- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 9, 2017

President Donald Trump tried to make a deal this week, and it was really simple.

Planned Parenthood could continue to receive its $500 million in federal funding annually, if it would stop performing abortions.

It was a non-starter.

“Planned Parenthood is proud to provide abortion — a necessary service that’s as vital to our mission as birth control or cancer screenings,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood wrote on Twitter in response to Mr. Trump’s proposal.

But I thought abortions were only 3 percent of its service activity — and that no taxpayer money actually went to fund them. Now Ms. Richards is saying abortions are a vital part of Planned Parenthood’s existence, and the organization won’t go on without them.

It’s all mind-boggling.

Planned Parenthood’s prohibited from using federal funds to provide abortions. The Hyde Amendment, which was signed into law in 1976, bars the use of taxpayer money to pay for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, or danger to a pregnant women’s health.

Of course, that’s all a farce — a fact that was proven by Ms. Richards rejecting Mr. Trump’s proposal outright.

Since money is fungible, taxpayer funds are used by the organization to free up its overhead costs, so it can subsidize its abortion clinics. Money saved in one area, can be used in another. Other than Planned Parenthood’s pledges it doesn’t directly use federal dollars on abortions, there’s no evidence to suggest taxpayer monies aren’t what’s paying a clinician’s salary or maintaining an abortion room.

It’s also Planned Parenthood’s biggest business. Ms. Richards likes to talk about how the organization is a health care provider, in that it does cancer screenings (no Planned Parenthood clinic has a mammogram machine), birth control, and checkups — but in reality that’s not what generates their income.

A whopping 86 percent of the organization’s non-government provided revenue is garnered from the abortions it provides, generating a significant portion of its profit. Moreover, there’s been several cases where Planned Parenthood has, in fact, billed taxpayers for abortions.

You see, the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds from being used specifically for abortions, but it doesn’t account for state dollars, vis-a-vis Medicaid programs. Seventeen states allow for elective abortions to be reimbursed by Medicaid. According to research compiled by Toomanyaborted.com, in California alone, it appears taxpayers foot the bill for about 80,000 abortions a year.

Moreover, federal and state audits compiled by the Alliance Defending Freedom on Planned Parenthood have revealed staggering cases of waste, fraud and abuse at the organization — and examples where it was billing federal taxpayers for abortions.

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General conducted a Medicaid Integrity report, and found several states were improperly claiming federal monies for family planning services. California overcharged the federal government for the services, some which HHS found weren’t even related to family planning.

A similar audit in 2008, which focused solely on New York, found hundreds of thousands of abortion-related claims were improperly billed to Medicaid by labeling them “family planning.”

Planned Parenthood submits practically all of its billing to the state and the federal government as “family planning,” thereby obscuring the lines of what is an abortion versus a birth control visit, even further.

It comes as no surprise that Ms. Richards would absolutely shut down an offer by Mr. Trump to stop performing abortions. She runs the largest abortion-chain in the nation, committing one-third of all of them.

Planned Parenthood serviced 2.5 million clients in 2015, according to their annual report. According to Fox News, while that number may seem high, it means that 98 percent of women of reproductive age will never set foot in a Planned Parenthood clinic any given year for health care.

It’s an abortion provider. Period.

It’s time to federally defund.

• Kelly Riddell is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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