MEMPHIS, TN— Planned Parenthood branches across Tennessee are fighting back. They're going to court to stop the state health department from pulling tens of thousands of dollars in funding for HIV and STD testing. Planned Parenthood in the Memphis area lost more than $150,000. One Memphis woman says if it wasn't for Planned Parenthood's free services she would be dead.
"In the past I've had precancerous polyps so I wouldn't have known if it wasn't for Planned Parenthood. I could hypothetically be dead of cancer right now,” said Carley Fritz.
Fritz, a 27-year-old Memphis native, has no job, no income, and no health insurance. She says Planned Parenthood has literally been a lifesaver.
"Low income people like me need something," Fritz said.
For more than a decade she's taken advantage of the free health care services provided by the organization. Planned Parenthood also provides HIV and STD testing.
"Over 50-percent of the syphilis cases in the state of Tennessee are in Shelby County," said Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region CEO Barry Chase. “Shelby County leads the way in the number of HIV cases."
But without the state funding, Carley Fritz was forced to borrow money from her grandmother to pay for recent tests.
“My annual exam with my pap was $53 and that was with proof of income, without proof of income it would’ve been $153," said Fritz.
Planned Parenthood in Memphis filed an injunction in hopes of stopping the Tennessee Health Department from cutting needed funding.
"The state had determined essentially that Shelby County is not important," Chase told abc24 news.
Fritz, like many other struggling residents, is angry politicians are making the cuts based on the fact that Planned Parenthood provides abortions.
"To make someone's health a political manner takes the humanity out of health,” said Fritz.
A spokeswoman from the state health department says she wouldn’t comment because they haven seen a copy of the lawsuit. ABC24 News emailed her a copy and said she wouldn't comment while it’s still under ligation.