Bill seeks to ban TennCare payments to abortion providers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A Tennessee Republican lawmaker has proposed a ban on TennCare reimbursements to abortion providers for non-abortion services.

At a news conference Wednesday, Republican Rep. Jimmy Matlock announced legislation seeking a federal waiver to exclude providers from TennCare if “direct or indirect” use of state money will promote or support elective abortions.

Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood Executive Director Francine Hunt said the bill would have a devastating impact by preventing women from accessing birth control, cancer screenings and sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment at Planned Parenthood health centers.

Republican Sen. Mike Bell said the money would fund organizations without elective abortion services.

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

Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell supports the bill.

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