The Corner

Planned Parenthood’s Choices Have Consequences

Planned Parenthood’s stock talking point against every effort made to disentangle taxpayer dollars from its abortion business is that lawmakers are “playing politics” with “women’s health.” However, as the situation surrounding the new Texas Women’s Health Program underscores, Planned Parenthood subordinates concern for women’s health to its increasingly radical pro-abortion agenda.

On New Year’s Eve, a Texas court ruled that the taxpayer-funded Women’s Health Program can go into effect without including abortion providers and their affiliates, denying Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary restraining order to force its inclusion in the program. Over at the Huffington Post, it was reported that Ken Lambrecht, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas found it “shocking” that, as he describes, “Texas officials are letting politics jeopardize health care access for women.” But a look at the facts shows that, as usual, it is Planned Parenthood and its friends in the Obama administration, not Texas officials, who have been willing to jeopardize women’s health and access to care.

Early in 2012, after the Texas legislature voted (in 2011) to provide a meaningful separation between the abortion industry and taxpayer dollars, the Obama administration threatened to remove all federal funding from the Women’s Health Program. If the abortion industry was excluded, nobody was getting that money. The Obama administration’s bullying tactics (which it similarly employed when the state of Indiana passed a law to prevent taxpayer subsidization of abortion providers) demonstrated that its chief concern is the abortion industry’s bottom line, not the women served by the health-care program.

Perhaps to the surprise of Planned Parenthood and its White House friends, Texas did not cave to the pressure. But unlike the Obama administration, Texas refused to use the lower-income women who utilize the Women’s Health Program as political hostages. Instead, Texas has created a new Women’s Health Program funded entirely by state dollars.

Significantly, as Texas launches its new Women’s Health Program, free of abortion providers, Planned Parenthood is ringing in the New Year by disassociating itself from any affiliates unwilling to provide abortions.

In its legal complaint filed against the State of Texas, Planned Parenthood confirmed that the “marching orders” for its affiliates are that they must be abortion providers to be part of Planned Parenthood. “[Planned Parenthood Federation of America] does not provide abortion care itself, but its member affiliates offer that service throughout the United States and as of January 2013, all member-affiliates will be required to do so.”#more#

Planned Parenthood’s complaint makes clear that it is the organization’s corporate choice — to require its affiliates to perform abortions — that excludes the possibility of any Planned Parenthood clinics from participating in the state-funded Women’s Health Program.

Moreover, Planned Parenthood’s intentional increase in its abortion business is not limited to expanding the number of its affiliates and clinics where abortions are performed.  

Abby Johnson, the former director of Planned Parenthood’s clinic in Bryan, Texas, reports that, in 2009, her clinic was given an increased abortion quota in order to raise revenue. (According to Ms. Johnson in her book Unplanned, “The assigned budget always included a line for client goals under abortion services.”) Ms. Johnson has said that her superiors gave her “the clear and distinct understanding that I was to get my priorities straight, that abortion was where my priorities needed to be because that’s where the revenue was.”

The expanding abortion business at Planned Parenthood runs counter to a two-decade national trend of decreasing abortion numbers. Even without further expansion, Planned Parenthood has firmly cemented its place in the abortion industry as the nation’s largest abortion chain.

Notably, abortion has outpaced other areas of “growth” at Planned Parenthood. Its provision of abortions is expanding not because Planned Parenthood is opening more clinics or otherwise expanding its overall operations; rather, the organization is becoming increasingly abortion-centric.

According to Planned Parenthood’s own reports, in 1991, “more than 3.2 million individuals” were seen in its clinics nationwide. That year Planned Parenthood performed 132,314 abortions, meaning roughly 4.2 percent of the patients at its clinics received abortions in 1991.

Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report notes that over the course of two decades the number of patients seen at its clinics has not increased. In 2010 “Planned Parenthood health centers saw approximately three million patients.” Although Planned Parenthood fails to publicly report the exact number of its unduplicated patients, and only provides an approximation, it is clear that with a steady, or potentially decreased, number of patients overall, Planned Parenthood’s abortion business has more than doubled. Planned Parenthood clinics performed 329,445 abortions in 2010. In its February 2011 “Fact Sheet” titled “Planned Parenthood by the Numbers,” Planned Parenthood reported that 12 percent of the patients at its clinics were abortion patients.

Of course, that 12 percent figure does not account for Planned Parenthood’s new directive that, starting in 2013, all its affiliates must provide abortions. Rather, it includes several clinics that provided only non-abortion services and that have subsequently renounced their affiliation with Planned Parenthood because of the new mandate. It also includes previously non-abortion-providing affiliates that are, presumably, in the process of complying with the mandate.

Planned Parenthood insists that it is entitled to taxpayer dollars while growing its abortion business. But polls show that Americans overwhelmingly oppose public funding of abortion. Laws such as the one enacted by the State of Texas ensure that taxpayer dollars are advancing family planning and health-care program goals, not the goals and agenda of the abortion industry.  

— Anna Franzonello is staff counsel at Americans United for Life. 


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