- The Washington Times - Friday, January 28, 2011

In his State of the Union address, President Obama tried to inspire confidence and urged a spirit of cooperation among members of the newly elected Congress. But what the president neglected to mention is the prominent role Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, is playing in shaping some of his administration’s decisions.

For Planned Parenthood, Mr. Obama has been a promise keeper. And with hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars going to the nation’s largest abortion provider, the hard-earned wages of ordinary people are being funneled to Planned Parenthood’s bank account.

In 2007, after receiving Planned Parenthood’s endorsement for the presidency, Mr. Obama, while discussing abortion, announced, “But this is more than just about standing our ground. It must be about more than protecting the gains of the past. We’re at a crossroads right now in America - and we have to move this country forward. This election is not just about playing defense, it’s also about playing offense.”

In 2010, Planned Parenthood and the Obama administration were definitely on “offense” regarding abortion. Two key issues illustrate the organization’s impact.

Consider this: Planned Parenthood boasts of the role it played in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the drug ella as a “contraceptive.”

Several Planned Parenthood affiliates participated in clinical trials for ella, which, like the abortion drug RU-486, is a selective progesterone receptor modulator (SPRM). During pregnancy, progesterone is necessary to build and maintain the lining of the uterine wall. By blocking progesterone, SPRM can either prevent a developing human embryo from implanting in the uterus or it can kill an implanted embryo by starving it to death.

In June, when an FDA advisory panel met to consider ella’s approval, two of the four “experts available to the committee” were Planned Parenthood employees. In August, the abortion-causing drug ella was approved as “contraception.”

Its classification as contraception makes ella eligible for government funding under “family planning” programs such as Title X. Planned Parenthood is, coincidentally, the largest recipient of Title X funding.

Also important to note: Planned Parenthood is playing a role in the implementation of health care reform.

The health care reform law requires all health insurance plans (not just those participating in the state exchanges) to cover “preventive care for women” without cost-sharing. Congress punted the definition of what constitutes “preventive care for women” to an agency under the Department of Health and Human Services, which turned to the Institute of Medicine for “evidence-based” advice in making its decision.

Who was asked to provide “evidence” at the first IOM meeting on “preventive care”? Included among the many abortion-advocacy groups was America’s primary abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood urged the IOM to include “all FDA approved contraceptives,” a definition that covers abortifacient drugs - the latest example being ella, which can kill a human embryo even after implantation. Should Planned Parenthood’s advice be adopted, Americans will not be able to choose any health insurance plan that does not force them to subsidize use of these abortion-causing drugs.

Mr. Obama and Planned Parenthood have not been shy in announcing affection for each other over the past several years. However, less well known is the de facto advisory role the abortion-industry giant has been given by the president and the extent of the government funding it receives.

The true state of the union between Planned Parenthood and the Obama administration is one that Americans deserve to know about - because they’re paying for it.

Anna Franzonello is staff counsel at Americans United for Life.

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