WASHINGTON -- Congress should investigate Planned Parenthood for its alleged misuse of government funds and circumvention of state laws, according to an extensive report released July 7 by the leading legal organization in the American pro-life movement.
Americans United for Life (AUL) called for the congressional action in a 181-page document that chronicles over a 20-year period known and alleged abuses by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the country's leading abortion provider. According to Planned Parenthood, it received more than $363 million in government grants and contracts in 2008-09, and its affiliates performed more than 332,000 abortions in 2009. Both years are the most recent for which statistics are available.
Among its charges, AUL says some Planned Parenthood affiliates are guilty of:
-- Misusing federal health-care and family planning funds, including overbilling the Medicaid program.
-- Violating state laws by refusing to report sexual abuse of under-age girls and aiding abusers in covering up their crimes.
-- Failing to abide by state laws requiring parental involvement before performing abortions on minors.
-- Showing a willingness to help pimps and sex traffickers with birth control and abortions for under-age girls.
-- Providing inaccurate information to women regarding the development of the unborn child and the health risks of abortion.
-- Refusing to comply with the federal government's rules governing use of the abortion drug RU 486.
"It is time to find out what happens behind Planned Parenthood's closed doors and to receive full accounting for the funds taken from American taxpayers to support the abortion industry," AUL President Charmaine Yoest said in calling for congressional hearings.
"This report provides the intellectual foundation for an investigation of Planned Parenthood as well as revealing gaps in the information available to the American taxpayer, who is forced to subsidize the politically powerful abortion industry," she said in the written statement.
AUL's charges generally are not new, but the Chicago-based organization's report brings them all together and provides an analysis that may be a milestone in the growing effort to hold Planned Parenthood accountable. The abortion giant has been plagued increasingly in recent years by evidence of scandalous and/or illegal practices in its clinics. This year, several states have acted to restrict funding of Planned Parenthood.
In each section of the 31-page main body of the report, AUL offers questions that could be asked in a congressional investigation. It also suggests a list of 44 potential witnesses. The report is heavily documented, with an appendix of more than 130 pages, as well as 11 pages of endnotes.
In its report, AUL says Planned Parenthood "must demonstrate that it consistently complies with federal and state laws and that substantial evidence to the contrary -- persuasive evidence that appears to show a systemic and organization-wide pattern of violating federal and state laws, disregard for women's health and safety, and endangerment of the welfare of minors -- is inaccurate." It is unsatisfactory for Planned Parenthood to say the problems are only with a few "rogue" clinics or workers, according to AUL.
The report contends abortion is vital to Planned Parenthood's business. While PPFA commonly says abortion represents only three percent of its "services," it also has admitted 12 percent of its health-care patients undergo abortions, according to the report. But that statistic "fails to capture the significance of abortion to Planned Parenthood's bottom line," AUL says.
Based on Planned Parenthood figures, abortion accounted for at least $114.9 million of the $404.9 million Planned Parenthood reported as "clinic income" in 2008-9, according to AUL. Abortion has provided an increasing percentage of Planned Parenthood's clinic income in the last decade, AUL reports: 32 percent in 2001; 33 percent in 2006, and 37 percent in 2009.
AUL's report also shows Planned Parenthood's affiliates performed 340 abortions for every adoption referral in 2009 and had barely 7,000 patients who received prenatal care.
In battling recent government defunding efforts, Planned Parenthood has argued many people will be without health care as a result. It has been demonstrated, however, that many other organizations that do not perform abortions provide government-funded health care.
While the number of abortions in the United States has decreased dramatically since 1990, Planned Parenthood's share of the abortion market has increased, according to AUL. Planned Parenthood's number of abortions also has grown as its government funding has grown. Planned Parenthood signaled last year its apparent intention to continue to increase its abortion business when it issued a requirement that each of its affiliates have at least one clinic performing the procedures by 2013.
Undercover investigations -- carried out primarily by the youth, pro-life organization Live Action using actors and actresses -- have uncovered in recent years a variety of unsavory practices in Planned Parenthood clinics. Earlier this year, a hidden-camera sting in several states showed Planned Parenthood employees demonstrating a willingness to aid self-professed sex traffickers whose prostitutes are in their early teens. Other secret investigations have revealed Planned Parenthood workers seeking to cover up alleged child sex abuse and agreeing to receive donations designated for abortions of African-American babies.
So far this year, Indiana, Kansas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin have acted to strip Planned Parenthood of state funds. Planned Parenthood has brought legal challenges in Indiana and Kansas.
Members of Congress also have sought to eliminate money for PPFA. The House of Representatives has twice passed this year legislation to eliminate federal funding of Planned Parenthood, but the measure has failed in the Senate.
AUL's report may be accessed online at http://www.aul.org/aul-special-report-the-case-for-investigating-planned....
Requests by Baptist Press for comment from Planned Parenthood did not receive a response in time for publication.