Our Tax Dollars Fund the Abortion Industry

According to a recent Guttmacher Institute report 1, state and federal tax dollars paid for 177,404 abortions in 2006, at a cost of $89 million. Also at taxpayer expense, a whopping $1.85 billion was spent on family planning client services in the same year. Even more alarming is the rate at which these expenses are rising, primarily because of Medicaid expansions that have substantially increased the number of people eligible for Medicaid family planning services. And although taxpayer-funded abortions are limited by law in many cases, pro-abortion forces are working surreptitiously to render those laws useless.

The Hyde Amendment, implemented in 1977, restricts the use of federal funds for abortion. These public funds can only be used when an abortion is needed to save the life of the mother, or when the pregnancy results from assault rape or incest. In 2006, federal dollars paid for 191 abortions of low-income women at a cost of $0.2 million. State governments, however, spent $88.8 million on 177,213 abortions, primarily in states that have “nonrestrictive” policies for funding abortions. These states permit the use of tax dollars to pay for all “medically necessary” abortions provided to Medicaid clients.

While a disturbing amount of money was spent on abortions in 2006, it paled in comparison to the money that was spent on family planning services. Medicaid was the biggest spender, doling out $1.3 billion of the $1.85 billion. Much of the remaining amount was administered under Title X of the Public Health Service Act, which provides grants to state agencies and to organizations such as Planned Parenthood. The rest of the spending was by way of federal block grants provided to the states, and as state funds allocated for family planning services. “Family planning services” include contraceptive drugs and devices, related diagnostic tests (such as pregnancy, Pap, HIV and other STDs), treatment after diagnosis (such as urinary tract infections and STDs other than HIV), and client counseling and education.

Since 1994, the inflation-adjusted Medicaid family planning expenditures in 14 states have tripled. These states received federal waivers allowing them to raise the level of income eligibility for Medicaid family planning services, causing the number of clients they served to increase by 60% from 2000 to 2005. Federal legislation has been proposed that would make it easier for other states to do the same, potentially ushering in a huge increase in these expenditures.

One organization that has benefited tremendously from taxpayer funding is Planned Parenthood, an influential player in the family planning and abortion industry. Planned Parenthood received $336.7 million in government grants and contracts in FY 2006-20072, meaning that taxpayers provided 33.1% of their total revenue of $1.0 billion for that fiscal year. Not only that, but this “not for profit” organization reported $114.8 million in profit for that same period. With net assets of $951.8 million, the leaders of Planned Parenthood continue to lobby for more tax dollars, claiming they will have to shut down essential services without this tax windfall. Their threats continue to convince the politicians holding the purse strings, since they received $31.4 million more in tax dollars for FY 2006-2007 than they did in FY 2005-2006.

With such strong government support behind it, Planned Parenthood managed to kill 289,750 preborn babies in 2006 (9.4% more than in 2005), and generated an estimated $105 million in income for these “services.” Their market share for abortions in the US has risen from 5.5% in 1984 to nearly 25% in 2006. They also dispensed over 1.4 million “emergency” birth control kits in 2006 (an increase of nearly 18% over 2005), causing an untold number of early abortions. Clearly demonstrating their priorities, they managed to refer only 2,410 women for adoption (less than 1 for every 100 abortions.) On another front, the CDC recently reported that 3.2 million teenage girls (1 in 4) have a sexually transmitted disease 3, and estimates that 19 million new infections occur each year in the population. 4 Planned Parenthood has been quick to blame and fight against “abstinence only” programs as a contributing factor. And yet, of their 2.5 million “family planning” clients in 2006, 65.8% were dispensed contraception that offered no protection to disease at all.

Even more threatening is a bill that has been quietly introduced in both the House and the Senate called the Freedom of Choice Act. 5 If pro-abortion advocates win a majority in congress and a pro-abortion candidate is elected as president, passage of this bill could be a frightening reality. It would nullify the Hyde Amendment, as well as any current restrictions on abortion such as the recently enacted Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. It would do this by invalidating any “federal, state, or local statute, ordinance, regulation, administrative order, decision, policy, practice, or other action” that would “deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose.”6 Abortions and the taxes to pay for them would essentially become unrestricted. Pro-lifers must do everything in their power to prevent this law from being passed by spreading the message about the critical nature of this upcoming election. Many lives hang in the balance.

1 Sonfield, A., Alrich, C., Gold, R.B., Public Funding for Family Planning, Sterilization and Abortion Services, FY 1980-2006, Occasional Report No. 38, January 2008

2 Planned Parenthood Annual Report 2006-2007, available at:
www.plannedparenthood.org/files/AR_2007_vFinal.pdf

3 2008 National STD Prevention Conference CDC press release, available at:
www.cdc.gov/stdconference/2008/media/release-11march2008.htm

4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention STD Surveillance 2006, available at:
www.cdc.gov/std/stats/trends2006.htm

5 Freedom of Choice Act; pdf file available at this website:
www.nrlc.org/foca/FOCA2007S1173.pdf

6 Ibid; p. 8

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