By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRL Director of Education & Research
In a $3.8 trillion federal budget, it isn’t always easy to keep track of where all the money goes. But one thing a recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) makes clear is that groups such as abortion giant Planned Parenthood and the chemical abortion promoter Population Council continue to find ways to tap into government programs to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year to keep themselves afloat and active.
The tally for 2010-2012? More than $1.5 billion to Planned Parenthood and more than $120 million to the Population Council. It is government largesse like this that helps explain how you end up with U.S. taxpayers covering 41% of Planned Parenthood’s annual budget.
Prepared at the request of 62 pro-life senators and representatives, the March 20, 2015, report from the GAO looked at federal government funding going to the Planned Parenthood Federation of American (PPFA) and its affiliates, the Population Council, as well as four other abortion promoting or performing organizations: Advocates for Youth, Guttmacher Institute, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS).
Most of the money going to these groups came from two government sources, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). These agencies handle the government’s “family planning,” teen pregnancy prevention, HIV/AIDS education and treatment, public health, and maternal and child health programs. HHS largely focuses on domestic programs, USAID on foreign aid. Smaller amounts uncovered by the GAO came from the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice.
Precisely matching up amounts allocated and spent is somewhat difficult, given gaps between disbursement and provision of services, differences in fiscal years, and the confluence of federal and state sources. But the GAO shows Planned Parenthood reporting $344.52 million in expenditures of federal funds from 2010 -2012 and being reimbursed for services by Medicaid (a joint federal-state program) to the tune of $1,184.44 million (or about $1.2 billion) during the same period of time.
All told, this means Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain, received more than $1.5 billion in public funds over a three year period, or at least half a billion dollars a year.
Federal law prohibits the use of federal Medicaid funds to pay for abortion (except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest). Federal law also prohibits funding of abortion under another major federal “family planning” program, Title X.
Still, it sure makes it a lot easier to build and expand your abortion empire when you’re getting 41% of your annual budget from the pockets of taxpayers. It is worth noting that in a 25-year period where abortions have dropped by more than 34%, abortions at Planned Parenthood have increased by more than 250%.
And even though several old Planned Parenthood clinics have shut their doors over the past few years, many PPFA affiliates across the country have found the funds to open giant shiny new high-volume mega-clinics, raising their profile, and increasing their capacity to perform abortions.
Though Planned Parenthood and its affiliates are, by far, the biggest beneficiaries of domestic government spending, the Population Council, an international nonprofit dedicated to “reproductive health,” was the biggest recipient of funds from USAID, the nation’s foreign aid program. The Population Council received disbursements totaling more than $110 million between 2010 and 2012. One should also remember that it was the Population Council which was responsible for bringing RU-486—“the abortion pill”–to the United States.
The next largest recipient of USAID funds among the six tracked groups was the International Planned Parenthood Federation, with which USAID contracted for nearly $23 million in services during the same time period.
The Population Council also received nearly $24 million from Health and Human Services (HHS) and a small grant from the Defense Department (about $70,000 for some “Military medical research and development”). This brought its total federal expenditures over the three-year period to $128.8 million.
Nailing down full outlays from every federal agency is difficult, but none of the other groups tracked in the report had the level of federal funding the GAO found for Planned Parenthood, the Population Council, or IPPF. Federal expenditures for Advocates for Youth federal were reported to be $3.63 million, Guttmacher $4 million, and SIECUS just $0.45 million (about $450,00) from 2010-2012.
Given the abortion advocacy of these groups, and in some cases their performance and promotion of abortion in the U.S. and around the world, many Americans find any amount of funding for these groups highly problematic.
Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), one of the congressmen requesting the GAO report, called it “unconscionable” that a group like Planned Parenthood, responsible for millions of abortions in the U.S. “continues to be subsidized by the American taxpayer.”
Surely there must be better ways to spend our money.