Making Sense of Bioethics
... Planned Parenthood continues to tap into a number of federal and state governmental funding sources, including Medicaid and grants from Title X of the Public Health Services Act
Americans have long been disturbed by the fraud and waste that often surrounds the federal government's use of their tax dollars. They now have further reason to be up in arms because of the way those tax dollars support the practice of abortion, even though such support, technically speaking, remains illegal.
The 1976 Hyde Amendment, a rider attached by Congress to federal spending bills each year, states that federal tax dollars -- particularly for Medicaid -- cannot be used to pay for abortions. Yet, approximately half a billion dollars of taxpayer money is received annually by Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of "pregnancy terminations" in the United States.
Although Planned Parenthood does not directly receive Medicaid reimbursements for the abortion procedures it performs, the inherent fungibility of funds means that any money provided to Planned Parenthood ends up supporting and indirectly financing their primary business, which is elective abortion. Taxpayer funding props up the nation's largest abortion chain, with more than 300,000 abortions carried out under the auspices of Planned Parenthood each year.
Many Americans object to taxpayer subsidies for this organization, seeking to avoid any cooperation or involvement in the serious evils it promotes. This is why pro-life Americans and individuals of conscience are urging that the organization be defunded, to put a stop to the de facto circumventing of the Hyde Amendment that happens every time Planned Parenthood takes advantage of some form of government funding.
Yet Planned Parenthood continues to expand like a cancer not only in the U.S., but also globally. As cancer tumors need blood and oxygen for their continued growth, Planned Parenthood requires a lifeline of government aid to support its killing activities. As cancer tumors release special chemicals to make new blood vessels sprout nearby to nourish themselves, so Planned Parenthood continues to tap into a number of federal and state governmental funding sources, including Medicaid and grants from Title X of the Public Health Services Act. Eliminating this financial lifeline would significantly decrease the availability of direct abortion and diminish its promotion, much as using selective pharmaceuticals to shut down the growth of new blood vessels in tumors can starve them of their lifeline so they wither away.
The Alan Guttmacher Institute, which functions as a research arm of Planned Parenthood, has plainly acknowledged the importance of governmental subsidies: "Because Title X grants offer up-front funding to providers (rather than payment after-the-fact, as with Medicaid or private insurance), the program provides essential infrastructure support that allows health centers providing family planning services to keep their doors open for clients. Up-front funding helps supply a cash-flow cushion for providers..."
Despite their "health care provider" veneer, Planned Parenthood is much more of a menace than a benefit to the health and well-being of Americans. The organization has faced a string of scandals ranging from the sale of baby body parts to overbilling and unsanitary clinic conditions, from cover ups of sexual abuse of minors to botched abortions, from falsified medical information to LGBT activism, to the promotion of offensive forms of sex education to impressionable children. As House of Representatives member Diane Black notes, "Planned Parenthood is both the largest abortion provider in America and the largest recipient of Title X dollars. While Title X grants are intended to fund critical women's health services for low income Americans, Planned Parenthood misuses taxpayer dollars to [subsidize] its abortion services. ... Abortion is not healthcare. It destroys one life and damages another."
The United States needs to eliminate the financial lifeline of Planned Parenthood by defunding the organization of taxpayer dollars. Planned Parenthood supporters, however, argue that if this were to happen, low-income women would not be able to get needed healthcare. Yet federally qualified health centers (community health centers) could be encouraged to take up the slack. They receive broad government funding and offer care regardless of the patient's ability to pay, making available an even broader array of primary care services than Planned Parenthood does, so women would actually have more health care choices and options. Also, there are many more community health centers than Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide.
Jamie Hall and Roger Severino of the Heritage Foundation sum it up this way: "To ensure that taxpayers are not forced to subsidize America's number one abortion provider, Congress should make Planned Parenthood affiliates ineligible to receive either Medicaid reimbursements or Title X grants if they continue to perform abortions. Taxpayer money from these programs should instead be redirected to the more than 9,000 federally qualified health center sites throughout the country that provide comprehensive primary health care for those in need without entanglement in abortion."
Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D. earned his doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and did post-doctoral work at Harvard. He is a priest of the diocese of Fall River and serves as the Director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia,
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