Despite a president in the White House and a Republican majority in Congress that is likely to disappear with this fall’s midterms, the GOP passed another federal funding extension that, among other things, continues the approximately half a billion dollars of taxpayer subsidies to Planned Parenthood through Medicaid.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and even President Trump, among many other Republicans, have repeatedly vowed to defund Planned Parenthood, a move the majority of Americans has supported for many years. Planned Parenthood and its affiliates not only don’t need any federal funds to function, but they waste what they do receive. Of course, even more important, killing innocent human beings is a crucial part of this organization’s business model, as well as extreme-left political activism.
This means Republican lawmakers have once again voted to spend Americans’ money on an organization that actively and egregiously violates their own platform and spends mega-millions to defeat Republican lawmakers. According to polls, Americans are divided on whether abortion should be legal, but the majority oppose taxpayer funding for it. So why can’t Republicans put some political capital behind a longstanding campaign promise that most Americans support?
How Planned Parenthood Spends Taxpayers’ $500 Million
Planned Parenthood isn’t the most transparent organization that receives federal funding. Still, they do publish an annual report, and from that—and a few other resources—it’s possible to see what they do with some of the federal funds they receive.
First, the Hyde Amendment restricts PP from using federal funds on abortions, save for life of the mother, incest, or rape cases. However, it’s clear from PP’s own reporting that abortions make up a lot of what they do.
For example, just last year, PP performed 321,384 abortions. To put this in perspective, they performed about 83 abortions for every one instance they referred a distressed mother to adoption. Although PP says they offer “prenatal services” and will often say their prenatal care numbers outweigh abortions, that’s flat-out wrong. They only offered about 8,000 prenatal services to mothers last year, compared to 321,384 abortions.
Because PP’s annual report does not explicitly describe where every federal dollar goes and has shown a willingness to flout the law in other aspects of its business model, it’s unclear if they are using federal funds on abortion in direct defiance of the Hyde Amendment or just frivolously spending what they take in. Pro-life advocates have for years pointed out that, since money is fungible—meaning what you save in one area can be spent on another, just like in the family budget—sending any money at all to Planned Parenthood indirectly subsidizes abortion.
It is clear PP wastes a lot of taxpayer dollars in trivial spending, besides in preying on desperate women and ending innocent human life. In 2014, following the release of multiple videos from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) showing how PP harvested and profited from the illegal sale of aborted fetal tissue, the House Oversight Committee launched an extensive investigation. During this investigation, PP had to turn over tax returns, spending reports, and other pertinent documents. These helped the committee determine not only if they were doing what the CMP videos described, but what else they were doing with federal dollars. They found, among other things, PP spends taxpayer dollars foolishly:
- Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards was paid more than $2.47 million from 2009 to 2013, including $590,928 in 2013.
- A significant number of Planned Parenthood executives earn in excess of $200,000 annually.
- Planned Parenthood spends millions on travel, galas and real estate, including nearly $14,000 a day on travel.
- PP spent $34.8 million in 2011 to purchase corporate office space two blocks from Madison Square Garden. It’s unclear why a national organization like this needs to headquarter in New York City, one of the country’s most exorbitantly expensive real estate markets.
According to this last year’s annual report, PP has also started to participate in the “transgender-hormone market,” and spends 19 percent of its revenue on non-medical programs and services like sex education.
Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Need Taxpayer Dollars
In addition to the House Oversight Committee determining PP is self-sustaining, their own annual report declared a total revenue of $1.6 billion at the end of the fiscal year 2014. It doesn’t take a supply-side economist to see that if PP is reporting substantial revenue every year, they don’t need funds from taxpayers.
Abortions turn a profit. That’s the grotesque but accurate reality, and it’s why, as former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson revealed, Planned Parenthood pressures affiliates to increase their abortion rates.
Planned Parenthood is also a blatantly one-sided political actor. Thus by sending it federal funds, Congress is essentially forcing Americans to subsidize politics many oppose. Planned Parenthood uses funds against Republican politicians, who tend to take pro-life positions (if not votes). In the 2016 cycle, Planned Parenthood PAC gave almost $700,000 to politicians. Of that, 98 percent went to Democrats.
In testimony to the House Oversight Committee, Richards said PP Action receives no federal dollars. However, the committee chairman at the time, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, said 2013 tax returns showed PP does “give” some of their federal funds to their own action fund and that PP gave $200,000 to a ballot initiative to help elect leftist candidates. In other words, in the case of last week’s omnibus bill, Republicans voted for PP to receive taxpayer dollars that PP will use to defeat those lawmakers in the next election.
PP’s own 2016-2017 annual report takes other blatantly political stances that oppose the desires of at least half the country:
Every day, Congress and the Trump administration push policies that undermine people’s ability to get the care they need to have fulfilling lives. We’ve witnessed relentless efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and block millions of people from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers. We’ve also seen an expanded and deadly global gag rule, a policy that cut off all U.S. global health funding to any international organizations that provide counseling, referrals, services, or advocacy for safe and legal abortion — even organizations using their own funding.
Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Deserve Federal Funding
PP promotes a culture of death and operates unethically and potentially illegally, which has prompted multiple federal investigations. Following CMP’s videos, the Senate and FBI investigated the organization’s harvesting and sale of fetal tissue.
The Senate Judiciary Committee investigated PP and issued a report, “Human Fetal Tissue Research: Context and Controversy,” published last December. Its summary says, “The activities of those involved, in the fetal tissue transfer industry potentially implicate a number of federal laws.”
Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told the FBI it should investigate PP: “The report documents the failure of the Department of Justice, across multiple administrations, to enforce the law that bans the buying and selling of human fetal tissue. It also documents substantial evidence suggesting that the specific entities involved in the recent controversy, and/or individuals employed by those entities, may have violated that law.”
David Daleiden, CMP’s project lead, said in an email, “Even as President Trump’s Department of Justice is doing their job following up on the criminal referrals made of Planned Parenthood for selling baby body parts, Congress seems unable to get the job done to stop forcing taxpayers to underwrite Planned Parenthood’s barbaric criminal abortion business.”
There is simply no excuse for continuing to fund Planned Parenthood. Republicans keep insisting Democrats will shut down the government if they attempt to defund it. Well, Republicans should let them try.
Democrats lost the last round of shutdown showdown by grandstanding about amnesty for illegal immigrants. Taxpayer subsidies for bortion are even more politically unpopular. Republicans should force Democrats to go on national television and explain why they are willing to ground the U.S. military to defy the American majority’s desire not to sponsor an organization that suctions tiny humans out of their mothers’ wombs.