Planned Parenthood always has been selectively proud of its abortion affiliation. But throughout the congressional debate over its funding, Planned Parenthood has worked hard to keep under wraps the fact that it is increasingly synonymous with abortion.
This week, Rep. Diane Black, Tennessee Republican, and Rep. Martha Roby, Alabama Republican, introduced an amendment - accepted by the House but rejected by the Senate - that would have prohibited the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, from receiving federal taxpayers’ dollars. And while this round of budget negotiations is concluded, the debate over the 2012 budget is just beginning. Taxpayer subsidies for Planned Parenthood will remain a key point of contention.
During the budget debates, the politically influential abortion lobby has tried to cloak its business behind discussions of women’s health, but very little investigation is needed to find the truth of the matter.
Planned Parenthood has been in the business of abortion since 1970. As one affiliate proudly notes, “Planned Parenthood of Syracuse, N.Y., began performing abortions on the first day permitted by the law.”
Since 1970, Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the abortion business has grown tremendously. With each passing year, it performs more abortions, even though the national abortion rate has declined steadily since 1990. Today, Planned Parenthood performs and profits from one in every four abortions in the United States.
According to Planned Parenthood’s own reports, 12 percent of its patients in 2009 sought abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics. In 1999, that number was 7.3 percent. Adoption referrals and prenatal clients decreased during the same 10-year time frame.
But if you want to understand how big a role abortion plays in Planned Parenthood’s care of pregnant women, just read its fine print. According to a “fact sheet” detailing its “services” for 2009, affiliates performed 332,278 abortions, saw 7,021 prenatal clients and made 977 adoption referrals. That means for 97.6 percent of its 340,276 pregnant clients, abortion was Planned Parenthood’s provided “service.”
Relying on financial and service data provided by Planned Parenthood and an average cost of abortion provided by the Guttmacher Institute - a former official affiliate of Planned Parenthood - a conservative estimate would find abortion accounting for 37 percent of Planned Parenthood’s health care center income in 2009. That is a far cry from the “3 percent of services” claimed by Planned Parenthood and its supporters.
For some federally funded affiliates, such as Planned Parenthood of New York City, even that “services” number is much higher. PPNYC reported that abortion constituted 28 percent of its “services” in 2008.
With a new mandate that all its nationwide affiliates provide abortions by 2013, and the use of Skype medical “examinations” to dispense abortion-inducing drugs, Planned Parenthood’s intention to continue expanding its abortion business is clear.
And while Planned Parenthood continues to grow its abortion business, the abortion giant is taking more money from the American taxpayer. In its 2008-09 report, Planned Parenthood stated it received more than $363 million in “government grants and contracts.” That is more than double the amount of taxpayer dollars it received in 1998.
It is difficult to understand why the profitable Planned Parenthood needs such a large handout from the American taxpayer.
There was a time when Planned Parenthood did not advocate abortion. In a 1952 brochure on birth control, Planned Parenthood responds to the question “Is it an abortion?” with the following answer: “Definitely not. An abortion requires an operation. It kills the life of a baby after it has begun. It is dangerous to your life and health. It may make you sterile so that when you want to have a child you cannot have it. Birth control merely postpones the beginning of life.”
However, during the tenure of Dr. Alan Guttmacher, who was Planned Parenthood’s president from 1962 to 1974, the organization experienced its “abortion-defining moment.” Planned Parenthood went from warning women about the dangers of abortion to being among the first to eagerly profit from its legalization.
And profit it did. In 2009 alone, Planned Parenthood netted more than $63 million. The abortion industry is not in need of a taxpayer bailout. The Black-Roby amendment would guarantee that the abortion giant get its hand out of taxpayers’ pockets.
The overwhelming majority of American taxpayers do not want to be in the abortion business. With passage of the Black-Roby amendment, they wouldn’t have to be.
Charmaine Yoest is president of Americans United for Life, where Anna Franzonello is staff counsel.