Symbiotic Devotion: The Obama Administration’s Loyalty to Planned Parenthood, the Nation’s Largest Abortion Provider
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, has called President Barack Obama its “champion.” The political alliance between the President and Planned Parenthood has been particularly evident over the past 18 months through the Obama Administration’s determination to channel taxpayer dollars to the abortion giant despite the known misuse of taxpayer funds by some Planned Parenthood affiliates[i] and in the face of a $16 trillion national debt.
In 2011, faced with an impending government shutdown over funding disagreements, President Obama reportedly told Speaker of the House John Boehner that his openness to discussion on one particular point, de-funding Planned Parenthood (something the House of Representatives had already voted in favor of), amounted to “Nope. Zero.” [ii] The President would rather have the government shut down than negotiate any re-direction or cuts to Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding. President Obama and his Administration have subsequently developed a pattern of overriding states’ decisions to direct funding away from abortion providers and ensuring that taxpayer dollars continue to flow to Planned Parenthood.
In at least six states that have ended funding of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, the Obama administration has reacted by either withholding or threatening to withhold federal funds from the state (Indiana and Texas), or by undermining state law through direct federal contracts with Planned Parenthood and other entities within the state (New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Tennessee).
In the summer of 2011, the Obama Administration definitively proved that it prioritizes Planned Parenthood’s abortion business over healthcare. At the expense of all women’s (and men’s and children’s) healthcare, the Obama Administration threatened to pull $4.3 billion in Medicaid funding from the state of Indiana after the state’s legislature voted to prohibit all healthcare contracts with and grants to any “entity,” including Planned Parenthood, which performs abortions or operates a facility where abortions are performed.
Several months later, the Obama Administration circumvented New Hampshire’s elected Executive Council’s vote to cancel a $1.8 million contract with Planned Parenthood in favor of contracting with healthcare facilities that offer women full-service healthcare. Overriding the reasoned decision of New Hampshire’s elected officials, the Obama Administration directly awarded a $1 million contract to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
In March 2012, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission issued a rule excluding abortion providers from participation in the Texas Women’s Health Program (Texas WHP). Demonstrating its paramount loyalty to Planned Parenthood once again and attempting to bully the state of Texas, the Obama Administration pulled all federal funding for the Texas WHP. Committed to its position that if abortion providers like Planned Parenthood are not receiving taxpayer dollars then nobody will, the Obama Administration decided to deny funding for basic healthcare to poor women and their families in the state of Texas.
July 2012 proved to be a particularly lucrative month for Planned Parenthood. In New Jersey, the Obama Administration awarded $3.1 million in taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood affiliates and other family planning groups. The Obama Administration’s decision to overrule New Jersey’s fiscal choice is incredible when considering that, as recently as 2008, the U.S. Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services uncovered the misuse of federal family planning funds in New Jersey, “especially” by “Planned Parenthood providers.”[iii]
Later that month, the Obama Administration’s commitment to ensuring that abortion providers receive unfettered access to taxpayer dollars was further exposed when the Obama Administration overrode both North Carolina and Tennessee’s decisions to redirect funds away from Planned Parenthood and contracted directly with Planned Parenthood in both states.
Time and again, the Obama Administration has intervened to protect Planned Parenthood’s hold on taxpayer dollars, disregarding the reasoned judgment of the states, and despite Planned Parenthood’s known abuse of government funds.
What is truly remarkable about this alliance between the Obama Administration and Planned Parenthood is the willingness to use women and their families—and comprehensive, quality healthcare—as hostages in a political battle to guarantee continued funding of the abortion mega-provider.
Planned Parenthood presents itself as the trusted provider of healthcare for women, often asserting that “in many communities it is the only source of affordable quality health care for women.”[iv] Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards went so far as to claim that Indiana’s law denying funding to abortion providers would prohibit “nearly 10,000 women from accessing preventative health care.”[v]
Like many claims made by Planned Parenthood, however, these assertions fall apart upon closer examination.
First, it should be noted that ending public funding of the abortion industry does not deny access to healthcare. Medicaid benefits have remained the same for Hoosiers.
Secondly, according to its own statistics, Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana serve less than 1 percent of the state’s Medicaid patients, while providing more than 50% of the state’s abortions.[vi] Clearly, the overwhelming majority of Indiana women on Medicaid are receiving their basic healthcare elsewhere.
Many are likely receiving care at community health centers which, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers, provide healthcare to the nation’s underserved populations, including the uninsured, those on Medicaid and Medicare, migrant workers, and people living in rural areas. Nearly 40 percent of the income for these centers comes from Medicaid.[vii]
While Cecile Richards may hope to deceive the public with her politically motivated talking points, Planned Parenthood is well aware of these inconvenient facts.
In June 2011, the investigatory group Live Action contacted 16 Indiana Planned Parenthood clinics. Every one of them acknowledged that women did not need Planned Parenthood to receive basic medical care. All 16 Planned Parenthood clinics indicated that women could receive well-woman exams and other care at community health centers and from primary care doctors.
What is true in Indiana is likely true across the country. According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, community health centers provide more than 9,000 doctors, 10,000 nurses, and 8,000 health care delivery sites across the nation.[viii] In contrast to the roughly 800 Planned Parenthood clinics, these thousands of community health centers, and others like them, serve the real healthcare needs of American women – real healthcare needs which several states have sought to serve by reprioritizing their healthcare funding.
When states have tried to cut ties with the scandal-ridden abortion provider and direct taxpayer funding to comprehensive healthcare providers, Planned Parenthood has continued to profit from the Obama Administration’s unparalleled devotion. Indeed, it is the Obama Administration’s loyalty to Planned Parenthood that constitutes a key obstacle to achieving states’ goals to be fiscally responsible and provide comprehensive healthcare for its most vulnerable citizens.
[i] Audits of Planned Parenthood affiliates in California, New Jersey, New York, and Washington State demonstrate a pattern of abuse involving Medicaid funds. See The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood, (Americans United for Life 2011), available at http://www.aul.org/aul-special-report-the-case-for-investigating-planned-parenthood (last visited Sept. 4, 2012).
[ii] See http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/04/how-government-shutdown-was-averted-behind-the-planned-parenthood-deal/ (last visited Sept. 28, 2012).
[iii] Office of Inspector Gen., U.S. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs.,Review of Outpatient Medicaid Claims Billed as Family Planning by New Jersey 5 (2008).
[iv] See http://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/PPFA/fact_Fact_Check_AUL_report.pdf (last visited Sept. 4, 2012).
[v] Statement by Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, on Department of Health and Human Services Decision to Deny Indiana’s Effort to Bar Federal Funding for Planned Parenthood,available at http://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/newsroom/press-releases/statement-cecile-richards-president-planned-parenthood-federation-america-department-health-hum-37022.htm (last visited Sept. 4, 2012).
[vi] See Expose: Planned Parenthood Staffers Admit Tax-Funding Not Needed, available at http://www.lifenews.com/2011/06/29/expose-planned-parenthood-staffers-admit-tax-funding-not-needed/ (last visited Sept. 4, 2012).
[viii] See http://www.nachc.com/client/US10.pdf (last visited Sept. 4, 2012).