TN Planned Parenthood leader stepping down after 17 years

Jeff Teague, long-time president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, has announced he is leaving the group Friday to “explore other opportunities,” reports the Times Free Press.

The group provides reproductive health services, including abortion, and has been at the center of any number of political and court battles in Tennessee over the years. It operates centers in Nashville and Knoxville.

Teague said he is “incredibly proud of what we have accomplished” in recent years, noting the Tennessee organization is financially stable, serves more patients than ever and continues to add services for both women and men.

“In an incredibly hostile environment, the political strength and influence of Planned Parenthood is unquestionable,” Teague said, adding he is “honored and humbled to have worked with the most incredibly passionate and dedicated staff and volunteers.”

In an email response to Times Free Press inquiries, Teague said that while his departure announcement may appear abrupt “leaving Planned Parenthood was completely my decision. The affiliate is in a strong position and it was time to move on to something new.”

It’s “something I have been thinking about for about a year or so and began discussing it with the Board several months ago,” Teague noted, adding they just hadn’t gotten around to announcing anything publicly until now.

Diana Finlayson, chairwoman of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee (PPMET), said that “in the face of an adverse and hostile political climate, Jeff has moved our organization forward with grace” and worked “relentlessly to position PPMET as a champion for health care and for women’s rights.

… Keri Adams, currently the Tennessee group’s senior vice president, has been named interim CEO for the affiliate.

...Earlier this year, Teague and Planned Parenthood and legislative allies unsuccessfully fought against yet another anti-abortion measure in the Republican-run Tennessee General Assembly. Later signed by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, the new law bans abortions in Tennessee after 20 weeks if a doctor determines the fetus is viable through required tests.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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