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Planned Parenthood TN Takes On Proposed Funding Cuts

March 8, 2011

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Congress is poised to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, and supporters are rallying against a vote in the Senate to do so. Republicans in the U.S. House passed a bill that would cut all federal funding to the organization.

Jeff Teague, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, says the proposed cuts will have a profound impact on the women who rely on the organization for exams, cancer screenings, low-cost birth control, and education.

"And that it is a necessary expense, it's a necessary investment for us to make, to make sure that we are not only saving dollars in the future, but more importantly, saving and preserving the health and well-being of women."

Republicans in the House said they won't support an agency that provides abortions, but Teague says Planned Parenthood does not, and legally cannot, use federal money for abortion services. Since the House vote, more than 800,000 people nationwide have signed an open letter in support of Planned Parenthood. Right now, the Senate is debating the legislation which would include elimination of funding for the organization.

Teague says this is not a battle about whether a woman has a right to choose; it's about having access to preventive care. And without that, he says, it ultimately means higher health care costs.

"For every dollar that we spend for preventive reproductive and sexual health care services, we save four dollars in later health care services and needs."

Planned Parenthood has three clinics in Tennessee.

The cuts approved by the House are expected to be met with opposition in the Democratic-led Senate.

Planned Parenthood states that one American woman in five has been to a Planned Parenthood health center.

Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - TN