By Peter B. Gemma
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider and a powerful multi-million-dollar political machine. Hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding go for its non-profit “family planning services.” In truth, however, that facilitates Planned Parenthood’s political activities, underwritten by private donations, in support of politicians who keep the federal funding flowing.
Fortunately for the pro-life side, the Susan B. Anthony List has reached parity in political fundraising and organizational operations on the ground. Of course, it gets no tax dollars. And the Trump administration has been a great restrictor of the abortion giant with executive guidelines.
Recently, the Trump administration enacted a rule that would require family planning clinics to be housed in separate buildings from abortion clinics, a move that would cut off Planned Parenthood from some federal funding. The new guidelines apply to a $286 million-a-year grant, known as Title X, that pays for birth control and testing of sexually transmitted diseases for four million of its low-income clients. It requires the “physical and financial” separation of family planning services and abortion referrals. Planned Parenthood clinics will be able to talk to mothers about abortion, but not where they can go to get one. The organization receives between $50 million and $60 million from Title X.
Of course, the new federal rule is being challenged in court. Several state officials, including Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and presidential candidate/Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, have announced an intent to sue over the new policy.
Legal battles may not be good news because right to life advocates have not fared well in the courts lately.
In June 2017, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Medicaid Act “authorizes a private right of action,” allowing Medicaid recipients to challenge the disqualification of a health care provider. Louisiana and Kansas, which had stripped Planned Parenthood of state Medicaid funds after evidence that the abortion provider was harvesting and selling fetal body parts, proceeded to appeal the ruling to the U. S. Supreme Court. On Dec. 10 2018, by a vote of six to three, the High Court declined to hear the appeal, letting the lower court ruling stand. Justices Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch dissented. Instead of supplying the fourth vote needed just to allow for a hearing, Chief Justice Roberts and, in a surprise to many (not all) pro-lifers, Justice Kavanaugh, sided with the four liberals on the Court.
Meanwhile for Planned Parenthood, it’s business-as-usual and business is good as it is cashing in on the Trump era. In 2018, taxpayers were charged for a $20 million increase in federal funding according to the organization’s annual report – a total of $564.8 million in government subsidies. Planned Parenthood also received $100 million more from private contributions and bequests in 2018 than it did in 2017, with Warren Buffett, the investment guru, leading the way. He has donated $63.5 million to Planned Parenthood since 2014 through his family’s foundation. Planned Parenthood’s total net assets have increased from $1.6 billion last year to nearly $1.9 billion in 2018.
And Planned Parenthood has now ramped-up its abortion services. They are providing travel expenses and financial assistance for clients in states where abortion is restricted and regulated, to states where controls are loose to non-existent.
Curiously, despite receiving regular increases via taxpayer dollars and boosts in their private fund-raising efforts, Planned Parenthood’s services have declined. The organization’s 2015-2016 report revealed that Planned Parenthood served 100,000 fewer women in 2015-2016 as compared to 2014-2015. But their abortion machine is in high gear: 323,999 abortions performed two years ago, 328,348 last year, and 332,757 in 2018. Planned Parenthood has cornered 35 percent of the abortion market.
In 2015-2016, Planned Parenthood performed 83 abortions for every one adoption referral. The abortion giant referred about 3,000 women to adoption services during 2018, one thousand less than the year before.
Planned Parenthood’s new president, Dr. Leana Wen, has acknowledged that abortion isn’t just a service the organization provides, but the bottom line of their business: “First, our core mission is providing, protecting, and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care. We will never back down from that fight.”
What is the secret of Planned Parenthood’s success? The organization’s previous CEO, Cecile Richards, put it simply: “We have the potential to swing the vote and that’s a lot of power. The question is, what are we going to do with it? We’re going to be the largest kickass advocacy organization in the country!”
Planned Parenthood and its political arms are separate on paper (because taxpayers are forced to give the abortion chain over $500 million a year for health services). However, private and corporate donors direct their money into Planned Parenthood’s political agenda – and abortion business – rather than to fund the other services the organization provides. In 2018, donors invested $532.7 million dollars in Planned Parenthood, including $21 million from left-wing billionaire George Soros.
Planned Parenthood has some 40 corporate backers, including:
- American Express
- Levi Strauss
- AT & T
- Bank of America
- Bath & Body Works
- Johnson & Johnson
Federal law prohibits government funding “to pay for any abortion or to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion” (except in cases of rape, incest, or an amorphous ‘danger to the life of the mother’). That’s where Planned Parenthood’s private donors step in. Last year they bankrolled the organization’s $160 million expenditure on “public policy” (lobbying) and “movement building to engage communities” (grassroots organizing; there are more than 50,000 student members on 350 campuses.)
In addition, Planned Parenthood poured over $20 million directly into the 2018 midterm election. And there’s more. Because of its partnership with the Win Justice Coalition (which includes the Service Employees International Union, the Center for Community Change Action, and the Color of Change PAC), Planned Parenthood’s 2018 war chest actually topped $28 million.
In 2016, according to the Federal Election Commission, Planned Parenthood invested $12.6 million into independent expenditures – nearly all of it to support Democrats or oppose Republicans. That figure includes $2.8 million to attack Donald Trump and $2.4 million to back Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.
George Soros and his family are major donors to Planned Parenthood Votes, giving a combined $4.75 million in two election cycles. Last year, Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire and former mayor of New York City, contributed $1 million to one of Planned Parenthood’s political operations.
On the positive side, the largest pro-life political action committee that is a muscular match for Planned Parenthood, the Susan B. Anthony List, has matched the abortion giant’s financial clout politically along with its organizational skills. The group raised and spent some $28 million in 2018, which matches Planned Parenthood and its partnership organizations combined. The Susan B. Anthony List also marshaled enough troops to knock on the doors of some 2.7 million pro-life households as part of its grassroots efforts to get out the vote.
The Susan B. Anthony List has become a force to be reckoned with and one that, while largely ignored by a medial that is slavish in producing pro-abortion puff pieces, is making its presence known in political elections.
Of course, the newest and biggest asset of the right to life movement is the Trump administration.
Scores of federal judges who, by-in-large, have pro-life records have been nominated and appointed and the impact is now being felt. This month, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Ohio’s right to defund Planned Parenthood, asserting that there is no “Fourteenth Amendment right to perform abortions.” It reversed a lower court’s decision by an 11–6 vote, with all four Trump appointees ruling against Planned Parenthood.
Many federal government agencies and departments are creating pro-life policies.
For example, President Trump has expanded policies to ensure American tax dollars are not used to fund the abortion industry in all global health programs. The new Trump policy protects over $8.8 billion overseas aid from funding abortion. Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services established the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division within the Office for Civil Rights that will work to protect health care professionals who do not want to participate in abortion.
And the Trump administration has hired pro-life personnel.
Bethany Kozma, senior adviser for the Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment at the U.S. Agency for International Development, told the annual U.N. Commission on the Status of Women meeting that the “U.S. is a pro-life nation.” An overstatement for certain, especially considering the strengthening political clout of Planned Parenthood, but it rings truer than it has in a long, long time.
Peter B. Gemma is a freelance writer whose articles and commentaries have appeared in USA Today, AmericanThinker.com, and the DailyCaller.com.