Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Federal Government Launches Investigation of Planned Parenthood

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A week after Planned Parenthood agreed to a $4.3-million payout in a whistleblower Medicaid fraud lawsuit against one of its Texas affiliates, the non-partisan U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has agreed to launch an investigation of the abortion giant over how it spends the hundreds of millions of dollars in government funding it receives each year.

The GAO agreed to the investigation after over 50 U.S. lawmakers demanded an accounting from Planned Parenthood into the specifics of the disbursement of the funding, which worked out to more than a half billion dollars in federal tax money last year. While by law no federal monies may be used for abortion procedures, which makes up a large share of Planned Parenthood's revenue, many pro-life leaders say that there is no way to ensure that Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers are not disregarding that prohibition.

“Planned Parenthood performed a record 333,964 abortions last year — almost one million in the past three years,” said U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.), one of the lawmakers who requested the investigation. “At the same time, they also received more federal taxpayer dollars than ever before — a record $542 million, an 11 percent increase over the past two years.”

Vitter added that “Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortions clearly benefit from Uncle Sam, but there’s no accounting to prove how they actually use that money. This GAO report would shine a light on how our tax dollars are being spent.”

Another of the lawmakers, U.S. Representative Diane Black (R-Tenn.), called the federal government's funding of abortion providers “a serious problem in our nation. I am pleased with the decision from the GAO to investigate the use of taxpayer money designated to any abortion provider, particularly Planned Parenthood.” She said that the non-partisan study of “how much and for what purpose these dollars are allocated to all abortion providers is necessary for Congress to ensure accountability and oversight.”

The Daily Caller noted that the latest request from the lawmakers is for an update on a study the GAO did in 2009 on federal funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. The legislators want data on all of Planned Parenthood's U.S. affiliates, as well as for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the Population Council, the Guttmacher Institute, Advocates for Youth, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.

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“They specifically expressed interest in the amount of federal funding the organizations received, the allocating programs, the manner the funds were disbursed, the services they provided and the number of people served in each of those service categories,” reported the Daily Caller.

Another of the 50 legislators, Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J.), said that the ultimate goal behind the study is to defund the abortion business. “It’s time for Americans and especially Congress to take a second look and defund Planned Parenthood,” he said. “I’m pleased that the GAO will be investigating how much taxpayer money the abortion industry is receiving.”

Attorney Michael Norton of the conservative legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which assisted in the most recent whistleblower lawsuit against Planned Parenthood, told the Christian Post that it has released reports to Congress offering strong evidence of the misuse of funds by Planned Parenthood and other “family planning” organizations.

“We have been focusing on Planned Parenthood's waste, abuse, and potential fraud, and to identify Planned Parenthood as significantly taking advantage of well-funded, poorly addressed family planning programs in particular,” Norton said.

Norton said that audits and reviews of the financial data from Planned Parenthood affiliates, along with over 40 audits of state family planning programs and at least one audit of a state family planning organization, uncovered nearly $110 million in waste, abuse, and potential fraud. “Taxpayer money is only supposed to be used responsibly and for the common good,” he said, adding that Planned Parenthood “uses taxpayer dollars to pad its bottom line with little regard for the health of women.”

Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission pointed out that “for years, the abortion-rights movement has told us they are about 'choice' and getting the government out of their lives. And yet, taxpayers have no choice in their hard-earned dollars subsidizing industries many of us consider to be horrific violators of human rights. A thorough investigation would be a good first step to examining our national conscience about what we're paying for, and why. The abortion industry is big business of the most sordid sort. They certainly don't need a taxpayer bailout."