Sebastian's Point

Sebastian's Point is a weekly column written by one of our members regarding timely events or analysis of relevant ideas, which impact the Culture of Life. All regular members are invited to submit a column for publication at soss.submissions@gmail.com. Columns should be between 800 to 1300 words and comply with the high standards expected in academic writing, including proper citations of authority or assertions referred to in your column. Please see, Submission Requirements for more details.

Planned Parenthood IS an Abortion Business

 Amy Gehrke   |   21 May 2020

Planned Parenthood’s public relations team certainly earns whatever they’re being paid.

Despite mountains of evidence, there are still scores of individuals who believe that Planned Parenthood is a legitimate health care provider, not the nation’s largest abortion provider. A May 1, 2020 “Fact Check” piece in USA Today clearly illustrates this.

The USA Today article, by Haley BeMiller, was entitled “Fact Check: Planned Parenthood abortion funding, business claim goes too far. Calling this piece a “Fact Check” shows, yet again, that some in the media have a hard time distinguishing fact from fiction.

BeMiller “fact checks” a 2019 LifeNews.com article entitled, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers Wants to Force Residents to Fund Planned Parenthood Abortion Business.”  Why was an article from a pro-life website targeted by a national newspaper over one year after publication? Because it had gotten renewed attention in a “Recall Tony Evers” Facebook group.

LifeNews.com was correct in asserting that Wisconsin’s Governor wants to fund Planned Parenthood. One of Governor Evers’ often-repeated campaign promises was that he would restore funding to Planned Parenthood, funding that had been chipped away during the administration of pro-life Governor Scott Walker.

Evers didn’t waste any time in trying to fulfill this campaign promise. Shortly after his inauguration, Evers introduced the “Healthy Women, Healthy Babies” initiative as part of his proposed 2019 state budget. This initiative was nothing more than a plan to restore millions of dollars in state funding to Planned Parenthood. Governor Evers’ February 21, 2019 press release introducing “Healthy Women, Healthy Babies” stated,

The governor’s proposal will expand the Well Woman Program and bring Planned Parenthood back into the fold as a trusted provider of healthcare services through an increase to the Women’s Health Block Grant and changes to Title V and X eligibility. (Emphasis added)

Fortunately, the restored funding for Planned Parenthood did not make it into Wisconsin’s final budget.

There’s no doubt Evers wants to fund Planned Parenthood and that "Healthy Women, Healthy Babies" would have done precisely that. So why was Haley BeMiller bothered by the LifeNews.com article? Because the funds would not have paid for abortions (even though the LifeNews.com article didn't say they would) and because she objects to Planned Parenthood being called an "abortion business."

BeMiller first states that Wisconsin pro-life advocates had nothing to worry about; state funds would not be used to pay for abortions. Instead, they would fund other services Planned Parenthood provides, such as pap smears, well-woman exams, and cancer screenings. Wisconsin law indeed prevents taxpayer dollars from paying for abortions. Despite this, there are still huge problems with taxpayer dollars going to Planned Parenthood.

First, even if taxpayer dollars are not directly paying for abortions, because these monies are fungible, they are allowing other dollars to boost Planned Parenthood’s abortion business.

Second, as their latest annual report (released in January of this year) made clear, Planned Parenthood is decreasing the amount of non-abortion services they provide nation-wide. Specifically:

  • The reported number of pap smears and breast exams decreased by 49,734 between 2019 and 2020;

  • The number of cancer screenings and prevention services decreased by 48,175;

  • Birth control information and services decreased by 64,454.[1]

 

At the same time, the latest annual report shows Planned Parenthood performed a record number of abortions – 345,672 between October 1, 2017, and September 30, 2018. In addition, their net assets rose to $2 billion, up from $1.9 billion in the previous year.[2] To say that the “other services” Asking Wisconsin taxpayers to fund Planned Parenthood is ridiculous.

Finally, Wisconsin residents had other reasons to be concerned about funding Planned Parenthood. In fiscal year 2017/2018, Planned Parenthood performed 4,639 abortions in Wisconsin, more than half the state’s total number of abortions.[3]

Between 2017 and 2018, abortions increased in Wisconsin by seven percent.[4] Incredibly, while the total number of abortions increased in Wisconsin, the number of surgical abortions decreased. The number of chemical abortions, a focus of Planned Parenthood’s revenue strategy in Wisconsin, skyrocketed.

In 2018, Planned Parenthood opened a new clinic in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, that solely performs chemical abortions. This, of course, contributed to the seven percent growth in the total number of abortions. In fact, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is suing the state to repeal certain Wisconsin pro-life laws that, once eliminated, would allow Planned Parenthood to perform chemical abortions at all 21 of their clinics across Wisconsin. If successful with this lawsuit, Planned Parenthood will be responsible for an exponential growth in Wisconsin’s abortion rate.

Why should the people of Wisconsin fund an organization focused on increasing the number of abortions in Wisconsin when there are dozens of legitimate, federally-qualified health centers across the state that have nothing to do with the deadly procedure? Completely lost on BeMiller was the fact that Governor Evers’ “Healthy Women, Healthy Babies” initiative was a ruse to fund an organization that has little to do with ensuring babies or, for that matter, women are healthy.

BeMiller closes her article by throwing out the widely debunked statistic that abortions only comprise three percent of Planned Parenthood's services and that, because of this, it shouldn't be classified as an "abortion business."

This three percent figure hasn't just been debunked, it's been debunked by such left-leaning publications as Slate and The Washington Post. Rachel Larrimore of Slate wrote in 2013:

[I]t’s been so long since I’ve seen a reference to the claim that abortions make up only 3 percent of the services that Planned Parenthood provides that I thought maybe they'd stopped trying.  It might not be a technically incorrect number, but it is meaningless—to the point of being downright silly— for several reasons. Not the least of which being that Planned Parenthood “unbundles” all of its services so that a pack of pills, an STD test, and an exam are three separate services.[5]

The bottom line is this: Haley BeMillers “Fact Check” piece was nothing more than a regurgitation of the lies Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates tell to make the organization look like a legitimate health care provider.

Nothing can change the fact that Planned Parenthood is Wisconsin's and the nation’s largest abortion provider. Nothing can change the fact that abortion is the bread and butter of Planned Parenthood's business model and earns it millions of dollars annually. And nothing can change the fact that Planned Parenthood is profiting from the deaths of hundreds of thousands of the most innocent members of the human family each and every year.

Yes, Ms. BeMiller. Planned Parenthood is an abortion business.

___________________________________

[1] Planned Parenthood (2020) Annual Report 2018-2019, We are Planned Parenthood Available at: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/uploads/filer_public/2e/da/2eda3f50-82aa-4ddb-acce-c2854c4ea80b/2018-2019_annual_report.pdf (May 16, 2020)

[2] Ibid

[3] Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (2019) Unstoppable, Fiscal Year 2017/18 Available at: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/uploads/filer_public/c0/1b/c01bf995-a251-4154-8d00-a0d5adf23718/pp-ar-2018_web.pdf (May 17, 2020)

[4] Wisconsin Department of Health Services (2020) Reported Induced Abortions Available at: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/stats/itop.htm (May 17, 2020)

[5] Rachel Larrimore (May 7, 2013) “The Most Meaningless Abortion Statistic Ever” Slate Available at: https://slate.com/human-interest/2013/05/3-percent-of-planned-parenthood-s-services-are-abortion-but-what-about-their-revenues.html (May 17, 2020)

 

Amy Gehrke, Vice President for Advancement & Development of Wisconsin Right to Life & 2020 Society of St. Sebastian Fellow

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