Politics & Policy

The Greening of Planned Parenthood

An opportunity for John McCain.

Don’t look now, but as the business Planned Parenthood is in (unrestricted abortion) becomes less popular, the abortion leader aims to distract. Cover will be provided by the Church of the Green: In Massachusetts, plans are for a “green” clinic, made of recycled and other environmentally friendly materials.

Dianne Luby, president of the Bay State branch tells the Wall Street Journal: “we’re trying to reposition ourselves as caring about their health, about prevention, about a sustainable planet.” She wants the abortion provider to be “much more mainstream.”

The inconvenient truth, of course, is it’s going to take nothing short of an abortion of history to change what Planned Parenthood is all about. Conceived at the turn of the last century by the leader of the eugenics movement, Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood performed about one in every five abortions in America in 2005 (the latest figures available).

Further, Planned Parenthood is a booming business. The Journal article this morning reports that PP took in $1 billion in its last financial report. According to the piece, about a third of that revenue comes from federal and state grants for low-income women. “The nonprofit ended the year with a surplus of $115 million, or about 11% of its revenue, and net assets of $952 million.”

Why is Planned Parenthood receiving federal funds, you ask? Excellent question. Planned Parenthood received some $305.3 million in government funds in the 2005-06 fiscal year.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain may not be comfortable talking about or be particularly interested in abortion — waging a crusade against so-called “women’s reproductive health” isn’t exactly his cup of tea — but he has voted against funding Planned Parenthood and he should run with that record. His campaign should highlight the first paragraph of today’s Journal piece while doing so:

Flush with cash, Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide are aggressively expanding their reach, seeking to woo more affluent patients with a network of suburban clinics and huge new health centers that project a decidedly upscale image.

Even if you believe that abortion should be legal and the federal government should be involved in contraceptive dispensation, surely, the upscale, flush Planned Parenthood can fund itself.

Regardless of where the issue rates in his priority list, Planned Parenthood has already taken aim at McCain, and they will continue to do so; its political-action committee is planning to spend some $10 million this cycle. Barack Obama is their dream candidate — he is the most radically pro-abortion candidate ever to run for the Oval Office; Obama even has opposed prohibiting clear-cut infanticide, because, in his mind, a just-born child should not be afforded the same rights as a nine-month old.

John McCain has an opportunity to legitimately use his record to differentiate between himself and Senator Obama in a way that will both help social and fiscal conservatives support him. Opposing Planned Parenthood funding meshes with McCain’s contention that abortion is a human-rights issue and his continuing campaign against wasteful government spending. Planned Parenthood doesn’t need or deserve federal funding. As Planned Parenthood continues to make news for lax practices harming children while raking in huge revenues, now is way past time to cut it off. John McCain has opposed taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood — most recently this spring, inexcusably but unsuccessfully tacked onto the war supplemental. He should make that known and make it mean something as he runs for president.

— Kathryn Jean Lopez is the editor of National Review Online.

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