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Why is TennCare Amendment 36 Dangerous?

Amendment 36 is a harmful waiver that would cut off access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other preventive health care for patients who rely on Planned Parenthood for care through Medicaid and TennCare each year in Tennessee.

● Planned Parenthood provides important preventive health care including lifesaving cancer screenings, well-woman exams, birth control, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.

● Every Planned Parenthood health center in Tennessee is in a rural or medically underserved area. Nationally, 75% of Planned Parenthood patients have incomes at or below 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL), and at least 60% of Planned Parenthood patients access care through the Medicaid program.

● Amendment 36 aims to take away rights and opportunities from people who already face systemic barriers to care because of racist and discriminatory policies -- like people of color, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and rural communities. They are more likely to have low incomes and rely on publicly funded programs like Medicaid. Blocking access to Planned Parenthood can make it impossible to get the care they need.

Tennessee Statistics:

  • In 2010, 56% of all pregnancies in Tennessee were unintended.1

  • In 2014, there were 434,440 Tennessee women age 13-44 who were in need of publicly funded family planning services.2 This shows that we need to be increasing access to affordable care instead of reducing access, like Amendment 36 would do.

  • In Tennessee, 53% of women who gave birth in 2016 were TennCare or Medicaid recipients.3


This is not what people in Tennessee want. Now is the time to unite, show our power, and make sure every person has the right and freedom to control their body. 

● Tennesseans don’t want to see thousands of families cut off from the health care they need.

● A recent poll from Kaiser Family Foundation shows that 75% of Americans support funding for Planned Parenthood.


Without Planned Parenthood, many of our patients would have nowhere else to go for health care — either because there are no other providers in their community, other providers cannot serve all of our patients, or other providers don’t offer specialized reproductive health care like IUDs and the birth control shot.

● The idea that other providers could absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients has been resoundingly dismissed by medical experts. In fact the executive director of the American Public Health Association called the idea “ludicrous.”

● In the words of Sara Rosenbaum, a public health expert with George Washington University: “To assume that health centers are in a position to fill the void left by barring a health care provider of Planned Parenthood’s importance to Medicaid beneficiaries … is simply wrong.”

● Attempts to block care at Planned Parenthood have drawn widespread opposition from leading health care experts and organizations, including the American Public Health Association, the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.


Over the past year, the Trump-Pence administration has been working to infringe on our freedoms, take away our rights, and impose their personal beliefs on everyone.

● They have been implementing policies that give politicians more control over the lives of people of color, LGBTQ people, and women.

     - They have allowed employers to deny birth control coverage to their employees.

     - They have cut teen pregnancy prevention programs.

     - They have taken away protections for survivors of sexual assault.

     - They have tried again and again to block access to care at Planned Parenthood.

     - They have promoted abstinence-only programs.

● Congress tried to do this six times last year -- and each time was defeated because of millions of people around the country who took action.

● For more than 100 years, Planned Parenthood has been a trusted provider of quality, compassionate, affordable health care. One in five women in this country have turned to Planned Parenthood for care.

For more information, see the Notice of Change in TennCare II Demonstration: Amendment 36. 


1Kost K, Unintended Pregnancy Rates at the State Level: Estimates for 2010 and Trends Since 2002, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2015, https://www.guttmacher.org/report/unintended-pregnancy-rates-statelevel-estimates-2010-and-trends-2002.

2Frost JJ, Frohwirth L and Zolna MR, Contraceptive Needs and Services, 2014 Update, New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2016, https://www.guttmacher.org/report/contraceptive-needs-and-services2014-update.

3Number of TennCare Moms count were collected from the TennCare, Division of Health Care Finance and Administration. Number of live births data were supplied by the Office of Health Statistics, Division of Policy, Planning and Assessment, Tennessee Department of Health.