Does Planned Parenthood Receive Taxpayer Funding for Abortions? Yes. Here’s How

National   Randall O'Bannon Ph.D.   Apr 20, 2017   |   6:41PM    Washington, DC

This is part three of a series. Here are parts one and two.

MYTH #5: Government funding to Planned Parenthood isn’t going for abortion.

This is simply not so. There are several state and local governments which fund Planned Parenthood, some that would probably plan to do so even if the federal government dropped its support (for example, see the Washington Post’s April 6, 2017 story “Maryland first to mitigate any Planned Parenthood cuts”).

Right now, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 17 states currently use their own state funds to pay for abortions for Medicaid patients, including high population states such as California, Illinois, and New York. There are 186 Planned Parenthood affiliated clinics in those three states alone, each state has higher than average abortion rates, and nearly 80% of Planned Parenthood’s clinics there offer abortions (as of 2016). It would shock no one to find that a sizeable portion of Planned Parenthood’s more than half a billion dollars in government funding comes from states like these.

What Planned Parenthood wants to use to make its case is the Hyde Amendment, legislation passed every year that says that federal dollars are not to be used for abortion except in rare cases like rape, incest, or to preserve the life of the mother. This ensures that federal taxpayer dollars do not directly subsidize abortions, but does not prevent Planned Parenthood receiving federal funding for other services.

Planned Parenthood has long worked to repeal Hyde Amendment. Repeal was a key plank in pro-abortion Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. As many as two million lives have been saved as a result of the Hyde Amendment.

SIGN THE PETITION! Congress Must De-Fund Planned Parenthood Immediately

But this amendment does not prevent federal dollars from going into Planned Parenthood’s already bulging coffers (yearly revenues of nearly $1.3 billion in its latest annual report for 2014-15) for other purposes–and there are many ways in which Planned Parenthood can use that government largesse to market its brand and keep its abortion clinics open.

Money that does not go directly to reimburse abortion costs can nonetheless go to pay for staff salaries, office equipment, rent or community education and outreach programs that raise the group’s profile and reputation. Moreover, even if it does not pay for abortions, federal dollars nevertheless serve as official recognition of the group’s medical credentials (whatever their actual safety record) and the social acceptability of their agenda and mission. That alone may provide some assurance (albeit unwarranted) to the woman vacillating back and forth over whether to abort her baby.

Money going to Planned Parenthood is fungible, that is, funds that pay for one area of the budget can free up other money that would have had to cover those services. If you are taking your family out for pizza and a movie, and I say that I am willing to pay for your pizza, but not your movie, that still means you’ve got more of your own money available to cover the movie tickets. You may have had money for only one or the other, but with my help, you can cover both, even though technically I did not buy the movie tickets.

The federal dollars Planned Parenthood receives help keep Planned Parenthood’s abortion business open, covering the cost associated with “family planning,” sex education programs, “cancer screenings” – much of it involving the same personnel, facilities, equipment used on the abortion side – freeing private contributions and additional revenue that could have been associated with real health care services to go for the performance and promotion of abortion.

Planned Parenthood already receives hundreds of millions of dollars a year from wealthy private benefactors such as billionaires Warren Buffett, George Soros, and the Packard Foundation (National Right to Life News Today, 8/31/16).

If they want to use their billions to keep Planned Parenthood’s abortion business humming, rather than just enabling Planned Parenthood pester politicians to have the taxpayers pay for it, that’s their business. But there is no reason that the public should be sending federal dollars to organizations that, without apology or remorse, kill innocent unborn children.

Again, President Trump offered Planned Parenthood the chance to keep every federal dollar it was allocated for birth control, STD testing and treatment, “cancer screenings,” etc., if it simply agreed to stop performing abortions (something it has repeatedly said only represents a small percentage of its services).

It turned that deal down (multiple media sources, 3/6/17).

MYTH #6: Planned Parenthood was cleared of any wrongdoing in those fetal tissue trafficking videos.

Planned Parenthood’s reputation took a severe hit when undercover videos were released in the summer of 2015 showing some of its top executives haggling over the reimbursement fees for the fetal tissue and organs of babies aborted at its clinics. Anyone who doubts that only need look at the vehemence of their denials, the endlessly repeated spin in the media that the videos were “heavily edited,” and the claim that full transcripts exonerated them and proved that they had done nothing wrong.

We’ll have to see if the Congress and the courts will ultimately allow Planned Parenthood to escape legal consequences. But even if the best lawyers money can buy are able to find loopholes in the lax fetal tissue laws and convince prosecutors and judges that technically, no violations occurred, this will hardly rehabilitate Planned Parenthood’s reputation.

Planned Parenthood is anxious to discredit the videos because it doesn’t want people to look at them at all, because those who do will never be able to forget what they see. Those that watched them – the “edited” [shortened is more accurate] versions or the longer ones featuring lunch and bathroom breaks – cannot unsee or unhear Planned Parenthood National Director of Medical Services Deborah Nucatola sipping wine, eating salad, talking about making sure to “crush above” and “crush below” to obtain intact hearts, lungs and livers or Mary Gatter, president of Planned Parenthood’s Medical Council, talking about using “less crunchy techniques” to get fetal parts (to go towards her Lamborghini, one presumes).

In other videos, people saw the legs, hands, eyes, brains of babies that had been ripped from their mother’s wombs just hours before, with some Planned Parenthood employee flippantly remarking, “It’s another boy!”

The troubling thing for many people was not simply that Planned Parenthood people might have been out to make even more money off the destruction unborn babies than they already had. It was because they could so casually, callously disregard the destruction of innocent human life, even as late as 20 weeks or more gestation, as if the child were nothing more than a toenail, a tonsil, or an inflamed appendix.

Gone was any talk about tough or “tragic choices,” much less any sense of pain or loss. Where was their basic sense of horror, of revulsion, looking at the sliced up pieces of a human child that had only hours before been innocently growing in his or her mother’s womb? Blithely disregarding the humanity of the unborn child, they risked losing their own.

It was clear to those who saw the videos that they had seen something dark and evil with Planned Parenthood at the very heart of it.

MYTH #7: Planned Parenthood is a selfless non-profit health care provider.

For a non-profit health care organization, Planned Parenthood seems to have a lot of spare cash lying around. In its last six annual reports spanning financials from fiscal years ending in 2010 through 2015, Planned Parenthood not only averaged over $1.2 billion a year in revenues, but had a total $505.5 million in “excess of revenue over expenses.” (Non-profits can’t technically count them as “profits,” hence the awkward description.)

This while top executives were rewarded with hefty six figure salaries, enjoyed hob-knobbing with A-list Hollywood celebrities, the national office launched an expensive ad campaign, and affiliates across the country were buying or building giant new, multimillion dollar mega-clinics with interiors by some of the nation’s top designers.

Those are the circles in which Planned Parenthood runs.

Somehow it makes all their pleas on behalf of the poor and downtrodden ring a little hollow.

Planned Parenthood not only puts millions into marketing, but also has a powerful, well funded political arm. Is this to gin up support for and elect politicians who will support “cancer screenings?” Hardly.

Everyone is for cancer screenings, saving lives – it’s why Planned Parenthood tries to make it sound as if that’s what this is all about. But the service that Planned Parenthood defends and demands, the one key box that every political candidate they support must check, is abortion.

Many Americans could support Planned Parenthood if PPFA really were interested in becoming a full scale health care provider, providing not just STD testing, contraceptives, cancer screenings (and actually adding mammograms!), but prenatal care, infertility assistance, or maybe even some primary care–so long as abortion wasn’t in the mix.

But Planned Parenthood will sacrifice all those legitimate health care services to promote and perform abortion. Planned Parenthood can’t see the distinction, and that is the problem.

Here’s the difference: Health care is about saving lives. Abortion is about taking lives, not saving human lives.

Given the choice between abortion and health care, Planned Parenthood chooses abortion. Why?

That’s who they are.

LifeNews.com Note: Randall O’Bannon, Ph.D., is the director of education and research for the National Right to Life Committee. This column originally appeared at NRL News Today.

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