Federal Judge in Tennessee Rules in Favor of Women’s Health
Injunction to halt State Department of Health from Stripping HIV/STD Prevention Funds
MEMPHIS, TN – Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region applauds United States District Judge William Haynes’s ruling today to grant a preliminary injunction to halt the Tennessee Department of Health’s decision to rescind HIV and syphilis testing and prevention grants awarded to Planned Parenthood affiliates in Tennessee.
“This ruling is a victory for the thousands of women, men and teens of Tennessee who rely on Planned Parenthood for HIV and STD testing and prevention counseling. Planned Parenthood has provided these services in our communities for more than 10 years and is eminently qualified to continue providing them,” said Barry Chase, Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region’s CEO.
In the suit against the state, Planned Parenthood argues they were excluded from the HIV and syphilis elimination programs for providing comprehensive women’s health care—a violation of federal law and the constitutional rights of Planned Parenthood.
In 2011, 17,698 women, men and teens relied on Planned Parenthood's nonprofit health centers in communities throughout Tennessee for a wide range of quality, affordable health care services including annual exams, birth control counseling and care, reproductive cancer screenings, STD prevention and treatment and abortion care. One in five American women has relied on Planned Parenthood at some point in her life. Planned Parenthood has been operating in Tennessee for more than 75 years.
"This decision will allow us to continue our life saving work of providing high quality health care and accurate health information," said Elokin CaPece, Director of Education at PPGMR. "HIV and STD testing and prevention counseling saves lives."
Over the past five years, the rate of new HIV infections among 15-to-24-year-olds in Tennessee has more than doubled. Tennessee’s syphilis infection rate is the fifth highest in the nation, with 60 percent of all new syphilis cases in the state occurring in Shelby County. “With such dismal health statistics, now is not the time to cut prevention programs that are proven to work,” said Barry Chase.
Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region (PPGMR), founded in 1938, is an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. PPGMR’s mission is to ensure broad public access to reproductive and related health care through clinic services, education, advocacy and community partnerships in serving 42 counties in West Tennessee, North Mississippi and East Arkansas.
Director of Community Affairs
February 16, 2012