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Live Action Needed: Planned Parenthood’s Mission Creep and the Congressional Imperative


Continuing to keep pressure on lawmakers to act on questions American taxpayers increasingly have about Planned Parenthood, this morning, Americans United for Life released a report, “The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood.” The report serves as a tool for both the concerned citizen and the legislative steward, in knowing what questions deserve to be asked and why. As Phill Kline knew in Kansas when he raised questions as prosecutor and attorney general (albeit to his detriment), the willing cover-up of sexual abuse and trafficking at this federally funded billion-dollar abortion business is not a mere Gotcha! scenario for young pro-life guerrilla reporters with hidden cameras. There’s evidence of “systemic, organization-wide fraud and abuse” and a civic imperative for further investigation, as the AUL report demonstrates. AUL president Charmaine Yoest talks about the report and its implications:

Kathryn Jean Lopez: So if Planned Parenthood is exposed and defunded, who helps women and families?
Charmaine Yoest: An organization that is focused on providing abortion to women facing a difficult pregnancy does not truly “help women” and is not a defender of women. No matter how often they assert that they are. In fact, the Public Health Services have been set up by the federal government to provide health care for low-income women and families and there are over 8,000 sites nationwide that serve over 20 million patients.

Lopez: Your report states: “The burden of proof rests with Planned Parenthood. It must demonstrate that it consistently complies with federal and state laws.” Why? It’s a lying twentysomething and pro-life radicals raising the questions. Do it on your own time and bill.
Yoest: Planned Parenthood receives over $360 million dollars in federal and state funding — taxpayer dollars — in a time of economic crisis for our country. That’s a million dollars a day. ACORN was receiving just over $50 million dollars from the federal government — this is seven times that! There’s a question of public accountability here.
The AUL report documents that Planned Parenthood’s public funding has more than doubled since 1998 — and at the same time their abortion business has doubled as well. They continue to claim that taxpayer dollars aren’t subsidizing their abortion business; yet the evidence suggests otherwise. And the questions are not limited to the Title X Family Planning program dollars — the report documents cases where Planned Parenthood has been exposed for perpetrating Medicaid fraud in four states: California, New Jersey, New York, and Washington State. The American taxpayer deserves to have an answer to the question: “Is this pattern of abuse more widespread nationally?”

Lopez: Is your goal with this report to eradicate the conventional view of Planned Parenthood as “an organization promoting health for women and families.”

Yoest: If Planned Parenthood is concerned about women’s health, then why do they dispense the abortion drug RU-486 (which has killed at least seven women nationwide since its approval in 2000) in a way contrary to FDA approval? The FDA approved RU-486 for use up to 49 days following a woman’s last menstrual period. Planned Parenthood openly advertises on its website making RU-486 available up to 63 days, a full two weeks later. Even worse, Planned Parenthood has begun dispensing RU-486 without a doctor’s exam via “telemedicine” over the Internet. Instead of the three doctor-visit regimen recommended by the FDA, Planned Parenthood is substituting a video conference with a doctor using Skype. It’s appalling. RU-486 should become a women’s-rights scandal.

Lopez: There is a section of your report on the centrality of abortion to Planned Parenthood. Why should that move anyone? Abortion is, after all, legal in America.
Yoest: Abortion is legal, but there is overwhelming common ground among Americans that they do not want to fund it with their tax dollars. With the assistance of Madison Avenue marketing, Planned Parenthood positions themselves as “health-care providers” when in fact their business is rooted in abortion. And they’ve been steadily increasing their “market share” of the abortion business at the same time that abortion has been declining nationwide. Abortion is so important to Planned Parenthood that they have required every Planned Parenthood affiliate to have at least one clinic performing abortions by 2013.

Lopez: You make accusations about misuse of funds. Isn’t that reckless without knowing for sure?
Yoest: This report meticulously documents and sources what we know about Planned Parenthood’s abortion business using information that is publicly available. (And our appendices provide copies of the original sources.) Medicaid fraud has been documented in four Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide. We believe there should be a congressional investigation to determine how extensive this practice is within Planned Parenthood nationwide.

Lopez: What’s new about your report? Isn’t it more throwing every bad thing about PP at the wall until something finally sticks?
Yoest: While other media reports and investigations have dealt with Planned Parenthood on a case-by-case, clinic-by-clinic, and state-by-state basis, this is the only report/investigation to demonstrate systemic, organization-wide fraud and abuse — systemic problems that PPFA (the national organization), not local affiliates, needs to answer for.

Planned Parenthood’s misuse of taxpayer dollars and its refusal to comply with the law has been going on for years and yet they continue to fly under the radar. They are a billion-dollar industry — it’s not easy to combat those kinds of resources. Yes, we will keep compiling the evidence until the American public understands the nature of this abortion mega-provider. Here’s an example we document in the report: In 2009, the state of Alabama investigated the Planned Parenthood clinic in Birmingham and discovered that for nine out of nine minor patients they served, the clinic had failed to comply with the state’s parental consent requirements. Every single one! That’s just one example of the kind of lawlessness that Planned Parenthood pursues in flouting parental notification and consent laws and also mandatory statutory abuse reporting laws. We wanted this report to compile the evidence related to the abuse of real girls to support the evidence Live Action has brought forward through their undercover investigations. Simply because Planned Parenthood is ideologically opposed to parental notification, they think they can just ignore the law and they won’t be held accountable.
Lopez: Is this sexual abuse issue really real?

Yoest: We know from research reported by the Department of Health and Human Services that half of babies born to underage girls are fathered by adult men, and that the sexual partners of teen girls are often three to six years older. The victims of Planned Parenthood’s failure to comply with mandatory reporting laws will tell you that their sexual predator’s abuse is really real. In 2003, Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona was found negligent and civilly liable for failing to report sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl raped by her 23-year-old foster brother. Legal action was also taken against Planned Parenthood affiliates in Alabama and Ohio for their failure to report the sexual abuse of young girls.
Why is Planned Parenthood not reporting more cases of statutory rape and suspected child abuse? Why does Planned Parenthood oppose legislation that strengthens mandatory reporting laws and broadens sexual abuse reporting requirements? Abortion in this context becomes a means of hiding a crime.

Lopez: Why are you getting into something like ella and “emergency contraception”? Isn’t abortion a hard enough — and important enough — fight?
Yoest: ella is an abortion drug. Though labeled as “emergency contraception,” ella works the same way as RU-486: it blocks progesterone, a hormone necessary to build and maintain your uterine wall. ella, therefore, can kill a human embryo even after implantation. Moreover, as we’ve witnessed with another drug, Plan B, Planned Parenthood violates FDA protocol, and it also openly promotes the sale of so-called “emergency contraception” drugs to men. Why? There is no off-label use of these drugs for men. Is Planned Parenthood encouraging adult men to bypass laws requiring minors to get prescriptions, or is Planned Parenthood encouraging men to push a drug on an unwilling woman? Something that many people have overlooked in the Live Action videos is that Planned Parenthood employees not only told a supposed-pimp how to bypass abortion laws, but told him how he could buy “emergency contraception” for his victims — allowing him to continue abusing these young girls.

Lopez: Can this be a bipartisan venture?

Yoest: Just this year, we saw bipartisan support in the House to end taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood as members voted twice to stop federal funds from going to the nation’s largest abortion provider. Some of the most bipartisan budget cuts available right now are those that take the American taxpayer out of the business of subsidizing the abortion industry. An overwhelming number of Americans — whether they are pro-life or pro-choice, social conservatives or budget hawks — agree: Americans’ tax money should not fund the abortion business.
Lopez: How should states be using this report?

Yoest: In support of efforts on the federal level to investigate and defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, AUL has drafted a model state resolution calling on state authorities to look into the practices of abortion providers including Planned Parenthood and to freeze any state funding allocated for abortion providers, as well as to voice the state legislature’s support for similar efforts at the federal level.
Over the years, state officials have initiated investigations into Planned Parenthood clinics and subsequently fined or placed them on probation for their failure to comply with applicable state laws. Based on the known and alleged abuses by Planned Parenthood documented in this Report, state officials ought to investigate Planned Parenthood clinics across the country to determine whether they are in compliance with state laws, enacted to protect women and young girls. It is important that Americans know whether the Planned Parenthood Federation of America can substantiate that every one of its more than 800 clinics across the country complies with medically and legally appropriate standards of patient care.
Lopez: Is defunding Planned Parenthood your ultimate goal when it comes to Planned Parenthood or is there more to this? And why should anyone listen to you, knowing you’re ideologically driven?
Yoest: The report is one facet of AUL’s strategic plan to stop subsidizing the abortion industry, to protect women from the harms inherent in abortion, and to fully establish legal rights for all human beings. The report is a product of our legal team reviewing over 20 years of Planned Parenthood’s reports and promotional material, audit reports and financial statements, as well as primary source material from investigations into and charges made against Planned Parenthood and its affiliates across the nation. The report is entirely rooted in facts, meticulously sourced and documented — the truth stands on its own, regardless of ideology or political opinions. 

Lopez: You’re an avowed enemy of Planned Parenthood who has had them under a microscope for a while. Did anything your staff put in front of you surprise you?

Yoest: I knew about the Medicaid fraud issue — particularly the case in California — but seeing the four documented cases pulled together in one place makes quite an impression. You have to wonder why this issue hasn’t been investigated already. It speaks to the tremendous political power the abortion lobby has in Washington. I’m also deeply troubled that a legitimate business is getting away with dispensing a drug that has killed women over the Internet. And that Planned Parenthood sees “telemed” as a promising business model.