When the Obama administration announced its decision Wednesday to not allow teenage girls to purchase the Plan B morning after pill over the counter without a doctor’s prescription, Planned Parenthood was slow to respond.
The abortion business was one of the last pro-abortion groups to put out a public statement condemning the decision and, unlike it’s fellow pro-abortion organizations, it did not send out messages on Twitter in the lead-up to the decision asking for the Obama administration to approve the over the counter status.
Planned Parenthood eventually responded with a fairly boilerplate press release and, yesterday, its president Cecile Richards released a letter demanding a meeting with pro-abortion HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who was a close ally of Planned Parenthood’s affiliate during her time as governor of the Midwestern state.
Amanda Marcotte, a noted pro-abortion blogger, highlighted what initially appeared to be surprise by most pro-abortion activists, saying, “this victory for women’s health [was] snatched away at the last minute by Sebelius, sending shocks of confusion and betrayal through the pro-choice community, who always thought of Sebelius as a member in good standing.”
But some pro-life advocates are questioning whether Planned Parenthood is really all that upset at the decision, saying it stands to make millions financially from selling the morning after pill at its clinics at a marked up cost.
“The Obama administration’s track record on protecting Planned Parenthood raises the likelihood that the FDA decision is less about safety and more about making sure that Planned Parenthood retains a substantial share of the Plan B market,” Indiana Right to Life president Mike Fichter told LifeNews shortly after the decision Wednesday. “The reality is that putting this drug on the shelf at local stores would cost Planned Parenthood millions of dollar in revenue.”
Kathy Ostrowski, the legislative director of Kansans for Life and someone who knows Sebelius’ track record of working with Planned Parenthood better than most anyone, is of the same mind when it comes to the reaction of the abortion business to the morning after pill decision.
“Pro-lifers– thankful for any small victory in the culture war– nonetheless scratched their collective heads trying to discern Sebelius’ motives. Some opined she was throwing a bone to religious conservatives riled up at the continuing onslaught of hostile actions by the Obama administration,” Ostrowski noted. “Planned Parenthood was curiously late (Thursday evening) in issuing a complaining letter to Sebelius, perhaps indicating they were also surprised at this turn of events, or perhaps even feigning concern– because they are the most likely beneficiary for keeping the status quo.”
As Ostrowski notes, the status quo is that a teenage girl can go to Planned Parenthood to obtain the morning after pill without her parents, teachers friends or anyone ever knowing.
“Since a girl under 17 can’t buy Plan B over-the-counter (the current situation) she might ask a friend, relative or boyfriend, age 18 and older, to purchase it,” she said. “Otherwise, how likely is a girl to tell her mom she is having sex, thinks she is pregnant and needs help ASAP in getting these pills and/or arranging an appointment with a gynecologist? Especially when her sex ed class told her Planned Parenthood is the ‘nation’s trusted –and confidential– provider.'”
Ostrowski checked out one webpage that bills itself as an easy method to locate facilities distributing the Plan B drug and its Kansas search results show only Planned Parenthood facilities as places to get the morning after pill, even when she plugged in zip codes where she knew other locations had the pill.
“Planned Parenthood does not want to lose control of its dominance in distributing Plan B, which helps bring them enhanced access to teens for long-term, federally-compensated business,” Ostrowski said.
Planned Parenthood also doesn’t want to lose out on its ability to artificially inflate the price of morning after pills. Jim Sedlak, the director of STOPP International, outlined how the California Planned Parenthood affiliate worked out a deal with Barr Pharmaceuticals, Plan B’s owner in which it would be able to buy Plan B from Barr at bargain-basement prices, undercut local pharmacies, and clear an average $20 profit on each Plan B kit.
“So here you have a product that Planned Parenthood purchases for less than $5 and sells for an average of $25. Planned Parenthood is making a profit of more than $20 on each kit it sells. By 2003, Planned Parenthood reported selling more than three-quarters of a million kits in that year alone. By using those average figures, this means Planned Parenthood made at least $15 million in profit from this one product in that one year,” Sedlak said in a column running in LifeNews in 2005.
Planned Parenthood has also been found to have defrauded state governments when selling the morning after pill.
A 2004 audit found that Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties overcharged the government $5,213,645.92 for oral contraceptives. The problem was that Planned Parenthood was supposed to charge the government the cost of the pills. Instead, it charged a much higher price. And a 2009 audit found Planned Parenthood of the Inland Northwest overcharged the government $629,142.88. The audit found Planned Parenthood was charging excessive amounts for contraceptives and distributed and charged for prescription medication without having a valid prescription.
The bottom dollar has always been the top priority for Planned Parenthood and, whether it supports the decision or not, Planned Parenthood will always be looking for ways to make a buck.