Planned Parenthood Marks 95 Years With Funding Cuts, Closures

Opinion   |   Rita Diller   |   Oct 19, 2011   |   9:41PM   |   Washington, DC

Planned Parenthood’s national leader, Cecile Richards, tried to remain festive as she announced the abortion giant’s 95th birthday this week. But her optimistic shouts of “We are here to stay!” were tempered by her obvious distraction from plucking arrows out of the organization on so many levels.

The dreaded defunding bell tolls repeatedly in Richards’ ears, as her aging, outdated organization fights, tooth and nail, legislation and other local action that partially defund her abortion business in eight states. Due to those funding cuts, Planned Parenthood has shut down facilities where the cuts are the deepest.

In Hidalgo County, Texas, Planned Parenthood recently shut down facilities in Rio Grande City, San Carlos, Progreso and Mission, where government funding was providing over 80 percent of its income. The cluster of closures brings to 12 the number of Texas Planned Parenthood facilities that have either shut down or are scheduled to be shut down since the state legislature cut at least $58 million from the abortion giant over the next two years. In addition, in March, Planned Parenthood of Central Texas closed the only two facilities it operates outside of Waco-one in Groesbeck and one in Marlin.

Planned Parenthood has closed facilities this year in other states as well. PP’s Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, facility closed suddenly on Sept. 1. In New Jersey, Planned Parenthood says it will close seven more facilities if Title X funding is eliminated, in addition to the Dover site that closed due to state funding cuts. It said it would downsize in other areas.

Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota closed facilities in Thief River Falls, Brainerd, Red Wing, Owatonna, Albert Lea and Fairmont, Minnesota effective August 1. It cited an 11 percent cut in its budget due to federal Title X funding decreases as the reason for the closures. Those closures came on the heels of the announcement of the imminent closure of seven PP facilities in Indiana due to state legislation denying Medicaid funding to the abortion giant.

Six Rivers Planned Parenthood announced the closure of its Weaverville, California facility effective April 14, 2011. Meanwhile, in Ohio, the part time Planned Parenthood facility there shut its doors March 29.

Following a forced separation from PPFA after the affiliate operating the facilities ended the 2008-2009 tax year with a $2.8 million deficit, the facilities formerly operated by Planned Parenthood in San Rafael, San Mateo, and Oakland closed without warning in early March.

As the Planned Parenthood name becomes a liability, affiliates are beginning to withdraw from Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Effective September 30, Tri-Rivers Planned Parenthood disaffiliated from Planned Parenthood Federation of America and changed its name to Tri-Rivers Family Planning, Inc. Abandoning the controversial Planned Parenthood name, it follows in the footsteps of two Texas Planned Parenthood affiliates-Amarillo and Corpus Christi.

At the close of 2010, our annual survey of Planned Parenthood facilities showed that, for the fifth straight year, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America continues closing clinics at a rate faster than it is opening new ones. In 2010, PPFA opened 18 new clinics and closed 49, bringing its total clinic number down to 785-the lowest it has been since 1986. Closures were spread all across the country and took place in 20 different states.

Only three states (Massachusetts, Utah, and Washington) had more clinics in 2010 than they did in 2009. Although nine clinics were closed because of the financial failure of Planned Parenthood Golden Gate, the reason given by Planned Parenthood for most clinic closings was a cutback in taxpayer funding or insufficient number of clients.

Adding to Planned Parenthood’s woes, a congressional investigation is in full swing, initiated by the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Cliff Stearns.

“[Federal] funds are fungible and allow the group to use funds from other sources ostensibly for abortions,” Stearns said in a September statement about the investigation.

“Since the Planned Parenthood [Federation] of America receives about $1 million a day in taxpayer funds, I sent a letter to the group’s president requesting documents and information as we look at the organization’s use of federal dollars and its compliance with various laws. Also, with a national debt exceeding $14 trillion, funding of Planned Parenthood should be evaluated with other expenditures to reduce the deficit,” he continued.

As it turns 95, Planned Parenthood has to know that its days are numbered. It is up to each of us to continue to bring the fight to Planned Parenthood on a daily basis so that, through the grace of God, it will not survive to see its hundredth birthday. Note: Rita Diller is the national director of American Life League’s Stop Planned Parenthood Project.