Newspaper article News Sentinel

Haslam Provides 'Clarity' on Planned Parenthood

Newspaper article News Sentinel

Haslam Provides 'Clarity' on Planned Parenthood

Article excerpt

NASHVILLE -- Gov. Bill Haslam has told legislative Republicans that the state doesn't contract directly with Planned Parenthood for any health services, but the nonprofit health provider does subcontract with state vendors to provide nonabortion contraceptive services and HIV testing.

The governor said he wrote the letter to "provide some clarity" to members of his party in the General Assembly as two legislative committees prepare for a joint "fact-finding" hearing Aug. 19 on whether the state is enforcing Tennessee law banning the sale of aborted fetuses and fetal parts.

The chairmen of the House and Senate government operations committees, Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, and Sen. Mike Bell, R- Riceville, called the hearing immediately after the release of undercover videos by an anti-abortion group in which Planned Parenthood executives elsewhere discussed reimbursements from medical researchers for aborted fetal material.

See abortion, 17A

The chairmen asked state Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner appear at the Nashville meeting.

"There's been a lot of questions from legislators into our office about what exactly is the state's policy," Haslam told reporters Thursday. "They've heard other governors running for president say they've totally 'defunded' Planned Parenthood. So we wanted to go back and show exactly what the state's relationship is."

In his letter, the governor said he's heard from lawmakers "who share our shock and concern at the callous disregard for life displayed" in the videos. "You understandably want to make sure that the activities discussed in these videos are not happening in Tennessee."

The letter noted that buying or selling an aborted fetus is a Class E felony under Tennessee law. …

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