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I am a Giant Whiner About the Heat, and Attempts to Defund Planned Parenthood in Tennessee

May 30, 2011

Ugh. The air conditioner at my place has been broken for the last few weeks, and it’s been a pretty constant 85 degrees in here. I have no idea how people tolerate the south without a/c on a regular basis – the persistent heat is making me whiny and angry and just generally unpleasant. It also has the effect of making it less pleasant for me to focus the energy to post about whatever nonsense our state legislature is up to related to women and their bodies.

If the heat didn’t make me cranky enough, Senator Stacey Campfield (R, duh), added an item to the state budget to “cut off $747,900 a year in federal money for non-abortion family-planning and women’s health services to Planned Parenthood in Memphis and $335,000 to Planned Parenthood in Nashville.”

None of this money pays for abortions, and the health departments in Memphis and Nashville have said they are not able to absorb the patient load of 13,000 low-income residents annually who receive exams, cancer screenings, STI tests and treatments via the state’s contract with Planned Parenthood.

This would all be par for the anti-choice Republican course, but has been a little more interesting than usual due to the measures taken somewhat surreptitiously to keep Campfield’s measure from surviving the budget process. Additional language made it into the budget to say that Campfield’s section “shall not be construed to supersede applicable provisions of federal and state law.” Uh, like Title X. Which provides the funding for the services provided through Planned Parenthood. Effectively wiping out Campfield’s “defund Planned Parenthood” measure.

And then, as Aunt B points out, there is drama about who put the additional language in, and who is keeping that knowledge from Campfield and voters. Because best guesses are that a higher ranking Republican put it in, preventing inevitable lawsuits or vetoing of the whole state budget.

I have to laugh a little that somebody’s BS political maneuver was outmaneuvered by somebody who might have seen actual consequences to the stunt Campfield was pulling, somebody who might also have been a Republican. As such, B has the best grin-inducing headline of the whole thing: Somehow, in Campfield vs. Planned Parenthood, Campfield Lost. I didn’t expect it, but I’ll take it.

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