Lawmakers OK bill to ban state money to abortion providers

Lawmakers OK bill to ban state money to abortion providers
(Source: AP Graphics Bank)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - It's up to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam whether to sign legislation seeking federal approval to ban TennCare payments to abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, for non-abortion services.

In a 24-2 vote Thursday, the Senate passed Republican Sen. Mike Bell's bill. The House passed it earlier this month.

The proposal would apply to elective abortion providers performing 50-plus abortions annually.

State and federal law already ban Medicaid abortion funding. Some exceptions include rape, incest or risk of the mother's death.

Senate Democratic Caucus Leader Jeff Yarbro asked why Tennessee would want to limit the number of women's health providers that offer well-woman visits, obstetrics, contraceptive coverage and sexually transmitted disease treatment.

Bell said there are plenty of other health providers. He called the bill a statement policy by Tennessee against abortion.

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