Updated: 09/22 - 7:15 pm.
MEMPHIS, TN, September 22, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Tennessee county’s plans to defund Planned Parenthood have been delayed following a Wednesday vote.
The last-minute politicking has now delayed the final decision on the defunding move for three weeks, reports MemphisFlyer.com.
Shelby County Health Department director Yvonne Madlock had announced earlier this month that the county’s family planning contract would not be going to Planned Parenthood. “The bid was awarded, and it was not Planned Parenthood,” she said.
That statement followed a June announcement by Republican Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey’s office that Shelby County would no longer be the lone county in the state funding Planned Parenthood.
However, in a meeting Wednesday, the Hospitals and Health Committee of the Shelby County Commission voted 6-4 in a party-line vote to delay the final consideration of the contract for three weeks; Democrats on the commission argued that the delay would give the commissioners more time to consider the information upon which the decision to award the contract to Christ Community Health Services was based.
The delay puts an end to the hopes of Republican Mayor Mark Luttrell to have the $397,900 contract with Christ Community Health Services to provide family planning services for low-income people, instead of Planned Parenthood, before the Commission by the end of September.
The defunding of Planned Parenthood would represent a major victory for pro-life Republicans in the Tennessee legislature, who have long fought public funding for the abortion provider, a fact acknowledged by Ramsey. “It has always been the ambition of Republicans in the legislature to defund this organization,” he said.
Two years ago, the state’s General Assembly passed a law handing over family planning responsibilities to county health departments. But two counties, Shelby and Davidson Counties, still contracted with Planned Parenthood.
Tennessee Right to Life President Brian Harris told LifeSiteNews that defunding Planned Parenthood has been a long, difficult effort.
“We remain confident a life-affirming solution can be found that protects taxpayers from funding abortion-promoting agencies,” he said.
This year, elected officials in New Hampshire, Kansas, North Carolina, and Indiana have cut all Planned Parenthood funding with taxpayer monies. The Obama administration announced last week, however, that it was bypassing state authorities in New Hampshire to restore Planned Parenthood’s funding directly.