“Do you want to deprive poor women of health care?” “You know abortion is only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s business, right?” “I’m opposed to abortion too, but do you really think defunding Planned Parenthood will do any good?” Many of us have had conversations with others about the defunding of Planned Parenthood (PP) and have heard people’s objections. We wanted to provide you with some brief talking points on why PP needs to be defunded:
To say that PP is receiving some government funding is like saying the rain forest occasionally experiences rain. According to PP’s annual report, $553.7 million of their revenue is from taxpayer dollars. That’s $1.5 million per day.1 And PP hasn’t been exactly known for fiscal responsibility. PP affiliates have been identified as the source of at least $12.8 million in waste, abuse, and potentially fraudulent overbilling. Three federal audits in California specifically identify PP and only PP as the problem in state family planning and program overbilling.2 Do we want our tax dollars not only going to fund abortions but also being wasted?
Since the undercover Center for Medical Progress videos were released in 2015, PP has faced legal troubles. Two congressional committees have referred PP for criminal charges for illegally profiting from selling the remains of aborted children.3 Additionally, the undercover videos provide evidence of more illegal activity, such as violating laws requiring women be provided with informed consent, changing the position of unborn children to more easily obtain organs from aborted babies, and possibly partially delivering babies to better harvest their organs in violation of the Partial Birth Abortion Act.4
Lack of Concern for their Patients
PP’s motto may be “Care. No Matter What,” but it certainly does not give any guarantee about the quality of care. Many of PP’s facilities have been cited, fined, or shut down for numerous health and safety violations, such as unclean instruments, the illegal dumping of bodies of aborted children in landfills, and breaking HIPAA privacy laws.5 Additionally, American’s United for Life launched a new investigative expose, called Unsafe, about the public health issues created by abortion clinics. 39 PP clinics in 15 states were cited in the study for having been cited for health and safety deficiencies from 2008 to present.6 If safety and health violations were not horrific enough, there have been multiple reports of PP failing to report statutory rape, sexual abuse,7 child prostitution, and sex trafficking.8 What kind of “care” fails to report crimes and allows sexual abuse to continue?
Abortion and Not Care
PPs are not health care facilities where abortions happen to be performed; they are abortion clinics where other services are occasionally offered. From 2014-2015, PP affiliates performed 323,999 abortions. PP now performs one in every three abortions in the United States.9 Abortions make up 94% of PP’s pregnancy services, while prenatal care and adoption referrals accounted for only 5% and 0.6%, respectively.10 Additionally, while all of PP’s other services have decreased (cancer screening by 63%, breast exams by 56%, prenatal services by 57%11 ), its abortion numbers have increased from 289,750 in 2006 to 324,000 in 2015, despite the fact that abortion numbers nation-wide have declined.12 These numbers show that PP’s priority is not in caring for women’s needs but in performing abortions.
A Better Option – Community Health Centers
Where will women go for the care they need if PP is defunded? Local community health centers are already open and available for women and offer an improvement both in the type of care as well as the availability. There are currently 662 PP facilities. There are 13,540 low-cost, high quality health care centers. They outnumber PP 20:1! Additionally, these health centers not only offer the cancer screening, breast exams, and prenatal services that PP touts but provides less and less of, but also a number of services PP doesn’t provide, such as ear, eye, and dental screenings, mammograms, well-child services, and mental health services.13
I appreciate that I am preaching to the choir, so to speak—abortion ends the life of an unborn child. That is in and of itself a deep moral wrong. But PP also has a legacy built on racism and eugenics, and it unfortunately remains true to its roots. The goal of PP’s founder Margaret Sanger was the elimination of “unfit” or “feeble-minded” people, as well as minority populations. Today, 79% of surgical abortion facilities are located within walking distance of African American or Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods, and minorities account for almost two-thirds of all abortions in the US.14 Margaret Sanger’s vision is clearly still alive and well today.
There has been a great deal of media, press, and conversation about the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood. As you speak with friends and family, we encourage you to share this information and use some of these talking points to emphasize the importance of defunding the biggest abortion provider in our nation.
1. “Planned Parenthood Fact Sheet.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 11 Jan 2016, http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/hu¬man-life-and-dignity/abortion/planned-parenthood.cfm.
2. Quigley, Mallory. “Planned Parenthood Engaged in $12.8 Million in Waste, Abuse and Fraudulent Overbilling.” LifeNews.com, 4 Jan 2017, http://www.lifenews.com/2017/01/04/planned-parenthood-engaged-in-12-8-million-in-waste-abuse-and-fraudulent-overbilling/.
3. “Final Report Select Investigative Panel of the Energy & Commerce Committee.” Energy and Commerce, 30 Dec. 2016, http://energycom-merce.house.gov/sites/republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/files/doc-uments/Select_Investigative_Panel_Final_Report.pdf.
4. “The Real Planned Parenthood: Leading the Culture of Death 2016 Edi¬tion.” Family Research Council, Jan. 2016, http://www.frc.org/planned¬parenthoodfacts
5. Hawkins, Kristan. “Letter to Mitch McConnell.” Students for Life, 10 Jan. 2017.
6. “The Evidence in Americans United for Life’s Groundbreaking In¬vestigative Report – Unsafe: How the Public Health Crisis in America’s Abortion Clinics Endangers Women.” Unsafe Report – Americans United for Life, December 2016, http://unsafereport.org/wp-content/up-loads/2016/12/AUL_UnsafeOverview.pdf.
7. Hawkins, Kristan.
8. Family Research Council
9. US Catholic Bishops.
10. “Redirecting Taxpayer Funding from Planned Parenthood to Commu¬nity Health Centers.” Susan B. Anthony List, 7 Mar. 2017, https://www.sba-list.org/womens-health-not-abortion.
11. Family Research Council
12. “Planned Parenthood 2014-2015 Annual Report.” Planned Parenthood, 2015, https://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/2114/5089/0863/2014-2015_PPFA_Annual_Report_.pdf.
13. Family Research Council
14. Family Research Council
Written by AFL Administrator Robin Ferguson
Originally appeared in AFL’s Carpe Diem March 2017 newsletter.