On Monday, the Shelby County Commission delayed a vote to approve $407,000 in federal grants earmarked for HIV prevention services from four separate agencies, including $115,000 in funding designated for Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region’s free condom program.
According to an email sent to PPGMR supporters by CEO Ashley Coffield, the delay of vote is exclusively tied to some commissioner’s objections that any amount of grant money is designated for the women’s health care provider.
“This is what defunding looks like,” Coffield said, referring to the consistent promises from Republican lawmakers to strip all federal funding from Planned Parenthood.
Memphis has the highest sexually transmitted disease rates, more than one person out of 100, in the state of Tennessee, according to 2013 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since the compilation of the CDC data, PPGMR’s free condom program has distributed more than 1.7 million free condoms in the Memphis area in order to combat the number of STD cases.
Coffield’s email minced no words in addressing the possible reasons behind the delay of vote.