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(September 18, 2015 – Memphis, TN) Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region (PPGMR) is appalled at the House of Representatives’ decision to defund Planned Parenthood (H.R. 3134, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, introduced by Representative Diane Black, R-TN). This bill will prohibit all federal funding for Planned Parenthood health centers for one year. 

“These attacks are a part of a political agenda to ban abortion and roll back access to reproductive health care. Our health center in Memphis, like many Planned Parenthood health centers across the country, depend on federal funds to serve millions of women, men and young people,” said Ashley Coffield, CEO of PPGMR.  “Fifty-four percent of Planned Parenthood health centers are in medically underserved areas including our health center in Memphis. This decision will impact many who do not have any other place to seek sexual and reproductive healthcare.  I want to reassure our patients  that the vote today is only the beginning of this fight, and  Planned Parenthood’s doors will remain open, and we will continue to provide high-quality, affordable health care and information to the women, men, and young people in Memphis.”

In Memphis, defunding would prevent PPGMR from serving women and men on TennCare seeking services such as birth control, STI testing and treatment, and other preventive care. Tenncare does not pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or the woman’s life is in danger.  PPGMR serves about 8,000 clients annually. Defunding would also prevent PPGMR from using money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to participate in infectious disease control programs, such as Free Condoms Memphis, which provides half a million free condoms to people in Shelby County annually. 

Nationally, Planned Parenthood provides 2.7 million women and men a year with essential, preventive reproductive health care, like birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment and well-woman exams.  In the last year at PPGMR over 1,200 well-woman exams, 772 clinical breast exams and 5,100 HIV and STI tests were performed.    

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Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region (PPGMR), founded in 1938, is an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. PPGMR’s mission is to improve health and well-being by providing high-quality, non-judgmental sexual health care, honest and accurate sexuality education, and reproductive health and rights advocacy.