Susan E. Wills, Esq. , Assistant director for education and outreach, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, wrote this interesting piece at AmericanThinker.com
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) has dispatched a “Truth Team” to rally opposition to the Pence Amendment (H.R. 1, sec. 4013), a measure to stop federal funding of PPFA and its 102 affiliates. But not everything said by PPFA officials and sympathetic media has been the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
In the interest of an informed debate about taxpayer funding of PPFA, a few omissions and potentially misleading statements are addressed below.
Claim: “This is about women’s health more than abortion” (Cecile Richards, PPFA President)
This was quoted by Jonathan Alter in a March 14 opinion piece posted on Bloomberg Opinion. But Congress already spends billions every year for women’s health care, through Medicaid, Medicare and other programs. Defunding PPFA is about no longer coercing taxpayers to contribute to the nation’s largest abortion chain.
In its last reported fiscal year (2008-2009), PPFA clinics aborted 332,278 children, a number equal to the entire population of Cincinnati. Since 1970, PPFA has aborted an estimated 5,300,000 children, equivalent to the entire population of Colorado.
In an interview published March 17 in the Texas Tribune, Ms. Richards spoke at length about all the healthcare PPFA provides: “We see 3 million patients each year across the country. For 97 percent of them, we provide preventive care. Three percent are abortions.”
Yet according to PPFA’s own March 2011 Planned Parenthood Services fact sheet, 332,278 abortions were performed on some of PPFA’s three million clients in the year ending June 30, 2009. This suggests that eleven percent of their clients had abortions in that year, not three percent. But the best measure of how important abortions are to PPFA’s bottom line is the fact that abortions produce at least 37 percent of PPFA revenues “by very conservative estimates.”
PPFA has also expanded these lucrative abortion services, adding surgical or “medical” (RU-486) abortion to the services offered at an additional 75 clinics between 2005 and 2009. In that period, PPFA’s total annual abortions grew 25 percent, while other services declined. For example, prenatal care clients numbered 7,021 in the most recent year (down 60 percent in the last five years), and adoption referrals to other agencies numbered only 977, compared to 4,912 in 2007, (see page 7) a remarkable 80% drop in adoption referrals in only two years.
Due to this increase in abortions and decrease in prenatal care and adoption services, 97.6 percent of PPFA “services” for pregnant women in 2009 involved killing their children, and only 2.4 percent involved prenatal care or adoption referral.
Abby Johnson, former director of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas and author of the new book Unplanned, confirms the key role abortion plays in Planned Parenthood’s services. She quotes her regional director as telling her to increase abortions at her clinic in order to “get her revenue up.” Only affiliate clinics that provided abortions were profitable. The director reminded Abby that “non-profit” is just “a tax status, not a business status.” Sure enough, when the Bryan clinic began offering RU-486 abortions every day, profits rose.
Ms. Johnson’s account was borne out in December 2010, when news media reported on a PPFA directive that all affiliates should begin offering abortion services within the next two years.
Claim: Without funding for PPFA, women will lack access to mammograms, primary health care, and other necessary services
In truth, Planned Parenthood clinics provide no mammograms. They offer only referrals to health centers, doctors, hospitals and labs for mammograms. PPFA breast exams are done by manual palpation, similar to a breast self-exam. But as a National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus fact sheet states: “There is no evidence that doing breast self exams saves lives from breast cancer.” For that, mammography is needed.
As for primary health care services, PPFA clinics performed fewer than 20,000 such services in its last reporting year, an insignificant part of the total of 11.4 million services nationwide. Through state and federal Medicaid programs, low-income women already have access to contraception, as well as needed health care services-including testing and treatment for sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), Pap tests for cervical cancer, and mammograms-at countless hospitals, doctors’ offices, and over 1,000 federally-funded community health centers.