Information to Have on Hand the Next Time Congress Debates De-Funding Planned Parenthood

By Dave Andrusko

As we look ahead to future battles over federal funding of Planned Parenthood, it’s important to file away excellent analyses of why PPFA should not be a recipient.

Here are some of the highlights of a letter sent to the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). A press statement announcing the letter was aptly headlined, “Bishops to Congress: At a time of Painful Budget Cuts, Defunding Planned Parenthood ‘Not one of Those Hard Choices.’”

Cardinal DiNardo wrote,

‘First, it is indisputable that Planned Parenthood Federation of America is by far the largest provider and promoter of abortions nationwide, performing about a third of all abortions (332,278 abortions in Fiscal Year 2008-9)… The organization has aborted over 5 million unborn children since 1970.” [As National Right to Life has documented, it also appears that abortion accounts for roughly one-third of the aggregate income generated by PPFA-affiliated clinics.]

“Second, the organization’s involvement in abortion (now including chemical abortions using RU-486) has substantially increased in recent years, and its provision of other services such as prenatal care and adoption referrals has declined markedly.” The letter goes on to note how the national organization insists that all affiliates have at least one clinic to “provide abortions by 2013, a mandatory policy that has led at least one affiliate to leave the organization.”

“Third, the organization has led numerous legislative campaigns and litigation strategies to oppose any meaningful limits on abortion, including modest measures such as public funding bans, informed consent provisions, and parental notice requirements for abortions on unemancipated minors. One of Planned Parenthood’s legislative priorities is to oppose conscience clauses (which it calls “refusal clauses”), so that hospitals, physicians and nurses will not be allowed to serve the health care needs of women without taking part in abortion.”

Cardinal DiNardo explains, “To the extent that Planned Parenthood does provide any legitimate health services for women, however, those services can be provided by others, since H. Con. Res. 36 does not reduce funding for services by one cent.”

He adds, “When low-income women need these legitimate health care services, should the federal government insist that they receive them from the local abortion provider? Here it is worth noting that low-income women generally oppose abortion more than other Americans, therefore more deeply oppose being told that an abortion clinic is a ‘good enough’ place for them to receive their health care.”

The full text of Cardinal DiNardo’s letter is available online.

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