According to the SBA List, here are the “Top 12 Reasons to Defund Planned Parenthood Now.” My responses directly follow in italics.
1.) President Obama and Senate Democrats are willing to shut down the federal government to ensure tax dollars keep flowing to one of their biggest political allies. During his run for president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund endorsed Obama, marking only the second time in their history that they endorsed in a presidential election.[i]They poured money into his campaign and churned out volunteers. Imagine the reaction if a Republican president was willing to shutdown the government in order to prevent a single organization from sharing one penny in the belt-tightening all Americans are facing.
My response: “One of their biggest political allies?” Do you mean to suggest Obama got elected thanks to Planned Parenthood? Planned Parenthood’s support is great, but not exactly a deal breaker in his past or future elections. Per your own words, this is all about “prevent[ing] a single organization from sharing one penny in the belt-tightening all Americans are facing.” In the grand scheme of American money being spent, that being spent on Planned Parenthood is, as you said it, a penny in comparison. And yet, you’re all up in arms about it? Furthermore, is this about abortion, Planned Parenthood, or the politics of Democrat v. Republican, left v. right? Pick your debate, but combining them unfairly makes Planned Parenthood the scapegoat of several larger debates.
2.) Planned Parenthood is an independently wealthy entity. According to its latest annual report, it has nearly one billion dollars in net assets.[ii] Data shows that over the last nine years, Planned Parenthood has taken in over $500 million in profits.[iii]
My response: According to Planned Parenthood’s 2008-2009 Annual Report, they have $1,197.3 million in total liabilities and net assets. The annual income from Health Centers was $404.9 million. They received $67.4 million in government grants and contracts and private contributions and bequests. Their net assets were $1,014.3 at beginning of year and $994.7 at end of year (a decrease). Their total expenses for 2008-2009 were $1,037.4 million. Without donations and funding, spending every penny they had to their name, they would be at zero in two to three years at best, unable to do any of their work afterwards.
3.) Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion provider. One out of every four abortions in the U.S. is performed in a Planned Parenthood facility. Data shows that since 1970, Planned Parenthood has performed at least 5.3 million abortions. In 2009 alone, Planned Parenthood performed a record 332,278 abortions.[iv]
My response: Yes, it is. However, abortion services only make up 3% of the services offered by Planned Parenthood. If you want to take on abortion, take on abortion, but by targeting Planned Parenthood as a whole for one component of its services, you threaten the rest of the health care, education, and prevention services offered.
4.) Planned Parenthood’s business model is centered on abortion. Former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson has written that she was given an “abortion quota” and was even told by her superiors to double the number of abortions in order to bring in more revenue.[v] Abortion patients constitute 12 percent of Planned Parenthood clients — 332,000 of 3 million unduplicated clients in its most current report. 37 percent of all Planned Parenthood clinic income revenue is from abortion procedures, according to conservative estimates. Planned Parenthood has issued a directive instructing that all affiliates must have at least one clinic that performs abortion by 2013.[vi]
My response: As mentioned above, abortion services only make up 3% of the services offered by Planned Parenthood. If you want to take on abortion, take on abortion, but by targeting Planned Parenthood as a whole for one component of its services, you threaten the rest of the health care, education, and prevention services offered.
Furthermore, the information cited here comes in part from the Chiaroscuro Foundation, which is very pro-life. The information is not available online, only a citation of it. Is there any unbiased source that backs up the claims made by such a biased organization? In fact, they say: “Over the past several decades, the widespread availability of low cost artificial contraception and abortion have given people in the developed world the ability to disentangle sex and procreation. This power to separate sex from life has led to a generalized devaluation of human life, the legal justification of the killing of the innocent unborn, the moral equivalence of all sexual acts, and the gradual death of some Western cultures through low fertility rates. We fund efforts to reverse this trend, to reconnect sex and procreation, and to defend all human life from conception to natural death.”
So are we expected to refrain from all sex that isn’t about reproduction? What about the STIs and STDs such as HIV and AIDS that are prevented? What about non-heterosexual couples who need protection?
5.) More taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood equals more abortions, fewer adoption referrals. Claims that taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood results in fewer abortions are false. From 2000 to 2009, Planned Parenthood saw an 80 percent increase in taxpayer funding, receiving $202 million in 2000 and $363 million in 2009. In 2000, Planned Parenthood performed 197,070 abortions while making 2,486 adoption referrals. In 2009, they performed 332,278 abortions and made just 977 adoption referrals. That means an 80 percent increase in taxpayer funding resulted in a 69 percent increase in the number of abortions and a 61 percent decrease in the number of adoption referrals.[vii]
My response: The birth control and safer sex education provided prevents unwanted pregnancies, which prevents abortion. Are you considering that at all? Comparing these numbers and drawing conclusions and naming supposed causality is misrepresentative and misleading.
6.) Planned Parenthood is not safe for women and young girls. Recent undercover footage released by Lila Rose’s Live Action shows Planned Parenthood employees in several states willing to aid and abet in acknowledged human sex trafficking of girls as young as 14.[viii]The undercover footage resulted in the firing of Amy Woodruff, manager of the Central New Jersey Planned Parenthood clinic.[ix] It also caused Planned Parenthood to call for mandatory training sessions of thousands of its employees across the country on reporting requirements.[x
My response: The extra trainings are a good thing, not reason to cut funding. It shows that they are constantly improving themselves. Who else is working so hard for the populations they serve? Who else has the knowledge, resources, and employees to serve the populations they help?
My next question goes out to Lila Rose. Did you return as the 14 year old girl and try to get help? I personally could see the value in saying what the pimp wants to hear to get his girls in the door so they could be helped. I would also rather the pimp trust me enough to bring them in so they get the care they need than have him think my only mission is to report him and is girls so that none of them ever get the care they need and have STDs, STIs, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and no way out.
7.) Planned Parenthood opposes commonsense measures to protect women and underage girls. Presently, Planned Parenthood is fighting a bill in Illinois that would require its staff and volunteers to be mandatory reporters when they suspect the sexual abuse of minors. They’ve also consistently fought parental notification laws – all the way to the Supreme Court – which would simply inform a parent if their underage daughter is seeking an abortion. They’ve opposed state efforts to impose health and safety regulations for abortion facilities.[xi]
My response: See above. Would you rather the minor go untreated and not be helped because they have nowhere to go for fear of being found out? If an employee were required to report, for example, a young girl being raped by her father, do you have any idea of what consequences she could suffer for bringing him under suspicion? The horrors she could suffer for speaking out in addition to what was already happening? The health and safety of patients is priority. They need to know that can find that in Planned Parenthood. If not, where will they go? How will they ever get the help they need? The same goes for underage women seeking abortions. A girl could be kicked out of her house. She could be forced through a pregnancy she did not want. She could suffer abuse at the hands of her parents or caregivers. The list goes on and on. Again, these girls need to know they have somewhere to go where they’ll be safe and cared for.
8.) Women have other options for seeking primary care, contraception, STI testing, and cancer screening. According to the Chiaroscuro Foundation, in addition to the tens of thousands of U.S. doctors and hospitals providing this care, there were 1,048 federally qualified health centers in the U.S. which provide women cancer screening, contraception, and STI testing.[xii]
My response: WHERE?! Seriously. This makes it sound like accessible clinics abound for everyone everywhere in the U.S. That’s just not the case. And again, is there any comparable info from anywhere else other than the Chiaroscuro Foundation? And as far as U.S. hospitals providing the care, certainly, of course they do. For those who are insured and can afford it. 52 million Americans are uninsured. Take Texas, for example, where 3 in 10 people are uninsured. Hospitals offer a lot of services. If you were not insured, could you pay the costs out of pocket? If you were a single uninsured mother of three?
9.) Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms and is not a significant primary care provider to women. Despite claims made by Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards and members of the media, Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms. They are also not a significant primary care provider in general. In recent reports, Planned Parenthood acknowledges that it provided primary care only to about 19,700 of its 3 million unduplicated clients. These services have been trending downward for years, from 21,247 in 2007 to 20,235 in 2008, to today’s 19,796.[xiii]
My response: If the Planned Parenthood clinic near you doesn’t provide them, which, granted, most of them don’t, nor do they claim to, they can help you access someone who does. And some of them DO provide mammograms, like the Planned Parenthood of Southeast Iowa.
10.) Polling shows Americans don’t believe efforts to defund Planned Parenthood are extreme. A March 2011 poll conducted by The Hill, before Planned Parenthood became a critical issue in the budget debate, showed that Americans are virtually split in half over whether Planned Parenthood’s funding should be left alone or completely cut. Forty-six percent said it should be left alone; 42 percent said it should be completely cut. The poll has a 3 percent margin of error.[xiv] When asked specifically about taxpayer funding of abortion, polls consistently show a healthy majority of Americans, 60 to 70 percent, oppose their tax dollars funding abortion.[xv]
My response: So the people are split. Who breaks the tie? The government. (Unless it’s a case of a minority being oppressed by the majority, in which case representing the minority is in fact a threat to human and citizen rights as well as democracy as we know it.) And as seems to still be unclear, federal funds are not used to cover the cost of abortions, per U.S. law:
PUBLIC LAW 91-572-DEC. 24, 1970 (Title X)
“PROHIBITION OF ABORTION
“SEC. 1008. None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”
Approved December 24, 1970.
11) Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, was a strong believer in eugenics. Following is just a sampling of her documented beliefs. “In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation…”[xvi] Referring to immigrants and Catholics, she wrote: “[They’re] an unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”[xvii] She also wrote, “The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”[xviii] Planned Parenthood is carrying on her legacy today, centering itself on population control efforts. In a recently filed tax return, Planned Parenthood stated as part of their mission statement that they are committed to “a U.S. population of stable size in an optimum environment.”[xix]
My response: First, if anything were judged solely based on the ideals of its founders, including the United States of America, we have no idea of the current mission of anything. The founding fathers considered women and African Americans property. They considered African Americans only as slaves who were certainly less than human. Only white, propertied, wealthy men could participate in government. Does any of that adequately describe the state of the U.S. today?
The truth about Planned Parenthood is that they provide health care to those who do not have access to it elsewhere. It’s not about eugenics. It’s about providing access to those who need and deserve equal care.
12) Planned Parenthood has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of employee time in order to protect its government handout. Planned Parenthood has flooded the airwaves with TV commercials[xx] and radio ads[xxi] in order to protect its funding. Its employees – whose paychecks are subsidized by tax dollars — have participated in bus tours and rallies across the country.[xxii]
My response: As stated above, the extra trainings are a good thing, not reason to cut funding. It shows that they are constantly improving themselves. Who else is working so hard for the populations they serve? Who else has the knowledge, resources, and employees to serve the populations they help? Furthermore, if they don’t protect their funding, they might lose it. If your livelihood were at risk, wouldn’t you protect it?