Conservative Review - A Comprehensive Guide To Planned Parenthood's Funding

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Defund Planned Parenthood

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A Comprehensive Guide To Planned Parenthood's Funding

By: Calvin Freiburger | September 24th, 2015

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Beginning on July 14, 2015 and continuing well into September, a series of undercover videos released by the pro-life Center for Medical Progress have revealed senior Planned Parenthood officials discussing the organization's practices depicting the collection and sale of organs from aborted babies. The videos have raised questions about whether Planned Parenthood has violated federal laws, including those that prohibit profits from the sale of fetal tissue research and ban partial-birth abortions.

The videos have also sparked a renewed push for the Republican-controlled Congress to cut off Planned Parenthood's taxpayer funding. With the organization receiving over half a billion tax dollars annually, taxpayers should have a thorough understanding of Planned Parenthood's public and private revenue, and how they spend it.

Where Does Planned Parenthood's Public Funding Come From?

Planned Parenthood's annual report provides information on revenues raised, and services provided by, both the organization’s national offices and its 59 local affiliates. Its 2013-2014 Annual Report, which spans from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014, reports more than $1.3 billion in revenue. Those funds break down as follows:

  • Government Health Services Grants & Reimbursements: $528.4 million (41%)
  • Private Contributions & Bequests: $391.8 million (30%)
  • Non-Government Health Services Revenue: $305.3 million (23%)
  • Other Operating Revenue: $77.9 million (6%)

With the organization receiving over half a billion tax dollars annually, taxpayers should have a thorough understanding of Planned Parenthood's public and private revenue, and how they spend it.

Medicaid Reimbursements

Planned Parenthood claims approximately 75% of its taxpayer funding comes from Medicaid. State Medicaid programs reimburse Planned Parenthood for providing patients with medical or family planning services, though states vary in who and what services qualify for such reimbursements. A March 2015 report from the Government Accountability Office found that Planned Parenthood Federation of America affiliates reported approximately $400.6 million in Medicaid reimbursements in 2012. 

Government Grants

Government grants comprise Planned Parenthood's next largest public-funding category, predominantly in the form of Title X funds for “family planning services”, which the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines as support for "planning and spacing births, contributing to positive birth outcomes, and improved health for women and infants." Abortion being one of the methods used for “family planning.” Planned Parenthood also receives grants from several other agencies for purposes including aid for low-income women and children, victims of domestic or sexual violence, and improving infrastructure for abortion clinics.

During fiscal years 2013 and 2014, federal databases indicate that Planned Parenthood received:

  • A total of 268 grants from HHS amounting to $103.6 million, which went directly to regional affiliates or local facilities for "family planning," as well as services such as HIV treatment and prevention. Within that sum, Planned Parenthood affiliates also received $655,192 in 2013 and $511,399 in 2014 to act as "navigators" to help enroll people in Obamacare's health insurance exchanges.
  • Sixteen grants from the Department of Agriculture, totaling more than $10.2 million, to affiliates and locations in New York, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and California, all through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
  • Nine grants from the Justice Department to state affiliates totaling $912,916, through grants for assistance to victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse, and the STOP Violence Against Women program, which funds various financial, material, and educational services for victims.
  • Two grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency totaling $143,670, to Planned Parenthood's Washington, DC affiliate for emergency preparedness training. FEMA justifies these grants claiming that abortion clinics are "at high risk of terrorist attack," and to Planned Parenthood: Shasta-Diablo, Inc. (a facility in California) for "critical infrastructure and key resources protection," which the Department of Homeland Security defines as preparedness for emergencies such as terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
  • Four additional contracts—three between the National Institutes of Health and Planned Parenthood Federation of America totaling $70,063

Unanswered Questions

The above revenue sources total nearly $515.6 million, approximately 98% of Planned Parenthood's reported $528.4 million in government grants. It is not an exact figure, due to the lack of more recent Medicaid reimbursement figures and differences in how Planned Parenthood and the federal government measure their respective fiscal years.

In response to these gray areas, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has sought more precise information. On August 14, 2015, Congressmen Jim Jordan and Jason Chaffetz sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, requesting a complete breakdown of the exact sums of money each agency and program under her department distribute to Planned Parenthood, as well as all restrictions and regulations to which it subjects those funds; and another to Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards, seeking a breakdown of all federal programs, grants, and other funding sources from which her organization receives federal tax dollars, as well as a breakdown of how Planned Parenthood used that money by service.

Individual Americans' Share

In July 2015, Fox News released a taxpayer calculator in which readers can enter their estimated income level and determine how much their taxes have personally benefited Planned Parenthood over the past ten years. "Individuals making between $50,000 and $100,000 paid just $15.51 toward Planned Parenthood," it says. "However, those making more than that paid considerably more. Individuals making above $250,000 have paid, on average, roughly $420 toward the organization" over the past decade.

Over $390 million in private donations made up close to a third of Planned Parenthood's revenue.

Where Do Planned Parenthood's Private Donations Come From?

Over $390 million in private donations made up close to a third of Planned Parenthood's revenue. The organization's annual report boasts over 584,000 active individual contributors, and claims that their "broad base of committed donors provides approximately 81 percent of the national organization's revenue and 22 percent of affiliate revenue." The organization also received $50.6 million in bequests from private supporters' wills.

Contributions from Nonprofits

Nonprofit organizations that have donated heavily to Planned Parenthood include:

  • Warren Buffett: $62 million in 2013 to Planned Parenthood       
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies: $50 million in 2014 to expand “reproductive health” worldwide, a major partner of which was Planned Parenthood Federation of America
  • George Soros's Open Society Foundations: $20 million from 2011 to 2014 to Planned Parenthood Federation of America
  • David and Lucile Packard Foundation: almost $4.2 million in 2014 to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and affiliates
  • William and Flora Hewlett Foundation: over $3.8 million in 2014 to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and affiliates
  • Ford Foundation: $1.4 million in 2014 to Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: $431,947 in 2014 to International Planned Parenthood Worldwide, Inc.
  • Atlantic Philanthropies: $400,000 in 2014 to Planned Parenthood Action Fund
  • Tides Foundation: almost $230,000 in 2014 to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and affiliates  

In addition, NewsBusters lists twenty-four foundations that donated over $1 million apiece to Planned Parenthood between 2010 and 2013, for a combined total of $324.8 million.

Corporate Support

According to 2nd Vote, a conservative website that tracks companies' political donations, thirty-seven companies directly donate to Planned Parenthood, including Adobe, American Express, Ben & Jerry's, ExxonMobil, Microsoft, and PepsiCo. (as well as an additional 201 that donate to third-party groups that fund Planned Parenthood).

When the list was first released in July 2015, it also included Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Company, and Xerox. Following the release of the list, all three companies soon claimed that they neither support Planned Parenthood directly nor match employee contributions to the organization and asked for their names to be removed as corporate donors. Planned Parenthood removed their names from their lists of donors (though 2nd Vote still lists Ford and Xerox as donating to Planned Parenthood-friendly third parties).

Second, Planned Parenthood’s math relies on unbundling items that are part of an overall service and counting them as entirely separate services.

Abortions and Planned Parenthood Funding

While federal policies such as the Hyde Amendment technically forbid Planned Parenthood from spending any of the taxpayer dollars it receives on abortion, the very nature of money being fungible means federal funding still contributes to abortions by enabling them to spend a greater share of their private donations on abortion. In fact, the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List notes that between 2000 and 2013, government subsidies to Planned Parenthood increased by $326,400,000, while annual abortions performed rose by 130,583, "a 66 percent increase in the number of abortions."

The Misleading 3% Statistic

Planned Parenthood argues that it deserves its taxpayer funding because abortions comprise a miniscule share of their activities. But many conservatives and pro-lifers have argued that this number as misleading, on several levels. First, 327,653 represents roughly a third of America's approximately 1 million annual abortions. Second, Planned Parenthood’s math relies on unbundling items that are part of an overall service and counting them as entirely separate services. National Review editor Rich Lowry analogized:

The sponsors of the New York City Marathon could count each small cup of water they hand out (some 2 million cups, compared with 45,000 runners) and say they are mainly in the hydration business.

Notably, in 2013 Rachael Larimore, senior editor of the liberal Slate, even admitted that the 3% number was the "most meaningless abortion statistic ever:"

[I]t’s easy to calculate, as the Weekly Standard did, that Planned Parenthood gets at least a third of its clinic income—and more than 10 percent of all its revenue, government funding included—from its abortion procedures. 

Ask anyone who runs a for-profit business or nonprofit charity if something that brings in one-third of their revenue is “central” to their endeavor, and the answer is likely to be yes. So yes, abortion is central to what Planned Parenthood does.

In addition, several contraceptives, including Plan B, Ella, and intrauterine devices, function as abortifacients. Planned Parenthood does not specify what share of this number they comprise, and given that the organization declares contraceptives comprise a third of their services, detailed numbers could potentially mean a dramatic spike in the true share of Planned Parenthood's abortion business by their own accounting standards.

The pro-life Radiance Foundation also notes that an undercover video by the Center for Medical Progress reveals Planned Parenthood's senior medical services director, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, claims "we have 40% of the [abortion] market in the whole country."

Moreover, Planned Parenthood has consistently claimed abortions comprise the same 3% of its services since 1995, even though the number of abortions they perform has tripled between then and 2015, and the organization's breast cancer exams, pap tests, and prenatal care declined by 41% to 58% between 2009 and 2013.

Calvin Freiburger is a contributor to Conservative Review.

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