to think there are better ways of framing the PP argument than “D&C for Dollars!””

    The argument I made that every dollar spent on family planning in TN saves the state $6.37 is NOT about abortion. Family planning means contraception, aka birth control. Simply by preventing an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy, the state saves millions of dollars because so many of those unplanned pregnancies are to teenagers and poor women who have to rely on TennCare to pay the entire cost of their prenatal care, labor & delivery, well-child care, etc. The idea behind Title X federal family planning is providing low-cost birth control to young and poor women who choose it so they can delay pregnancies until they are better able to provide for their families. Title X services are never coercive. The patients are given a wide range of birth control options to choose from and they choose the one that is right for them.What all the clients have in common is they want birth control because they really don’t want to be pregnant right now.

    By law, federal family planning funding cannot and does not pay for abortions (or D&Cs, as you call them.) For that reason, poor women on Medicaid who struggle to pay for rent and food for their children have to cough up hundreds of dollars to pay for abortion services if they find they need to terminate a pregnancy. That’s a great injustice in my opinion, but completely beside the point because the topic of this discussion is Title X federal family planning funding.

    Maybe you did not know that only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are related to abortion. I can see why you might be confused on that point because abortion is the only thing Ron Ramsey and the Tennessee Right to Life harp about all the time.

  21. Maybe you did not know that only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are related to abortion. I can see why you might be confused on that point because abortion is the only thing Ron Ramsey and the Tennessee Right to Life harp about all the time.

    Maybe you missed the other part of my comment where I said the same thing. It was in the paragraph above the one you quoted.

    And the comments which made me squicky was the paragraph before that one where you talk about “preventing an unwanted pregnancy is cheaper etc.”. Because yes, it is. But at the same time that just sounds offputting to me.

    I dont think you know me very well, and that’s fine. But you seem to be misdirecting some condescention my way. I have no idea what Ron Ramsey and TRTL “harp on about” as I dont pay attention to either one.

  22. Coble, WRT the discussion at your blog, Adam here is being a good example of a concern troll. He doesn’t like a discussion of how defunding PP will affect women, so he’s all “please, won’t someone think of the deficit?” in hopes that derailment will ensue (i.e. we’ll stop talking about how this hurts women and start talking about where the deficit actually comes from, or whether poor women are irresponsible, or anything else).

  23. Katherine,

    Sorry to come off as condescending. So many people wrongly equate birth control with abortion and I thought you were doing that as well. After re-reading your post, I see that is not the case, so I apologize.

    As a former patient of PP, I am a passionate defender of their Title X services. Most PP patients are young and have been made to feel ashamed of their sexuality and their need for reproductive health care so that they can’t speak out. I feel I have to speak out for them.

  24. Pingback: Tennessee’s Version of Defunding Planned Parenthood, or Why Fewer Nashville Women Will Be Able to Access Family Planning Services | A bit about everything

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