By Dave Andrusko
The Memphis Business Journal reported earlier today that two Tennessee Planned Parenthood affiliates will merge next month.
“The board and the CEOs from both of the [Planned] Parenthood affiliates made a strategic decision that we would be stronger together,” Ashley Coffield told Mary Cashiola, Managing Editor of the Memphis Business Journal. “It was through a deep commitment to ensuring the best care for our patients and the most financially sustainable model to provide that care.”
The official consolidation date for Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region and Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee is June 1. The new name, with Coffied at the helm, will be Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi. Coffied is currently president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region.
The newly named organization “will begin providing services June 4 and operate four health centers — two in Memphis, one in Nashville and one in Knoxville,” Cashiola reported.
Responding to the announcement, Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life, had a very different take.
“Planned Parenthood’s public abortion advocacy has floundered and failed during the past decade,” Harris said. “They have lost preferential treatment in state law and state tax dollars to subsidize their abortion trade. Their endorsed legislative candidates have lost their races and Planned Parenthood’s influence at the General Assembly has never been lesser.”
Harris added, “Tennessee Right to Life remains wholly committed to exposing and opposing Planned Parenthood’s ‘strategic business perspective’ and ‘long-term financial sustainability’ which relies almost wholly on the killing of helpless unborn children and the exploitation of women and girls at a time of need in their lives.”
Last month pro-life Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law the Title X Prioritization Act (SB 2494 / HB 2262).
The bill codifies existing policy established in 2011 by the Haslam administration which prioritizes health departments to receive Title X family planning funds rather than Planned Parenthood abortion facilities in the state.
Prior to 2009, Planned Parenthood facilities received preferential treatment in the awarding of more than $1 million tax dollars annually. For decades the funds were automatically directed to Planned Parenthood without any bidding process or request for proposals from other entities.
The new law permanently establishes that first priority for distribution of the funds will be given to local public health departments, the policy of the Haslam Administration since 2011.