In her testimony before Congress, Planned Parenthood CEP Cecile Richards repeatedly insisted that federal law already prohibits Planned Parenthood from using tax dollars for abortions. The Hyde Amendment does prohibit Planned Parenthood from billing federal taxpayers for any abortion except those for rape or incest, or that are necessary to save the mother’s life. These exceptions are so exceedingly rare that states will report only a handful of those Medicaid-paid abortions annually—if any at all.
But it is also undeniably true that taxpayer dollars have been and are paid to Planned Parenthood for abortions and to subsidize abortions. Since money is fungible, when Planned Parenthood is receiving over a half billion dollars annually—well over $127 million of that “excess revenue”—taxpayers are effectively freeing up other funds to pay for Planned Parenthood’s abortion business. Other than Planned Parenthood pledges, we have no evidence that taxpayer dollars aren’t keeping the lights on and running the water in the abortion room.
One important admission from Richards’ testimony is that a shocking 86 percent of Planned Parenthood’s non-government revenue stream is from abortion. That abortion revenue appears to make up a sizable part of the $765 million profit Planned Parenthood has made over the last decade. More troubling still, in several instances Planned Parenthood directly billed and bills taxpayers for elective abortions.
1. State Medicaid Abortion Funding Mandates
The Hyde Amendment does not prevent states from making taxpayers pay for elective abortions, and many states are effectively doing this through their Medicaid programs. Thus, in 17 states taxpayers are compelled to pay for most abortions. In California alone, it appears taxpayers are paying for roughly 80,000 abortions per year—in the state where StemExpress has been buying infant body parts from Planned Parenthood clinics.
Richards intentionally and carefully worded her answer to say that federal taxpayer dollars cannot be used for abortion. She failed to acknowledge that an unknown but sizable part of the $528 million Planned Parenthood received from federal and state taxpayers last year was to reimburse it for abortions.
In fact, the largest state, California, has taken it several steps further and forced not just taxpayers but the insurance plans of churches (paid from tithe money) to pay for elective abortions. While this abortion mandate blatantly violates federal law, the Obama administration has refused to intervene.
2. Billing Federal Taxpayers for Abortions in New York
The Alliance Defending Freedom has compiled the known federal and state audits of Planned Parenthood and state family planning programs, revealing millions of dollars in waste, abuse, and potential fraud by Planned Parenthood, including a $4.3 million settlement after the Obama administration’s Department of Justice contended that Planned Parenthood had overbilled Texas’s Medicaid program. Some of these audits have demonstrated that Planned Parenthood has billed federal Medicaid for abortions.
New York requires its taxpayers to pay for elective abortions through Medicaid, but these abortions are still not supposed to be paid by federal taxpayer dollars because of the Hyde Amendment. But audits have revealed that New York, and apparently Planned Parenthood specifically, was billing federal taxpayers for elective abortions.
In 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General examined billings by family planning programs in New York. During one four-year audit period, HHS found that hundreds of thousands of abortion-related claims were billed unlawfully to Medicaid by improperly labeling them “family planning” and thus receiving the higher federal share of the reimbursement.
One 2008 federal audit looked at just a small sample of 119 Medicaid claims and found that 27 of them were abortion procedures. It also found that one unnamed provider was responsible for 25 of these, representing four different services performed in conjunction with abortions. The auditors believed that this provider billed for at least 3,900 abortions during the audit period, improperly labeling them as “family planning,” and thus federal taxpayers paid them at a 90 percent rate. While these federal audits of state family planning programs typically do not identify the providers actually submitting the false claims, the HHS inspector general did identify “especially Planned Parenthoods” specifically as simply billing almost everything as “family planning.”
3. Washington State Bills Taxpayers for Chemical Abortions
A Washington state audit of Planned Parenthood in 2007-2008 found that it had billed taxpayers for a drug used in abortion. Because the audit looked at only a small sample of Planned Parenthood’s billings, this may not have been an isolated event.
4. Billing Taxpayers for Everything But the Actual Baby Cutting
Sue Thayer worked for 17 years for Planned Parenthood in Iowa, directing two clinics. After her employment at Planned Parenthood ended in 2009 over its implementation of webcam abortions, she became a whistleblower, alleging over $26 million in fraud against U.S. and Iowa taxpayers by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reinstated Thayer’s case last year, saying, “we conclude that Thayer has pled sufficiently particularized facts to support her allegations that Planned Parenthood violated the FCA by filing claims for … abortion related services.”
Thayer had access to computerized billing records for the Planned Parenthood affiliate. Among Thayer’s claims is that Planned Parenthood: “billed taxpayers for services and supplies rendered as part of the provision of abortions, including, without limitation, office visits, ultrasounds, Rh factor tests, lab work, general counseling, and abortion aftercare, all of which were, when provided, integral to and/or related to surgical and medical/Telemed abortion procedures and thus not properly reimbursable pursuant to the Title XIX-Medicaid Program.”
While no longer part of the case, Thayer also alleged that Planned Parenthood instructed women completing a chemical abortion at home “to report to the local hospital emergency room in case of hemorrhage or other serious side effect and to advise local hospital emergency room personnel that the client had suffered a ‘miscarriage’ and to seek Title XIX-Medicaid coverage.”
The result was that those hospitals would unwittingly bill Medicaid for services directly related to elective abortions, while Planned Parenthood would absolve itself of responsibility for the negative effects of its at-home chemical abortion protocol.
Contra the mantra of Planned Parenthood defenders, taxpayers are being required to pay for Planned Parenthood’s abortions. Our money is paying for what we’re seeing on those videos. Planned Parenthood’s abortion business is our business.