Federal judge bars state from barring Planned Parenthood

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A federal judge in Nashville has blocked Republican leaders' efforts to keep Planned Parenthood of Tennessee from participating in venereal disease prevention programs. The efforts are federally funded, but administered by the state and are aimed at reducing the infection rate of HIV and syphilis.

The Commercial Appeal reported U.S. District Court Judge William J. Haynes Jr. issued his ruling Wednesday, barring the state from defunding Planned Parenthood in contracts totaling more than $170,000 last year.

In his ruling, Haynes noted a political and legislative history of Republican efforts to cut the organization's funding because Planned Parenthood also performs abortions. He cited statements from then-candidate Bill Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Sen. Stacey Campfield.

A Planned Parenthood official says the organization is thrilled by the ruling.

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