- The Washington Times - Monday, May 9, 2011

Planned Parenthood receives more than $350 million a year in government grants and contracts, which is one-third of its entire income. Although technically it cannot use this money to perform abortions, it clearly relies heavily on public funds to run the entire organization, which pays high salaries to doctors performing abortions. If taxpayers are largely funding Planned Parenthood, shouldn’t we be allowed to know how much it spends on salaries paid to those working for it, including doctors who perform abortions and key executives?

As recently as April 20, the White House stated that President Obama thinks it’s crucial to allow taxpayers to learn more about contractors who seek federal funds. OK. Let’s call on the White House to demonstrate its commitment to transparency on how taxpayer funds are spent with respect to one of Mr. Obama’s most cherished beneficiaries of taxpayer funds: Planned Parenthood.

Mr. Obama should issue an executive order requiring Planned Parenthood to create a list of how much its abortion doctors and key executives earn each year. Of course, to allow for doctors’ privacy, Planned Parenthood could list doctors by coded number. But let’s have some transparency.

Wouldn’t the public like to know whether Planned Parenthood needs the $350 million in taxpayer funds just to provide lavish salaries in excess of a quarter-million dollars for its doctors performing abortions?

Mr. Obama said “Nope, zero,” when asked how much he would reduce funding for Planned Parenthood. He said he was willing to shut down the entire federal government rather than reduce Planned Parenthood’s budget by a penny.

During a time of high unemployment, runaway deficits and a slumping economy, we should know how much the doctors and executives of Planned Parenthood are making because we are funding one-third of this “nonprofit” organization.

Put your money where your mouth is, Mr. President, and require Planned Parenthood to open its books to reveal the salaries of doctors and key executives or change your “Nope, zero” to the amount of federal funding going to Planned Parenthood. If you won’t order transparency, Congress should step in and defund your sacred cow.

Joel Hesch is a law professor at Liberty University and previously worked for the U.S. Department of Justice in the Fraud Section.

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