According to the GAO report, the groups receiving funds during the eight-year period, under Title X of the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act of 1970, included the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which received $657.1 million in tax dollars; the Population Council of the United States, which took in $284.3 million in federal dollars; the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which got $93.8 million; the Guttmacher Institute (Planned Parenthood’s research and “education” arm), which netted $12.7 million; Advocates for Youth, which banked almost $9 million in tax dollars; and the Sexual Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), which took in $1.6 million in federal funding.
The study was commissioned by U.S. Representative Pete Olson (R-Texas), who noted that a majority of Americans are aggressively opposed to having their tax dollars go to organizations that promote or perform abortions. “Since coming to Congress, I have fought against unnecessary and excessive government spending in all areas,” said Rep. Olson. “It is disturbing that these organizations spent over a billion dollars over eight years.”
While none of the money was apparently used to fund abortions, Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council pointed out that receiving federal money for other “family planning” projects allowed groups that perform abortions to use more of their private dollars for killing pre-born babies. “By funding Planned Parenthood and their allies, we are unwittingly supporting an abortion organization and everything they do,” said Blackwell. “When taxpayer money goes to abortion groups for any reason, it supports the work of the abortion industry.”
Some groups, like SIECUS, don’t perform abortions, but they work aggressively to promote the procedure to potential customers of abortion providers like Planned Parenthood, pointing women to the nearest abortion clinic. And they do their work well. According to Planned Parenthood’s own records, its clinics around the nation performed at least 305,000 abortions in 2007 alone.
In an effort to put a stop to the federal money flowing to abortion providers and promoters, U.S. Representative Mike Pence (R-Ind.) has introduced the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act (H.R. 614). While this bill would not reduce funds going to groups involved in “family planning” services, it would prohibit government funds from going to abortion providers.
In related news, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted in late May to repeal a 1996 ban on abortions at U.S. military hospitals. Currently federal law prohibits abortions at military medical facilities except for when the life of the mother is at risk or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
Abortion advocates applauded the move, saying that the repeal would enable women serving in the military to have unfettered access to “reproductive health care options” that would otherwise be unavailable in many places they are serving. They also pointed out that abortions performed at military hospitals would be paid for privately by military personnel, and would not involve tax dollars.
“Every woman honorably serving our country in the U.S. military and the spouses of military personnel stationed around the world deserve access to the full range of reproductive health care available to women in the United States,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. “The vote repealing this discriminatory and dangerous ban is the first step to ensuring that servicewomen can use their own private money for abortion care when they are serving overseas.”
But Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who is opposing the repeal, noted that the expenses for abortion go far beyond the actual procedure. “When we hire abortionists, when we provide operation rooms and recovery rooms and nurses, all of whom would participate in the killing of that child and wounding of that mother by the way of abortion, that is facilitation, that is public funding,” he said.
Smith said that military hospitals should be “places of hope” and predicted that there would be an aggressive fight from pro-life legislators to keep the ban in placed. “We will stand very firm,” he said. “I believe there will be an overwhelming vote in the House to keep our military hospitals as nurturing centers, not abortion mills.”