As this month marks Planned Parenthood’s 100th anniversary, we should pause and consider its destructive legacy.
Founded by eugenicist Margaret Sanger in 1916, what is now known as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America began as a small birth control clinic in New York City. Sanger was motivated by her belief that artificial birth control and eugenics would “assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit,” including “morons” and “various criminal types” who “populate the slums.”
Today, Planned Parenthood affiliates operate over 650 clinics across the country and the organization is America’s leading abortion provider, performing 324,000 abortions last year, which works out to about one abortion every 98 seconds.
Over 57 million abortions have been performed in the United States in the years leading up to and following the tragic Roe v. Wade decision by an activist Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood has worked tirelessly to make abortion the cornerstone of Sanger’s legacy. What is that legacy?
- Fighting parental notification laws that protect children who seek abortions.
- Advocating for taxpayer-funded abortion in the United States and overseas.
- Attacking life-affirming pregnancy resource centers that provide humane abortion alternatives.
- Opposing laws guaranteeing informed consent for women seeking abortions.
- Opposing partial-birth abortion bans.
- Opposing bans on sex-selective abortion.
- Opposing laws that protect children that survive abortions.
- Opposing commonsense health and safety standards for abortion facilities.
- Using its 501(c)(4) advocacy arm to spend $30 million electing pro-abortion politicians to public office.
Planned Parenthood purports to provide a wide range of health care, but its own data reveals that it is a profit-driven, abortion-centric organization.
According to its most recent annual report, abortion comprised a whopping 94 percent of Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy-related services. At the same time, cancer screening and prevention services dropped by two-thirds since 2006. Despite perceptions to the contrary, Planned Parenthood does not conduct mammograms.
According to court documents, Planned Parenthood now requires that all member affiliates provide abortion services and has been aggressively expanding its business in the last decade by opening abortion “mega-centers” (buildings that are at least 10,000 square feet).
Despite the fact that the abortion rate in the United States has declined to its lowest point since Roe v. Wade, the mega-center model has enabled Planned Parenthood to go from performing one out of every five abortions in America in 2004 to performing nearly one out of every three in 2011.
Planned Parenthood attempts to downplay its role as America’s abortion giant by claiming that abortion is only “3 percent” of what it does. It reaches this figure by misleadingly counting each abortion as being equivalent to comparatively minor services. Rich Lowry at National Review points out:
By Planned Parenthood’s math, a woman who gets an abortion but also a pregnancy test, an STD test, and some contraceptives has received four services, and only 25 percent of them are abortion. This is a little like performing an abortion and giving a woman an aspirin, and saying only half of what you do is abortion.
According to Roger Severino and Jamie Hall, my colleagues at The Heritage Foundation, Planned Parenthood’s own figures show that one out of every eight (12 percent) of its customers get abortions, not one out of every 33 (3 percent).
To Fund or Not to Fund
Despite its leading position in the abortion industry, Planned Parenthood continues to receive hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars through grants and reimbursements every year. Planned Parenthood’s most recent annual report reveals it received over $550 million from taxpayers last year alone.
Thanks to the long-standing Hyde Amendment, federal dollars cannot be spent on abortion in most circumstances. While most states have taken the federal government’s lead and do not allow state dollars to pay for abortion services, 17 states do allow public funding for abortion under Medicaid and others mandate abortion insurance coverage.
And, since some federal money can be used to cover overhead expenses, and because money is ultimately fungible, taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood free up funds for it to expand its abortion business, which it has done with gusto.
Last year, the Center for Medical Progress released a series of undercover videos that shocked the nation and raised disturbing questions about whether or not Planned Parenthood affiliates illegally profited from harvesting tissue from aborted babies. Congress subsequently established a special panel to investigate the charge and the House voted to defund Planned Parenthood.
Desperate to change the subject, Planned Parenthood and its allies are currently campaigning to force taxpayers to fund abortion directly by attempting to repeal the long-standing Hyde Amendment. Making this unpopular proposal the signature effort of this election season shows how extreme and out of touch Planned Parenthood is with average Americans.
Planned Parenthood isn’t oblivious to the fact that millennials are more pro-life than previous generations or that 80% of Americans support at least limiting abortion to the first trimester. And Planned Parenthood is certainly worried that in recent years there has been a wave of life-affirming laws enacted at the state level.
Countering a Culture of Death
Pro-life Americans are working tirelessly to promote a culture of life. They’re supporting organizations that provide services, education, supplies, counseling, and compassionate options to people experiencing a tough pregnancy.
They’re sharing information about alternatives to Planned Parenthood, including the 13,540 community health centers that provide comprehensive care to millions of uninsured, working poor, and jobless Americans. They’re encouraging adoption and opening their homes and hearts to the children of mothers who chose life.
Planned Parenthood’s 100-year presence in America has left a gaping hole in our society. Planned Parenthood has denied millions of baby girls and boys the right to be born, and has wounded countless women both physically and psychologically.
Today is not a time to celebrate but to mourn the loss of millions of innocents lives that have been violently cut short in Planned Parenthood clinics.