A Case to Defund Planned Parenthood

If a picture is worth a thousand words, videos of Planned Parenthood officials talking about the abortion giant's practice of harvesting baby parts after abortion may be worth more than a half a billion dollars — of taxpayer funding.

That's about how much Planned Parenthood takes in each year from government sources. (In 2013-2014, it was $528 million.) And the release of the videos raising questions about whether the organization is illegally selling fetal tissue has renewed calls for Congress to defund the nation's top abortion seller. As a result, legislation to deny Planned Parenthood future federal funding is pending in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

When the House voted to defund Planned Parenthood in 2011, the billion-dollar a year non-profit moved into high gear to defend its taxpayer payroll status. The group went on the offensive with a $200,000 media buy and nationwide bus tour to stop the Senate from following suit. It worked.

In 2015, Planned Parenthood's response is mostly the same, focusing on its non-abortion activities. No one disputes that offering women pregnancy tests, STI testing and cancer screenings is beneficial. That's not the problem; it's giving money to an organization that commits abortions.

The abortion seller's current defense also tries to change the subject with a new talking point: The value of research using the remains of aborted babies. However, as this research review from the Lozier Institute reveals fetal tissue research is an ineffective and outdated methodology. And Planned Parenthood is not talking about that.

Even if Planned Parenthood is found to be in compliance with federal law, regarding how much it charges to collect and transfer fetal tissue to researchers, the larger question remains: Should taxpayer dollars go to an organization that destroys human life, then callously sorts through baby body parts to hand over to researchers? Should public monies fund a group that continually lobbies in favor of abortion, an activity that brings revenue into its own coffers?

Let's consider some facts about Planned Parenthood, abortion and money:

  1. Planned Parenthood is the nation's largest abortion seller, with almost one in three U.S. abortions committed at its facilities.Approximately one million abortions a year in the U.S.; Planned Parenthood reports 327,653 abortions in 2013.
  2. More than 1 in 10 Planned Parenthood clients have abortions.Nearly three million clients annually;327,653 abortions in 2013.
  3. In fact, the number of Planned Parenthood abortions has risen nearly 30 percent since 2002 ― this during a period of time when the number of abortions nationally has dropped.
  4. In 2013:
    • A pregnant woman going to Planned Parenthood was more than 15 times more likely to abort than receive an adoption referral or prenatal care.
    • For every adoption referral that was made, Planned Parenthood performed 174 abortions.
    • While the number of abortions performed increased, Planned Parenthood's adoption referrals fell more than 14 percent.

What's going on with Planned Parenthood and abortion?

Perhaps it's money. Planned Parenthood's annual revenue for abortions in 2013 could be well over $200 million – representing two-thirds of its health center income and nearly one-sixth of its total budget for that year.Estimate is based on range of the average prices advertised for surgical ( up to $1500) and chemical (up to $800) abortions and the total number of abortions in 2013 (327,653); calculation based on an equal number of surgical and chemical abortions as the precise number in each category is unknown.

Former Planned Parenthood facility director Abby Johnson says of her experience running a Texas center, "Definitely the most lucrative part of their business was abortions." In her book, Unplanned, Johnson writes that her clinic was one of a few in her affiliate area that committed abortions, "And those abortions earned a lot of money."

One of Planned Parenthood's arguments for retaining taxpayer dollars is that losing federal funding will cause low-income women to go without needed health care. However, your tax dollars already fund more than 1,200 health center organizations with more than 8,000 locations in all 50 states. These federally funded qualified health centers serve more than 23 million patients, providing comprehensive health care, including primary medical care, laboratory tests, X-rays, and dental and mental health services — far beyond the range of services offered at Planned Parenthood.

In addition to offering a broad range of general care, these centers offer prenatal care, screening for breast and cervical cancer, and voluntary family planning services — much like Planned Parenthood. And, these health centers outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics by 11 to 1.More than 8,000 federally qualified health center locations compared to more than 700 Planned Parenthood centers.

Planned Parenthood officials are quick to point out that federal dollars cannot be used to fund their abortion business. That's true. The Hyde Amendment places restrictions on the use of federal money for abortion, and those restrictions apply to Planned Parenthood. However, Planned Parenthood can still use the tax dollars for non-abortion related expenses, such as overhead and operational costs, thus freeing up other funds to promote and provide abortions. It's all about the bookkeeping.

In fiscal year 2013-2014, more than 40 percent of Planned Parenthood's budget — $528 million — came from government grants and reimbursements. In fact, Planned Parenthood has received more than 4 billion dollars in federal funding in the last ten years. Planned Parenthood doesn't provide a line item of how it spends our federal dollars; however, it's involved in a number of arguably anti-life, anti-parental rights activities worth noting.

For example, in 2013-2014, Planned Parenthood affiliates spent more than $33 million on public policy activities and another $44 million on sex education. Here are some of Planned Parenthood's recent activities in these areas:

  • Successfully lobbied for abortion to be part of the federal health care reform law — a proposal opposed by a majority of Americans.
  • Successfully lobbied to weaken the conscience protections rights of health care professionals who want freedom to refuse to participate in abortions or other activities that violate their moral, religious or ethical views.
  • Promoted so-called "safer-sex" education in public schools.
  • Lobbied to cut federal funds for abstinence-centered education programs.
  • Lobbied at state legislatures against commonsense pro-life measures like waiting periods before having an abortion and parental involvement laws for minors, measures that are demonstrated to lower abortion rates in those states.
  • Lobbied internationally to repeal or liberalize pro-life laws that prohibit or limit abortion.
  • Lobbied against the Mexico City Policy which prevents the use of federal money from being used internationally to promote or perform abortion.
  • Advocated for policies that erode parental rights, including no parental notification or consent for minor abortions or dispensing contraception.
  • Promotes "if it feels good, do it" sexuality for youth on its website, promoting a variety of sexual activities, including homosexuality.

An argument can be made that Planned Parenthood's pro-abortion lobbying and pro-sexual activity messages for teens are sufficient reasons to eliminate its federal income. The fact that more than one-half of its billion-dollar-plus revenue in 2013-2014 came from our wallets and abortion sales makes it clear that our tax dollars have no business in Planned Parenthood's coffers.

© 2015 Focus on the Family.