Methodist Church and United Church of Christ Tell Senate to Oppose Defunding Planned Parenthood

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jun 15, 2017   |   3:52PM   |   Washington, DC

Nearly a dozen religious organizations joined abortion advocacy groups Wednesday to urge U.S. Senators to keep funding the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.

United Church of Christ, Methodist, Presbyterian and Jewish groups were among the 150-plus groups that signed a letter outlining their support of the abortion chain, Obamacare and Medicaid expansions. A group called NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice also signed the letter.

“We urge you to oppose any repeal of the Affordable Care Act, attempts to change Medicaid’s open-ended funding guarantee into a block grant or per capita caps, and any attempts to defund Planned Parenthood,” the groups wrote in the letter to U.S. Senators.

They claimed that defunding Planned Parenthood would deprive patients of affordable health care, such as birth control, STD testing and treatment, cancer screenings and women’s exams.

“This loss of funds will have a disproportionate effect on poor families and people of color who make up 40 percent of Planned Parenthood patients,” they wrote. “Seventy-five percent of Planned Parenthood patients are at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level and half of their health centers are in rural or underserved areas.”

The U.S. House passed a bill in May to defund the abortion group of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and repeal and replace Obamacare, but the U.S. Senate has yet to take action.

Efforts to defund the abortion chain have been growing ever since undercover videos revealed that Planned Parenthood may be illegally selling aborted babies’ body parts. Earlier this year, a Congressional investigation into the matter concluded with lawmakers recommended that Congress defund Planned Parenthood. Investigations continue.

Abortion is Planned Parenthood’s main business, and its leaders have refused to give it up to focus on providing real health care to women. In 2015, it performed 328,348 abortions on unborn babies, nearly 5,000 more than the previous year.

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It also receives about half a billion taxpayer dollars every year from the federal government. Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood leaders refused an offer for an increase in tax funding if they stopped doing abortions. CEO Cecile Richards called the offer “obscene and insulting,” making it very clear that abortions – not women’s health care – are the key “service” of Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood also is not performing as many non-abortion services, despite receiving increases in taxpayer funding over the past few years, according to its annual reports. From 2010 to 2014, Planned Parenthood reports showed dramatic decreases in the actual health services it provides, including breast cancer screenings, pap tests and STD tests and treatments. At the same time, its abortion numbers and taxpayer funding remained steadily high.

Legislation to defund Planned Parenthood would help ensure people have access to health care by redirecting tax dollars to community health clinics. These federally qualified health clinics serve low-income patients and outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities by more than 20 to one. They also provide much more comprehensive health care services and do not do abortions.

Pro-life advocates and Christians have been some of the leading voices calling for the government to stop taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood, but there are a few exceptions.

Religious groups that signed the letter, along with Planned Parenthood and dozens of other pro-abortion groups, include:

Bend the Arc Jewish Action

Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Jewish Women International

National Council of Churches
National Council of Jewish Women

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

Presbyterians Affirming Reproductive Options (PARO)

The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Union for Reform Judaism

Women’s Missionary Society African Methodist Episcopal Church

The key organizers of the letter were the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Health Law Program and the National Partnership for Women & Families.