|Matlock bill would defund Planned Parenthood
Jimmy Matlock, R-Lenoir City, who represents much of Monroe County in the Tennessee House of Representatives 21st District, is introducing a bill that would outlaw funding Planned Parenthood in Tennessee after a federal Appeals Court ruling to uphold state voters’ decision on Amendment 1 in 2014.
Amendment 1 passed with the support of 53 percent of voters in 2014. It added language to the Tennessee Constitution that says nothing in the state’s Constitution protects a woman’s right to abortion.
Matlock issued a press release on Tuesday stating his position.
“A false narrative exists in Tennessee that Planned Parenthood doesn’t receive Tennessee taxpayer dollars,” Matlock said. “Media and professional politicians from both sides of the aisle have reinforced this false narrative time and time again to protect their funding, It is beyond time for Tennessee leaders to show integrity and honesty by putting this to bed once and for all.”
Matlock said in 2011 that 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 that is not true.
“The claim that diverting funds and funneling them through a state department somehow defunds Planned Parenthood is misleading and dishonest,” Matlock said. “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, Matlock said. Holt found that the organization did receive money. Holt discovered that from 2011- 2015, Planned Parenthood of Tennessee received $108,100 taxpayer dollars. Of that amount, just under $11,000 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, according to Matlock.
“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.”
In a statement to the USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee, Keri Adams, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle & East Tennessee, said Matlock’s use of the word “defund” shows his lack of understanding of how the health care system works. She told the USA TODAY NETWORK that his bill would have a “devastating impact” on the people who rely on Planned Parenthood.
“It would prohibit women from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers and take away a person’s ability to see the qualified health care provider of their choice for these sensitive services,” she said.
Matlock has represented Monroe and Loudon County in the Tennessee House since 2006. He is giving up his seat later this year as he campaigns to replace John Duncan Jr. in the U.S. Congress.
FRC Action PAC Endorses Jimmy Matlock for United States Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- FRC Action PAC, the political action committee connected with Family Research Council Action, is endorsing Jimmy Matlock for United States Congress in the 2nd Congressional District of the state of Tennessee.
FRC Action PAC Executive Vice President, Lt. General (Ret.) Jerry Boykin commented:
"These challenging times require bold, convicted leaders. From speaking with Jimmy Matlock and observing his more than decade-long record in the Tennessee House of Representatives, we believe he will be such a leader in the United States Congress in the seat vacated by Rep. Jim Duncan.
"Jimmy's credentials as a small business owner and state legislator will serve him well as a member of Congress. We have noted his deep-rooted desire to promote the interests of working class Americans over special interest groups, and his determination to stand apart from career politicians lacking real-world achievements. We commend his commitment to a limited government and constitutional conservatism.
"We applaud Jimmy's desire to protect the sanctity of all life and end taxpayers' forced partnership with Planned Parenthood -- the nation's largest abortion provider. He understands the great importance of defending our religious freedom and cherished conscience protections so that the government does not force citizens to violate deeply-held religious beliefs. He also respects the central role the family must play if our nation is to thrive.
"FRC Action PAC is confident that if elected, Jimmy Matlock will continue to advocate for limited government and strong family values. We are pleased to offer our endorsement and encourage those who care about the future of our nation and our freedoms to do so as well," concluded Boykin.