Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Family Planning Funds

There is a rumor that Rep. Lynn voted to fund Planned Parenthood with taxpayer dollors.

This rumor is false. In fact, after it was discovered by the Senate in 2007 that Planned Parenthood was receiveing the great bulk of federal family planning funds to fund birth control exams and supplies for poor women, Rep. Lynn was asked by Tennessee Right to Life to help craft a bill to end this distribution to Planned Parenthood - please see Tennessee Right to Life's letters to their members below.

Rep. Lynn not only helped create the bill but was the Prime Sponsor in the House and got the language into the budget that would end such distribution.

Here is a timeline of the events:

105th General Assembly 2007-2008

  • It is discovered by the State Senate in budget hearings that TCA 68-34-105 states that federal family planning funds be given to Planned Parenthood and that the Department of Health has been giving priority to Planned Parenthood on the disposition of those funds over the county health departments in Tennessee or other non-profit organizations that perform such services.

    TCA 68-34-105
    "Disposition of funds — Development of program.
    (a) The department is authorized to receive and disburse such funds as may become available to it for family planning programs to any organization, public or private, engaged in providing contraceptive procedures, supplies and information.
    (b) Any family planning program administered by the department may be developed in consultation and coordination with other family planning agencies in this state, including, but not limited to,
    planned parenthood affiliates."

    [Acts 1971, ch. 400, § 1; T.C.A., § 53-4605.]

    Attempts by the Senate to disallow funds going to Planned Parenthood are called unconstitutional by the Attorney General because of equal protection of the law for all non-profits that apply for the funds.


  • Tennessee Right to Life asks Rep. Lynn and Senator Finney to file HB 3308 LYNN, SB3049 FINNEY. The bill will give priority for the disposition of the family planning funds to the county health departments - if there is any money left other non-profit organizations may apply for funds. The strategy is to pass the bill in the Senate first. Unfortunately, by the time the Senate runs the bill the House subcommittee is closed so the House bill cannot be run.

  • Out of persistance, Lynn files Amendment 4 to HB4219 (the budget bill). The Amendment will give priority to the county health departments over non-profits in the disposition of family planning funds.

  • A contingent of female House Democrats strongly object to the filed amendment. Reps. Lynn, Maggart, Jones, Deberry, Richardson work together over two days to workout an understanding. Lynn & Maggart convince the ladies that the amendment does not keep poor women from receiving services but it does make conservative, pro-life women happy that the county health departments will have priority for funding and women will be able to seek such supplies at the county health departments over Planned Parenthood.

  • Chairman Fitzhugh (pro-life) approaches Lynn and congratulates her on settling things with Democrat ladies - he offers to place the wording of her amendment no. 4 in the final amendment that makes the budget so that there is not a floor fight over the amendment. Lynn happily agrees.

  • The budget passes and for the first time the budget for the 2008-2009 budget year the family planning funds are distributed to the county health departments first – See Section 72 of the budget page 135-135. LYNN VOTES AYE

106th General Assembly 2009-2010


  • Rep. Hensley is asked to file HB1756 HENSLEY, SB470 JOHNSON is filed. The bill will make permanent the Lynn amendment from 105th General Assembly and remove the words Planned Parenthood from the TCA. The bill passes and becomes Public Chapter 575. The bill passes - LYNN VOTES AYE.

Legislation is often a long road filled with many unknowns. I hope you can see that many good people worked to pass this bill and make it law.