Since July, a dozen videos have badly damaged Planned Parenthood’s carefully crafted image as a women’s health organization. It’s hard to argue you’re for women when your senior officials are callously laughing about how they lie to women about killing their children, then admit they use the organs of those deceased children to make extra bucks on the side.
But with a fourth congressional hearing on Planned Parenthood’s fetal harvesting practices last Thursday, and more than a dozen states investigating the abortion giant, what exactly have we learned since July 14?
1. Harvesting Isn’t Just for ‘Research’
Planned Parenthood and its former partner StemExpress have argued that using dead babies for research is necessary work. This sympathetic Boston Globe expose highlights how this research has led to great strides in vaccines and other areas of medicine, though pro-life researchers correctly told my news agency LifeSiteNews that no altruistic end goals justify immoral means.
However, babies aren’t just harvested for “research.” Furthermore, harvesting isn’t just done by Planned Parenthood, or just in America. Indeed, it’s a standard practice of the worldwide abortion industry.
For example, a clinic in Ukraine was found to be using 12-week-old fetuses for cosmetics and beauty treatments for Russian women. Reports also indicate that in Ukraine, prematurely born babies have been sold for parts, and whistleblowers who exposed the cosmetics scandal were targeted by their colleagues. An investigator into the scandal—which may have included taking living born babies for experimentation—says she was fired for expanding her investigation.
Likewise, in 2006, a clinic in the Netherlands was found to be harvesting babies at 12 weeks’ gestation for beauty treatments for wealthy British women. The Karolinska Institute in Sweden has been experimenting on babies since at least the 1970s, according to various accounts, and a pro-abortion Latin America coalition may be involved in harvesting, as well.
Things aren’t any better domestically. Vicki Evans told me her dissertation showed a strong link between the cosmetics and abortion industries, and the pharmaceutical industry has used fetal cells for vaccines even as drug companies engage in similarly horrifying practices.
In 2010, pro-life groups raised concerns about a University of Wisconsin late-term abortion program that may have been engaging in experimentation. Most horrifyingly, aborted babies from Canada were used as a source of energy as abortionists shipped them to an incinerator in Oregon. These unborn children were qualified as “medical waste.” Once the media exposed this program, officials quickly shut it down. Similar practices have been found in Great Britain, and most recently in Indiana.
2. States Are Not Finding Illegal Fetal Harvesting—Just a Whole Lot of Other Stuff
Approximately a dozen states have investigated Planned Parenthood facilities. Investigators in seven have concluded they don’t believe illegal harvesting is taking place. However, state investigators have found many other violations of state laws in recent years and months. Court documents, lawsuits, and other information the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has gathered show that numerous Planned Parenthood affiliates have failed to report sexual abuse of minors—minors whom their abusers often forced to have abortions.
For just one example: Alabama officials last year discovered a 14-year-old girl had two abortions at a Planned Parenthood clinic in four months. Yet a state official not only told LifeSiteNews that he believes the failure to report was not done with malicious intent, but he asked our reporter to frame the reporting in a way that would put Planned Parenthood in a positive light. This is in addition to the undercover videos from Live Action that show at least one clinic worker admitting this is a regular practice.
ADF has also identified 105 “limited audits [that] have found a total of more than $129.7 million in waste, abuse, and potential fraud in federal and state family planning funding programs, the lion’s share of which goes to Planned Parenthood.”
While Congress hasn’t found much in its slow-moving investigations, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) hammered Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards for how the so-called “non-profit” abortion giant has used taxpayer dollars to offset its spending on a concert, parties, enormous salaries, and campaign and advocacy efforts.
Furthermore, even as Planned Parenthood claims it desperately needs your money, the “non-profit” managed to have “excess funds” (known in other circles as “profit”) of $127 million last year. That’s more than twice as much as a Congressional Budget Office report found Planned Parenthood received in Title X funding last year.
3. Abortion Really Is What Planned Parenthood Does
Pro-lifers have long known Planned Parenthood’s claim that only 3 percent of its services are abortions is totally misleading. It’s not just one non-conservative writer debunking the claim; The Washington Post’s fact-checker did the same, and even FactCheck.org grudgingly admitted at least 12 percent of Planned Parenthood’s “services” consist of abortions.
Planned Parenthood’s representation of how much revenue it gets from abortions is also misleading. Officially, only 15 percent of its money comes from directly slaughtering the unborn. However, this does not include the “contraceptives” Planned Parenthood hands out that double as abortifacients.
Furthermore, as a September exchange between Richards and Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming revealed, approximately 86 percent of Planned Parenthood’s non-government revenue that it defines as “health services” (page 23) comes from abortions. This statistic is garnered by taking Planned Parenthood’s reported $305.3 million in revenues and comparing that to amount of revenue garnered when multiplying the $800 abortion pill (which is far less expensive than the $1,500 surgical abortions done at many Planned Parenthood clinics) by the 327,653 abortions done.
This totals $262.12 million, or 85.86 percent of the total non-government health services revenues Planned Parenthood formally claimed in its last annual report.
Richards has likewise been cagy about whether Planned Parenthood provides mammograms. In 2011, she said that if Planned Parenthood was defunded, “millions of women in this country are going to lose their health care access, not to abortion services, to basic family planning – you know, mammograms, cancer screenings, cervical cancer.”
While this is barely, technically accurate, Jill Stanek noted at the time that the statement was functionally false. “I guarantee no one understood her to say anything other than PP performs mammograms, when actually all PP does is merely write down the name of a place to go for mammograms,” wrote the blogger and now Susan B. Anthony List national campaign chair.
Two weeks ago, however, Richards was forced to admit under direct questioning that Planned Parenthood doesn’t conduct mammograms. “We do not have mammogram machines at our health centers and we’ve never stated that we did,” Richards told Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah). Instead, if a woman requires a mammogram after getting a breast exam at a Planned Parenthood clinic, “you’re referred to a radiological clinic.”
PolitiFact tried to provide cover to Planned Parenthood on this claim even as it noted the abortion giant conducts zero mammograms, but LifeSiteNews U.S. Bureau Chief Ben Johnson set the record straight.
Speaking of care to women: Live Action News crunched the numbers and noted that the annual number of cancer screenings by Planned Parenthood have dropped by more than 50 percent since 2006, while the number of abortions has increased by nearly 50,000.
Planned Parenthood also claims that its existence and government funding are critical to the health of America’s women, a claim parroted by their allies in the media and in Congress. However, the Charlotte Lozier Institute and ADF have shown there are 13,540 community health centers compared to 665 Planned Parenthood clinics.
Not only do these centers—many of which conduct mammograms, and none of which conduct surgical abortions—outnumber Planned Parenthood 20 to 1, but there are also 2,500 explicitly pro-life clinics across America, including 1,250 in the Heartbeat International network. These clinics counsel women to avoid the damaging consequences of abortion, and a Heartbeat spokesperson clarified that there are 413 additional maternity homes, “each serving an average of 7 moms at a time with housing.”
Many of the 2,500 clinics offer free ultrasounds and prenatal care, and more than three-quarters offer courses on job training, healthy relationships, parenting, etc.—and we haven’t even looked at the 250 pro-life adoption agencies around the country.
4. The Abortion Industry Can’t Take Its Own Medicine
For years, abortion backers have decried undercover videos by Live Action and other groups, most recently the Center for Medical Progress. Despite these videos being released in full online, the abortion industry and its allies claim the videos are “deceptive.”
Yet as ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox noted in a congressional hearing last month, leading abortion group NARAL has engaged in similar behavior, ambushing pro-life clinic employees. However, unlike the pro-life groups, NARAL has never published a single video or any other actual evidence of its claims that pro-life clinics lie to women.
Indeed, a Maryland judge was so unconvinced by NARAL’s “investigations” that he declared Montgomery County “has put no evidence into the record to demonstrate that failure clearly to state that no doctors are on premises has led to any negative health outcomes.” He also noted that those who said a “misinformation problem” existed at pro-life clinics “were universally volunteers from a pro-choice organization sent to investigate practices” at the centers.
Later, LifeSiteNews exclusively reported that NARAL had conspired with Montgomery County officials against pro-life Centro Tepeyac, providing guidance that cost taxpayers at least $375,000. That’s just in Montgomery County. NARAL’s radical and dishonest agenda has been seen in Baltimore, Austin, New York, and elsewhere.
5. Congress Isn’t Going to Defund Anytime Soon
Sorry, folks. Republicans don’t have the guts to take a hard line, Democrats are obsessed with forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions, and the funding process itself is a complete mess. Additionally, Republicans who rightly see government’s first responsibility as one to protect life seem to lack a long-term strategy.