On Thursday, April 12, 2018, Governor Bill Haslam signed into law House Bill 2251. Effective immediately, the law requires TennCare to seek a Medicaid waiver from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that would allow Tennessee to exclude providers who perform elective abortions. The legislation exempts medically necessary abortions performed in hospitals, such as in situations when the life of the mother is at risk. The law cuts off all state tax dollars going to abortion clinics.
“I’m thankful to Gov. Haslam for signing this important piece of legislation into law. We believe that taxpayer money should not be going to abortion clinics, for whatever purpose. I’m also thankful to my Republican colleagues in the House who supported me so strongly in this effort, and to Senator Mike Bell for carrying this in the Senate,” said Rep. Jimmy Matlock (R-Lenoir City), the bill’s sponsor.
Sen. Mike Bell (R-Riceville) called it an important victory for those who value life. “This is a huge win for the overwhelming majority of Tennesseans who support life, who value life, and who do not want their hard earned tax dollars going to these abortion clinics,” he said, adding, “I commend Gov. Haslam for signing this into law.”
The signing of HB 2251 comes days after Haslam signed HB 2262 by Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville), which prioritizes Title X funding, rerouting a federal stream of money away from abortion clinics to county health clinics. Matlock’s legislation removes all state money.