Public funding of Planned Parenthood challenged


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which describes itself as "the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care advocate and provider," is underwritten by more than $300 million in government funds annually.

Now, federal and state office holders, as well as enterprising pro-lifers outside government, are seeking not only to uncover Planned Parenthood's practices but also to diminish its influence and public funding.

Pro-life advocates maintain that Planned Parenthood is the United States' No. 1 abortion chain, producing more than a quarter of a million dead babies a year and pushing for abortion rights without restrictions.

This summer, Congressman Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican, tried to eliminate a sizable portion of Planned Parenthood's government grants, sponsoring an amendment that would have ended funding of the organization under Title X, the federal government's family planning program.

The House of Representatives defeated Pence's amendment in a 231-189 vote in July, meaning Planned Parenthood remains the largest recipient of Title X funding.

The action, however, marked an apparent first. There had never been such an "up-or-down vote" on funding for Planned Parenthood, Jim Sedlak, vice president of the American Life League, said citing his congressional sources.

In a statement on his Web site, Pence said he offered the amendment to a Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services spending bill, noting that "millions of pro-life Americans should not be asked to fund the leading abortion provider in the United States."

Southern Baptist ethics specialist Richard Land called federal funding of Planned Parenthood a "disgrace."

"American taxpayers' money should never have gone to, and should not be going to, fund any Planned Parenthood activities," said Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "Pro-life supporters fund their own cause. So should pro-abortion forces."

Funding machine
Planned Parenthood's latest annual report revealed taxpayer funding now accounts for one-third of the abortion giant's budget. The organization received about $305 million in taxpayer money during the 2005-06 fiscal year, a $32 million increase from the previous year. Planned Parenthood collected about $70 million of this total from Title X. That amount is about 25 percent of the program, Sedlak said.

Record-high profits of more than $900 million mean Planned Parenthood is hardly struggling financially, but a decline in income generated from donations and clinic fees caused enough alarm for PPFA President Cecile Richards to ask for increased funding.

"Currently, more than 17 million women in the U.S. need publicly funded family planning services, and there is not enough funding to meet the need," Richards said in a statement. "Nearly 750,000 teenagers in the U.S. will become pregnant this year."

Douglas Scott Jr., president of Life Decisions International, called Planned Parenthood's bluff, in essence, explaining in a news release that the organization stores away millions in "excess revenue" each year. Reports show that more than $700 million in excess revenue has accrued in the last 20 years.

"This 'not-for-profit' entity ends every fiscal year with tens of millions of dollars in 'excess revenue over expenses,' which is known to regular people as 'profit,'" Scott said.

End the subsidy
Sedlak—who heads STOPP International, American Life League's project to shut down Planned Parenthood—said in a statement it was time to cease subsidizing Planned Parenthood's profits.

"The bottom line is that Planned Parenthood is losing donations, its clinic income is down, and you and I are being forced to pay more so the organization can kill our children through abortion and spread its perverted ideology throughout the land," Sedlak said. "It is really incredible when you realize that Planned Parenthood put every penny of the increased taxpayer money into the bank."

Planned Parenthood performed a record 264,943 abortions during the last fiscal year. The organization is now responsible for the deaths of 5,095 children every week, Sedlak said.

"To put these numbers into perspective, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor killed 2,043 innocent people and the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, killed 2,985 victims," Sedlak said. "This week alone, Planned Parenthood will kill more innocent human beings than were killed at Pearl Harbor or on September 11."