Monday, 11 July 2011

Report on Planned Parenthood Calls for Congressional Investigation

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Planned Parenthood reportPlanned Parenthood is under attack again, this time from one of the nation’s leading pro-life legal groups, Americans United for Life (AUL). Following a study of more than 20 years of Planned Parenthood records, law enforcement reports, and other evidence, the AUL has released an intensive, 181-page report detailing what it charges are large-scale financial irregularities and circumvention of state laws committed by the nation’s leading abortion provider. During 2008-09 Planned Parenthood received more than $363 million in government contracts and grants, while its affiliates were responsible for performing more than 332,000 abortions.

“Americans United for Life is calling for a congressional investigation and hearings into the nation’s largest abortion provider,” announced AUL president Charmaine Yoest with the release of the study. “This report provides the intellectual foundation for an investigation of Planned Parenthood, as well as revealing gaps in the information available to the American taxpayer, who is forced to subsidize the politically powerful abortion industry.”

In an executive summary of the report, AUL noted that Planned Parenthood “often tries to underplay the significance of abortion to its business model. However, as this report details, abortion has a tremendous impact on Planned Parenthood’s bottom line. This is true to a greater degree each year, and Planned Parenthood has plans to expand its abortion business.” In fact, last year the abortion provider indicated its intention to further expand its abortion business by making it a requirement that each of its affiliates have at least one clinic performing the procedure by 2013.

Planned Parenthood’s own figures show that abortion accounted for at least $114.9 million of the $404.9 million the organization reported as “clinic income” during 2008 to 2009, AUL’s investigation found. And, according to the report, abortion has made up an increasing portion of Planned Parenthood’s income over the past 10 years — some 32 percent in 2001, 33 percent in 2006, and 37 percent in 2009.

Among the charges the pro-life group leveled against Planned Parenthood in the report are:

• The misuse of federal healthcare and family planning funds. “State audit reports and admissions by former employees detail a pattern of misuse by some Planned Parenthood affiliates,” noted the AUL.

A failure to report criminal child sexual abuse. According to the report, there is substantial and “still-developing evidence” that more than a few Planned Parenthood clinics have not reported all instances of suspected abuse, instead advising “minors and their abusers on how to circumvent the mandatory reporting laws.”

A failure to comply with state laws involving minors. “Some Planned Parenthood affiliates exhibit a pattern and practice of violating and circumventing parental involvement laws,” the report noted.

Assisting individuals engaged in prostitution and sex trafficking. “Some Planned Parenthood clinics have demonstrated a willingness to partner with pimps or sex traffickers to exploit young women instead of safeguarding their health and safety,” reported the AUL.

• A “dangerous misuse of the abortion drug RU-486.” According to the report, “Planned Parenthood’s admitted disregard for the FDA’s approved protocol puts profits above women’s lives and safety.”

• A “willingness to provide women with inaccurate and misleading information.” AUL found that some Planned Parenthood affiliates “continually demonstrate a disregard for women’s health and safety through their willingness to provide inaccurate and misleading information regarding fetal development and about abortion’s inherent health risks.”

While the charges made by the AUL have been swirling around Planned Parenthood for the last few years, “the Chicago-based organization’s report brings them all together and provides an analysis that may be a milestone in the growing effort to hold Planned Parenthood accountable,” reported Baptist Press News. “The abortion giant has been plagued increasingly in recent years by evidence of scandalous and/or illegal practices in its clinics. This year, several states have acted to restrict funding of Planned Parenthood.”

Yoest emphasized that momentum for defunding the abortion industry comes from the grassroots level. “More than 70 percent of taxpayers, whether pro-life or pro-abortion, agree that they don’t want their tax monies subsidizing the abortion industry,” she noted. “This is a bi-partisan budget cut available for Congress and every state.”

In the last year several states have worked to defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, noted the AUL, including Indiana, New Jersey, Kansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Texas, and Ohio.

Baptist Press News noted that in recent years undercover investigations by such pro-life groups as Live Action have drawn attention to “a variety of unsavory practices in Planned Parenthood clinics.” For example, earlier this year “a hidden-camera sting in several states showed Planned Parenthood employees demonstrating a willingness to aid self-professed sex traffickers whose prostitutes are in their early teens,” the news site recalled. “Other secret investigations have revealed Planned Parenthood workers seeking to cover up alleged child sex abuse and agreeing to receive donations designated for abortions of African-American babies.”

Throughout its heavily documented report the AUL suggests pointed questions that Congress should ask Planned Parenthood officials about the abortion provider’s dealings, and even offers a list of over 40 potential witnesses congressional investigators could call.

Predictably, Planned Parenthood attacked the veracity of the report, telling the Washington Times that it was nothing more than a “politically driven attack by an organization opposed to common forms of birth control and expanded access to birth control.” Added the abortion provider of the study, “It uses discredited, recycled, and misleading claims to attack Planned Parenthood and should be viewed with a skeptical eye.” Planned Parenthood officials insisted that they are “proud of the trust millions of women place in us every year to provide high quality health care. We approach our work with a deep sense of responsibility to the patients we serve.”

Nonetheless, insisted the AUL report, “The burden of proof rests with Planned Parenthood” to demonstrate that it “consistently complies with federal and state laws and that substantial evidence to the contrary — persuasive evidence that appears to show a systemic and organization-wide pattern of violating federal and state laws, disregard for women’s health and safety, and endangerment of the welfare of minors — is inaccurate.”

It is not enough for Planned Parenthood to claim that reports and incidents of abuse within its corporation “are ‘flukes’ and involve only a few ‘rogue’ clinics or employees,” the report challenged. “American taxpayers have a right to know the extent of the potential malfeasance and corruption at Planned Parenthood.”

Concluded Yoest: “It is time to find out what happens behind Planned Parenthood’s closed doors and to receive full accounting for the funds taken from American taxpayers to support the abortion industry.”

A downloadable version of the AUL’s complete report on Planned Parenthood can be found here.

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