Colorado Spent $14 Million Illegally Funding Abortions With Tax Dollars

State   Steven Ertelt   Oct 17, 2013   |   4:54PM    Denver, CO

Although the Colorado state Constitution prohibits public funding of abortions, the Planned Parenthood abortion business has received $14 million in taxpayer funds from the state.

In response, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the former executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health filed suit Thursday over that $14 million the state has given the Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood abortion business. Attorneys for the legal group say the funding violates a voter-approved state constitutional amendment that prohibits the direct or indirect public subsidizing of abortion.

“Public officials should respect the law and the democratic process rather than ignore both to fill Planned Parenthood’s bank account,” said Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton.

He told LifeNews, “Colorado voters already decided the issue when they amended the state constitution to prohibit tax-dollar subsidies to abortionists. State records clearly show that state officials have provided both federal and state taxpayer funds to Planned Parenthood in clear violation of the state constitution.”

In 1984, Colorado voters approved the Abortion Funding Prohibition Amendment and later rejected an initiative to repeal it. The Colorado Department of Public Health audited Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood and its affiliate Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Services Corporation in 2001 and subsequently ended funding to them after finding that state funds were indirectly subsidizing their abortion operations. State officials later ignored that determination and resumed funding, claiming that the funds only consisted of federal taxpayer dollars.

The complaint filed in Norton v. Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood with the state district court in Denver explains that new public records requests and research demonstrate conclusively that the government has used and is using state taxpayer dollars. The lawsuit also contends that federal taxpayer dollars that the state administers are also off limits to abortionists.

As the lawsuit explains, “since about January 15, 2009 to the present date, the Colorado Government Defendants and other Colorado government agencies have provided approximately $14 million in public funds to Defendant Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood and thereby have, in violation of Colorado’s Abortion Funding Prohibition Amendment, directly or indirectly subsidized Planned Parenthood Services’ abortion operations.”

Barry Arrington of Centennial and Natalie Decker of Littleton, two of nearly 2,300 attorneys allied with Alliance Defending Freedom, are co-counsel in the case.

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In announcing the closure of two Colorado centers in August, the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains abortion business claimed it does not receive taxpayer funds. That claim is false.

According to Media Trackers:

The Colorado Constitution clearly states that public funding of abortion is forbidden, but four separate Colorado state departments are listed as financially supporting the most public advocate for abortion in the state. Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains (PPRM) has received $10 million from the state between fiscal years 2009 and 2012. Upon request, state department receipts documenting the payments have been released to Media Trackers Colorado.

The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, Department of Education, Justice Department, and Department of Health and Environment have all contributed state funds to Planned Parenthood.

While the state does not regulate or set medical standards for Planned Parenthood, they have spent millions of dollars financially supporting the organization. The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing has spent nearly $10 million since 2009 on PPRM services. Due to Medicaid rules, the purpose of these expenditures are hidden from public view.

According to the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, “Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is an enrolled Medicaid provider. As a provider, they present claims within an electronic system (MMIS) and those claims are approved for payment in the MMIS. This is an electronic system, and there are no documents routinely generated by the system.”

The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing did provide Media Trackers Colorado with ad hoc reports which have been prepared for internal use. These documents reveal claim payments from Planned Parenthood that are eligible for federal financial compensation. PPRM’s expenses in the state of Colorado are for medical equipment, medical tools, and a lengthy list of contraceptive drugs (some of the contraceptive expenses exceed $600,000). Several of these records are from fiscal year 2008-2009, before contraception became part of the political debate.

The Department of Human Services’ receipts for 2012-2013 are for PPRM services such as relationship classes, classes for youth, and a $4,500 expense for a Preparation Conference Honorarium. These programs paid for by the state include topics about contraception, sexually transmitted diseases/infections, pregnancy options, and healthy relationships, among other things. The Department of Human Services has sent nearly $5,000 to Planned Parenthood since fiscal year 2009.

The Justice Department has also used PPRM’s educational services with receipts for classes on contraception, healthy relationships, and “refusal kills.” The costs add up to over $1,100 since 2010.

The Department of Health and Environment specifically noted that they do not regulate or license PPRM’s health services although they regulate and license the majority of health clinics in the state of Colorado. The Department has contributed over $3 million to Planned Parenthood since 2009.

While Planned Parenthood and those who advocate on their behalf will no doubt claim that the money spent by the state doesn’t directly fund abortions, critics will note that money is a fungible asset. Taxpayer money sent to Planned Parenthood may not directly fund abortions, but it can be used to offset costs elsewhere within the organization while other funds with fewer or no strings attached can be used to directly subsidize activities like abortion.