Planned Parenthood considering legal options in funding fight

(WMC-TV) - Planned Parenthood is fighting a Shelby County decision to award $300,000 in federal funds to Christ Community Health Services.

Typically, the state of Tennessee chooses the county's third party provider for family planning services. But this year, for the first time ever, the Shelby County was charged with selecting that provider.

After losing their long-time contract in a three way bidding process, Planned Parenthood has filed an appeal. But Shelby County CAO Harvey Kennedy says the county will stick by its decision.

"We're very confident that the process was carried out fairly," Kennedy said.

But the results of that process could wind up in court.

Thursday, Planned Parenthood released a statement that said, "Our legal team is now looking at the response to our protest that we received from the County yesterday, and we are considering a number of options, including legal action."

"Anyone can take advantage of all of their options," Kennedy said. "I'm not surprised. I mean, Planned Parenthood has not been happy with the decision that was rendered."

In the meantime, Planned Parenthood is assuring patients they are in Memphis to stay.

"Because of the loss of the Title X funding, we are asking patients to pay some cost of their preventive care and birth control," the organization's statement said. "We have worked out a modified sliding fee scale that keeps costs low for those with the least ability to pay. We think many patients will prefer to keep receiving their care here because our services are non-religious and non-judgmental."

As part of the new way the grant is being distributed, the Shelby County Health Department will have access to about 20 percent more of the $1.3 million dollar annual grant to expand their current family services division.

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