March 20, 2017
St. Patrick's Day may be over, but Planned Parenthood still has green on its mind. In the fight of its financial life, Cecile Richards is doing everything she can to keep her grip on the $550 million dollars her group rakes in from taxpayers each year. And that includes keeping a lid on the organization's latest numbers. While Congress debates the future of Planned Parenthood funding, the nation's largest abortion business is being unusually tight-lipped about its services in 2015-16.
Coincidence? Most conservatives think not. Mallory Quigley, communications director for the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said she's never seen the report come out this late. "For the years that I have been tracking it, it's always been very consistent at the end of the year," she told the Washington Times. If their statistics are anything like 2014 -- when the group aborted enough people to wipe out a city as big as Pittsburgh -- they won't help Richards's cause. She and her friends in Hollywood have spent the last several weeks trying to downplay the business's abortion side and highlight the other services Planned Parenthood offers. But unless there's been a major sea change at the organization, that will be tough to do for an organization that took an unborn life every 97 seconds in 2014.
Equally damning, the group's cancer screenings -- which is a favorite defense of the Left's -- have been in steady decline for years. From 2009 to 2014, Planned Parenthood's breast exams (which, incidentally, don't include mammograms) have consistently decreased and dropped by over half (56 percent): 830,312 (2009), 747,607 (2010), 639,384 (2011), 549,804 (2012), 487,029 (2013), and 363,803 (2014). As if that weren't alarming enough, other cancer screenings have dropped by close to two-thirds (63 percent): 1,830,811 (2009), 1,596,741 (2010), 1,307,570 (2011), 1,121,580 (2012), 935,573 (2013), and 682,208 (2014). And while their services have decreased, taxpayer-funding has increased! No wonder Planned Parenthood isn't racing to show off its work from the last two years. Not only would their report refute everything the group is claiming, but it would also show what a terrible investment Planned Parenthood is.
While Richards drags her feet, Congress is not. As early as this week, the House will hold its first major vote on the Obamacare replacement bill -- and when it does, defunding Planned Parenthood will be a major part of it. Of course, as March for Life President Jeanne Mancini and I point out in a joint op-ed in The Hill, there's still work to be done. As happy as we are that the legislation topples Obamacare's abortion insurance subsidies and guts Planned Parenthood funding, the GOP will need to go to the mat to protect other pro-life provisions in the House bill. "Until Congress specifically states that abortion is not healthcare, and statutorily excludes it from healthcare programs, the courts along with agency precedent show that abortion will be included when the government funds healthcare," we write.
"The final version of the American Healthcare Act must include language to prohibit direct subsidies or tax-preferential treatment for elective abortion services or coverage, whether in healthcare tax credits, subsidies or any other healthcare programs. It is also critical that these pro-life protections survive challenge under the Senate's Byrd Rule, which strictly limits policy-making provisions on a budget bill. If such abortion funding restrictions are stripped out of the bill in the Senate by a Byrd Rule point of order, our organizations would have to strongly oppose the entire bill because it would expand abortion, even though it removes specific funds from Planned Parenthood for one year."
In case Congress isn't motivated enough to save these lives, Students for Life is making the debate personal. For the next month, they're trying to collect 324,000 baby socks -- each one representing a child whose life was taken at a Planned Parenthood clinic every year. In April, they'll display all 324,000 socks to a massive canvass in a powerful display for an event at the U.S. Capitol. They're calling it the #SockIt2PP campaign, and you can help! Join Students for Life in reminding America's leaders that what's at stake in this debate is more than dollars -- it's innocent lives.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.