Tennessee sues HHS over Title X funding ‘illegally diverted to Planned Parenthood’

pro-life, abortion pill, Tennessee

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti announced this week that the state has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s (HHS) decision to withhold federal funding from the state over its abortion laws.

Earlier this year, HHS announced that the state would not be eligible to receive millions in Title X grants because the state’s pro-life laws do not require physicians to refer patients for abortions that are illegal. Last month, it was revealed that the millions in funding originally earmarked for the state had been given to Planned Parenthood instead.

“We are suing to stop the federal government from playing politics with the health of Tennessee women,” Skrmetti said in a statement, noting that the HHS “illegally diverted [the] funds to Planned Parenthood.”

“Our lawsuit is necessary to ensure that Tennessee can continue its 50-year track record of successfully providing these public health services to its neediest populations.”

Under the current Title X rules as implemented by the Biden administration, family planning clinics in receipt of the funds must be willing to offer abortion referrals. When Tennessee officials informed the HHS that, due to state law, its facilities would only be “offer[ing] counseling and referrals only for legal pregnancy terminations,” HHS leaders clapped back with the news that the state would “strip all of Tennessee’s Title X funding” due to its pro-life policies.

In September, Planned Parenthood leaders celebrated the news that the government money would be sent to them instead.

“Our governor jeopardized access to birth control, STI testing and treatment, and cancer screenings when he refused to comply with Title X requirements for unbiased patient information,” said Ashley Colfield, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and Northern Mississippi. “Direct grantees in Virginia and Mississippi will use these funds to ensure there are services in Tennessee and we look forward to working with Virginia League for Planned Parenthood as a subgrantee.”

In the lawsuit, Skrmetti is asking a federal judge to reinstate the Title X money and to reiterate that the federal government cannot withhold funding based on a state’s abortion laws.

“HHS’ actions make clear that it has no intention of meaningfully considering Tennessee’s appeal or preserving HHS and Tennessee’s 50-year Title X partnership,” the lawsuit states. “Rather, HHS apparently values sending a pro-abortion message more than providing vital family planning services to thousands of vulnerable women and families across Tennessee.”

What is Live Action News?

Live Action News is pro-life news and commentary from a pro-life perspective. Learn More

Contact for questions, corrections, or if you are seeking permission to reprint any Live Action News content.

GUEST ARTICLES: To submit a guest article to Live Action News, email with an attached Word document of 800-1000 words. Please also attach any photos relevant to your submission if applicable. If your submission is accepted for publication, you will be notified within three weeks. Guest articles are not compensated. (See here for Open License Agreement.) Thank you for your interest in Live Action News!

To Top