Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Should Planned Parenthood Receive Taxpayer Funds?

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Since Planned Parenthood has enormous profits, spends millions on lobbying, mainly provides abortions, and is a small player in women’s care, shouldn’t its subsidies be cut?

 

When I first ran across the expression “reproductive rights,” I naturally assumed that what was being discussed was the right to reproduce. I thought that maybe the discussion had to do with China’s one-child policy, where women were forced to have abortions if they already had a child. And when I heard the expression “reproductive healthcare,” I assumed that what was being talked about was providing mothers and babies with good healthcare. Upon further investigation, however, I discovered that those were actually Orwellian euphemisms, used by the likes of Planned Parenthood, that provided for the putting to death of human beings who were guilty of nothing more than waiting to be born. If one has read George Orwell’s 1984, then one is familiar with Orwellian expressions such as “war is peace,” “freedom is slavery,” and “ignorance is strength.”

Today Planned Parenthood expects us to accept the Orwellian notion that “abortion is healthcare.” But is it? If we look at the Hippocratic Oath, which embodies the code of medical ethics that medical practitioners pledge to live by, we discover that the overriding principle is “do no harm.” The significance of the Hippocratic Oath revolves around its unyielding devotion to the preservation of individual human life. For thousands of years, medical science has understood that abortion is a barbaric act of violence that kills an innocent human being. That is why the original Hippocratic Oath included the statement, “I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.”

Recall Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who came up with a universal concept of ethics that he referred to as “Reverence for Life.” When one stops to think about it, there does not seem to be much reverence for life in a Planned Parenthood clinic. Through contraception, Planned Parenthood tries to prevent life. If it fails to do that, then it tries to extinguish life. In short, Planned Parenthood epitomizes a culture of death.

When thinking about the ethics of a situation, one is sometimes advised to ask, “What would Jesus do?” If Jesus were to walk into a Planned Parenthood clinic and witness an abortion, what do you suppose his reaction would be? Some find it easiest to simply dismiss the question by saying that the New Testament does not mention abortion. The New Testament does not mention child rape, either, but there is little doubt about how Jesus would feel about that (or about abortion).

Nowadays, we also hear the expression “pro choice,” which conveniently ignores the fact that the baby has no choice. When we are in a position to save an innocent and defenseless human being but instead use our position of power to help to exterminate that human life (through our tax dollars), are we not assisting in the ultimate act of tyranny? And isn’t opposing tyranny one of the basic principles upon which our nation was founded? In that case, the federal government should not be coercively taking money from us and handing it over to an organization that engages in what is essentially the most evil act known to humanity.

Another one of the basic principles upon which our nation was founded is the right to life. In fact, it is the most fundamental of all rights because, without the right to life, no other rights can exist. So, how is it that the Supreme Court, in its notorious Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, declared that there is a right to an abortion, but not a right to life? This makes no sense at all. But then, Supreme Court justices are not infallible. If they were, then all Supreme Court decisions would be decided by a vote of 9-0. All too often, activist judges ignore the U.S. Constitution (and in this case even one of the 10 Commandments: “Thou shalt not commit murder”) and just make up their own laws out of thin air to conform to their own political agenda.

By law, federal funding cannot be allocated for abortions (outside of certain exceptional cases), but allocating money to Planned Parenthood for the provision of other medical services allows other funds to be re-allocated for abortions. It is all about creative bookkeeping. In the end, this is just a sleight-of-hand way of using taxpayer money to fund abortions.

Furthermore, Planned Parenthood spends money on politics and elections through the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, through its Super PAC, and through a variety of other affiliated entities. In the 2014 election cycle, Planned Parenthood spent more than $6.5 million on contributions to candidates and political parties, overwhelmingly to Democrats, even though it claims to be non-partisan. Hence, taxpayer money helps Planned Parenthood to buy political influence. Keep in mind that Planned Parenthood is a tax-exempt organization. So why would it need to buy political influence? Apparently, to ensure that it is allowed to keep on riding the taxpayer gravy train.

The release of videos by David Daleiden and his Center for Medical Progress in 2015, which showed Planned Parenthood officials talking about its practice of harvesting baby parts after abortions, shocked the nation. The videos were secretly filmed with actors posing as employees of a biotech firm looking to buy the body parts. Viewers were sickened by the cavalier manner in which Planned Parenthood abortionist Deborah Nucatola sipped her wine and munched on a salad while describing how she can kill a baby without mangling the organs that can be sold for financial gain. Then there is abortionist Mary Gatter, the president of Planned Parenthood’s Medical Director’s Council, who says in the video that she wants to make enough money to buy a Lamborghini (a sports car costing about $400,000 new). There is a lot of truth to the biblical admonition that the love of money is the root of all evil!

Those videos raised questions about whether Planned Parenthood is illegally selling fetal tissue. As a result, legislation to deny Planned Parenthood future federal funding is pending in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.  When the House voted to defund Planned Parenthood in 2011, the group went on the offensive with a $200,000 media campaign and nationwide bus tour (arguably at least partially subsidized by the taxpayer) to stop the Senate from following suit. It worked.

Planned Parenthood’s defense has always been pretty much the same, namely, focusing on its non-abortion activities. No one disputes the benefit of offering women pregnancy tests, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and screening for cancer. That’s not the problem. But, one, the federal government has no constitutional authority to give money for any of the above; and, two, it’s a problem giving taxpayer money to an organization that performs abortions.

Planned Parenthood’s current defense tries to change the subject with a new talking point: The value of research using the remains of aborted babies. And that leads to the use of another Orwellian euphemism, namely, “fetal tissue research.” By referring to the unborn child as a “fetus,” supporters of abortion-on-demand try to make the child growing inside the womb seem to be less than completely human. That way, when they get around to taking that child’s life, they can do it with a clear conscience and pretend that they are not committing murder. But “fetus” is simply the Latin word for offspring, so using that term is little more than a lame attempt to disguise a crime against humanity. In any case, a 2015 research review from the Lozier Institute reveals that fetal tissue research is an ineffective and outdated methodology and that alternatives exist that do not present the questionable ethical issues that fetal tissue research does.

Even if Planned Parenthood is found to be in compliance with federal law regarding how much it charges to collect and transfer fetal tissue to researchers, the larger question still remains: Should taxpayer money go to an organization that destroys human life, then callously sorts through a baby’s body parts to hand over to researchers? Should public funds be given to a group that continually lobbies in favor of abortion, an activity that brings revenue into its own coffers?

Let us consider some facts about Planned Parenthood, abortion, and money:

• Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider, with almost one in three U.S. abortions committed in its facilities.

• More than 10 percent of Planned Parenthood clients have abortions.

• The number of Planned Parenthood abortions has risen nearly 30 percent since 2002, during a period of time when the number of abortions has dropped ­nationwide.

• In 2013, for every adoption referral that was made, Planned Parenthood performed 174 abortions, and while the number of abortions performed in its clinics increased, Planned Parenthood’s adoption referrals fell by more than 14 percent.

So what is going on with Planned Parenthood and abortion? As secret informant Deep Throat allegedly told Washington Post investigative reporter Bob Woodward during the Nixon administration’s Watergate scandal, “Follow the money.” Planned Parenthood’s annual revenue for abortions is estimated to be well over $200 million, and provides the funding for about one-sixth of its total annual budget.

Former Planned Parenthood facility director Abby Johnson had this to say about her experience running a Texas clinic:  “Definitely the most lucrative part of their business was abortions.” In her book, Unplanned, Johnson writes that her clinic was one of a few in her area that performed abortions, “And those abortions earned a lot of money.”

In fiscal year 2013-2014, more than 40 percent of Planned Parenthood’s budget was funded by government grants and reimbursements, which amounted to $528 million. Planned Parenthood has received more than four billion dollars in federal funding over the last 10 years. Planned Parenthood does not provide a line-item breakdown as to how it spends our federal dollars. However, it is involved in a number of arguably anti-life, anti-parental rights activities worth noting.

For example, in 2013-2014, Planned Parenthood affiliates spent more than $33 million on public-policy activities, and another $44 million on sex education. Here are some of Planned Parenthood’s recent activities in those areas:

• Successfully lobbied for abortion to be part of the federal healthcare reform law, which was opposed by a majority of Americans.

• Successfully lobbied to weaken the conscience protection rights of healthcare professionals who want to be able to refuse to participate in abortions or other activities that violate their moral, religious, or ethical views.

• Lobbied to cut federal funds for sexual education programs promoting abstinence.

• Lobbied against pro-life measures at the state level, such as waiting periods before having an abortion and parental involvement laws for minors, measures that are demonstrated to lower abortion rates.

• Lobbied internationally to repeal or liberalize pro-life laws that prohibit or limit abortion.

• Lobbied against the Mexico City Policy, which prevents the use of federal money from being used internationally to promote or perform abortion.

• Advocated for policies that erode parental rights, including no parental notification or consent for abortions or dispensing contraception.

• Promotes “if it feels good, do it” sexuality for youth on its website, promoting a variety of sexual activities.

An argument can be made that Planned Parenthood’s pro-abortion lobbying and pro-sexual activity messages for teens are sufficient reasons to eliminate its federal funding. But the fact that more than half of its revenue in 2013-2014 came from our wallets and from performing abortions makes it even more clear that our tax dollars have no business in Planned Parenthood’s bank account.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has claimed that if her organization lost its government funding, millions of American women would have nowhere else to go for healthcare. That falsehood is tangled up with another common fairy tale, namely, that Planned Parenthood provides very few abortions and largely focuses on a vast array of other, truly necessary services.

“We’re really proud at Planned Parenthood to provide women all their reproductive healthcare, and we always will,” Richards has declared. “This is an issue of access to healthcare, of a wide swath of healthcare. And for many folks, we’re their only healthcare. [Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives] Paul Ryan is saying, ‘We’re going to end that.’”

That is Planned Parenthood’s most common rhetorical strategy, and it is easy to see why it is so effective. In reality, though, Planned Parenthood’s claim to provide numerous types of essential healthcare is highly misleading, and much of the care women receive at its clinics could easily be obtained elsewhere. For one thing, the group’s assertion that abortion is only three percent of the services it provides has been debunked by left-leaning outlets such as the online magazine Slate and the Washington Post, and the deception underlying that statistic was explained at length by Rich Lowry in Politico in 2015. Here is an excerpt:

The three percent figure is an artifice and a dodge, but even taking it on its own terms, it’s not much of a defense. Only Planned Parenthood would think saying that they only kill babies three percent of the time is something to brag about. How much credit would we give someone for saying he only drives drunk three percent of the time, or only cheats on business trips three percent of the time, or only hits his wife during three percent of domestic disputes? The three percent factoid is crafted to obscure the reality of Planned Parenthood’s business. The group performs about 330,000 abortions a year, or roughly 30 percent of all the abortions in the country.

An accurate assessment of the group’s abortion numbers reveals that nearly one in eight women who visits a Planned Parenthood clinic obtains an abortion. To obscure that fact, Planned Parenthood consistently overstates its other, supposedly crucial services, falsely claiming to provide mammograms and exaggerating its commitment to prenatal care. In fact, the group provides less than one percent of the nation’s Pap tests and less than two percent of its breast exams and cancer screenings, while at the same time providing almost a third of its abortions.

Even though thousands of federally qualified healthcare centers (FQHCs) across the country are able to provide women with numerous necessary services, many of which are more essential than those offered by Planned Parenthood, Richards maintains that FQHCs cannot handle the volume of patients currently served by Planned Parenthood and that women will lose healthcare access if the organization is defunded. This is difficult to believe, given that 13,540 FQHCs and rural healthcare clinics operate in all 50 states, whereas Planned Parenthood operates only 665 facilities. In other words, community clinics outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics by a ratio of 20 to one.

Planned Parenthood executives claim that low-income women in rural areas will be harmed if the abortion group is defunded. But consider the rural state of Nebraska, for example, which has a total of two Planned Parenthood clinics and 167 FQHCs. How could it be possible that two Planned Parenthood clinics serve so many women that 167 healthcare centers would be overwhelmed by taking on the patients from those two facilities? Even in California, the state with the most Planned Parenthood clinics, the abortion provider has only 114 centers, compared with 1,694 community health clinics.

In addition, Richards claims that the Republican Party does not care about women and that, in trying to remove government funding from Planned Parenthood, Republicans are playing partisan politics with women’s healthcare. What Richards conveniently overlooks is that half of the babies that the Republicans want to save are female! In other words, if anyone is making a political game out of women’s healthcare, it is Planned Parenthood and its Democratic allies, who demand that the government subsidize healthcare that the group has bundled together with highly controversial and fundamentally immoral abortion procedures.

If Planned Parenthood stopped performing abortions, few in either political party would object to funding the organization (even though it is unconstitutional to fund it at the federal level). Republicans at every level support reimbursing FQHCs to provide necessary care that does not include abortions. If Planned Parenthood sees itself as so valuable to American women, it should cease providing abortions and focus all of its resources on truly essential healthcare. But it will never do that, because providing abortions is such a huge source of revenue for the organization.

Finally, Richards has repeatedly claimed that the American people love Planned Parenthood and do not want it to be defunded, and has bragged about the outpouring of support that the group has experienced since the November 2016 presidential election. Perhaps she missed a post-election poll on the defunding effort (conducted in late November by the polling company, inc./WomanTrend on behalf of the Susan B. Anthony List), which shows that voters in 2018 Senate battleground states — Florida, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin — support ending federal funding for Planned Parenthood, 56 to 40 percent. Even more interesting, the poll found that, by a margin of over 30 percentage points, Americans in those battleground states would be less likely to vote for any senator who voted to give federal money to Planned Parenthood rather than to local community health centers.

Much of that distaste with Planned Parenthood surely comes from its status as the country’s largest abortion organization, especially as the support for abortion on demand has declined dramatically over the years. The above-mentioned poll found that almost two-thirds of Americans support legislation prohibiting abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, including almost 80 percent of millennials. (But then, most millennials are probably aware that abortion makes the womb one of the most dangerous places for a human to be, as one in four does not make it out alive!) Meanwhile, a Marist poll from last summer shows that 62 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including 45 percent of “pro-choice” Americans and 44 percent of Democrats. The time is right to stop taxpayer support of Planned Parenthood, so, as Nike would say, “Just do it!”

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