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Did anyone think Rep. Tony Shipley would give up his fight to deny doctor-patient confidentiality to teens? You don't know our action hero. Shipley is presently browbeating members of the Senate General Welfare Committee to change their minds on his bill. It was left for dead last week in the committee, with one senator voting for it, one against it and six declining to vote.
The Christian Right loves this bill. The Eagle Forum sent out an action alert
to drum up emails to the senators. It's a two-fer! Not only would it stop sneaky girls from going to the doctor for birth control, but it's a fabulously devious backdoor way to stop family planning services in Tennessee. By ending doctor-patient confidentiality, we'd violate a federal regulation and force the feds to withhold the state's $6 million for those services. Abolishing family planning long has been a goal of evangelicals, as we all know.
On his blog
, Shipley claims his bill failed in the Senate committee in part because he couldn't be there to answer questions. (In fact, Shipley was there, as the videotape clearly shows, but let's not get bogged down in details.) The Senate sponsor, Mae Beavers, was left "at the mercy of the opposing lobbyist, the liberal Department of Health and carefully coordinated Planned Parenthood actions of the Democrat members," Shipley writes.
"I'm not overly concerned because the facts are on my side," Shipley tells his hometown newspaper. That's our man Shipley, always cool under fire.
At great risk to her personal safety, Health Commissioner Susan Cooper is trading charges
with Capt. Apocalypse in letters to the Senate committee. Shipley accuses the health department of misleading the committee about his bill, and Cooper responds:
"During my tenure at the state, never has the truthfulness of the testimony of this department been called into question as has been in this manner. ... I am personally and professionally offended. ... We have consistently provided testimony that is grounded in fact, science and the best available evidence."