Time to examine Planned Parenthood funding
WASHINGTON, July 15, 2015 — Lost in the excitement of the Iranian nuclear deal on Tuesday was the appearance of a video of a Planned Parenthood doctor candidly discussing the process of delivering and then crushing the skulls of aborted children, then selling their body parts to various facilities for research.
The doctor describes the seemingly routine practice of performing partial-birth abortions, a federal crime, in order to deliver a child in the correct position to most effectively harvest its organs for transport.
In 1916, Planned Parenthood was founded by eugenicist Margaret Sanger. She hoped to slow the growth of the American population by reducing birth rates and eliminating the “unfit.” Sanger, a Nazi sympathizer with some shocking opinions on the humanity of minorities, created a non-profit organization that has ballooned in size over the past 100 years.
Today, Planned Parenthood oversees a budget of over $1 billion and provides birth control services to over 3 million people in the United States. The organization is now the largest provider of reproductive health services in the country. Over the past 100 years, PP has done its best to create the illusion that abortion is an insignificant function of the organization and that the government does not play a large role in funding the enterprise.
Both of those statements are false.
Revelations over the past several years make it clear that not only is Planned Parenthood making some extremely controversial choices, it is doing so with millions of dollars in taxpayer money.
After the video surfaced, Planned Parenthood immediately went on the defensive, but the rebuttal was exceptionally weak. The group argued that the video had been edited, which apparently meant that the actual words that were said in the video meant something different. The full video has since been posted online and shows nothing was taken out of context.
PP’s response completely fails to refute the claim that the organization does indeed harvest tissue, including livers; it fails to refute that the doctor on the video was candidly discussing ways to circumvent federal law; it fails to refute the charge that PP routinely engages in the illegal practice of partial-birth abortion; and most importantly, it fails to convince anyone that taxpayer money is not funding this endeavor.
The media’s response was equally weak. Many major left wing outlets adopted the move-along-nothing-to-see-here mentality that usually clouds every argument involving sacred cows like Planned Parenthood. Notoriously slanted websites like Gawker and Slate posted rebuttals that failed to address key aspects of the video’s impact. Their thesis basically boiled down to, “So, what? It’s just tissue”.
It is not “just tissue.” Even if it were, the question of the morality of harvesting the tissue from infants who were killed by illegal partial-birth abortions remains. That in and of itself is abundantly wrong. The media have placed the burden of proof on journalists to find a smoking gun rather than demand that Planned Parenthood operate transparently.
This is not the first time Planned Parenthood has been dishonest. For years, the media have engaged in impressive gymnastics of logic to create the illusion that Planned Parenthood provides numerous services that people rely on. The reality is that in many cases, the effect of PP’s is significantly overstated.
For example, during the 2012 election, President Obama hammered Mitt Romney for suggesting Planned Parenthood shouldn’t receive taxpayer funds by falsely claiming that millions of people depend on the organization for mammograms. Planned Parenthood’s CEO came out in Obama’s defense and said that was the case. It turns out that Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms on site; they don’t even have the necessary equipment. All they do is provide referrals, which is hardly the absolute necessity the CEO and President made it out to be.
Planned Parenthood supporters have also downplayed the degree to which abortions factor into the day to day operations of the organization. The reality is that abortion is an instrumental factor in the existence of Planned Parenthood. While raking in $500 million in profits over the past nine years, PP has managed to perform about 300,000 abortions per year. That makes them the country’s number-one provider.
The media have done their best to assure Americans that the majority of people support unrestricted abortion, the position of the Democratic National Committee. The polls simply don’t bear that out, in fact, 8 out of 10 Americans support “significant” restrictions on abortion.
The millions of dollars they receive each year have recently been called into question, especially as it relates to how Planned Parenthood is spending those funds. Over the past few years, Congress has investigated Planned Parenthood several times to try and find out where their money is being spent. It has been an ongoing and inconclusive process.
Another reason Planned Parenthood does not deserve federal funds that low information millennial voters have glossed over is that in many cases, the facilities simply are not safe. The organization has consistently come under fire for not protecting minors. There have been numerous cases of PP failing to report statutory rape and serving underage children without informing their parents. In some cases, the alleged rapist has gone on to rape again after not being reported by PP.
They have done an extremely poor job of reporting crimes to authorities, which conventional wisdom would say is a fundamental aspect of receiving federal money.
Make no mistake, calling for the removal of taxpayer money from Planned Parenthood’s budget is not a call for “oppressing women” or “blocking” access to reproductive services. It is simply acknowledging that the federal government should not be involved in barbaric abortion practices that not only conflict with the religious beliefs of millions of Americans, but the basic moral tenets of every day citizens as well — Republican and Democrat alike.
Removing federal funding simply requires Planned Parenthood to raise private money the same way any other non-profit would, from people who believe in the morality of their cause and who choose to financially back the platform. The likely possibility that not many people will choose to do that is not the federal government’s problem.
Furthermore, there is nothing stopping any other organization from stepping in to perform all the same tasks PP provides that Americans agree are uncontroversial, while declining to imitate Planned Parenthood’s many flaws.
Eliminating tax payer funded abortions is by no means a fringe position. The majority of Americans, according to the polls, do not believe the tax payers should be on the hook to subsidize those who can not afford abortions.
There was a time in this country where tax payers could expect accountability from the government regarding where their money went and how it was used. Those days appear to be long gone. Surely, society can do better than the revelations that came to light this week.
Planned Parenthood has failed to demonstrate that they are using taxpayer money wisely, safely, and morally to the point where the very least we can do as a society is re-evaluate the need for the federal government to continue to prop the organization up at the expense of everyday Americans.