This article first appeared online at Catholic News Agency on April 8, 2011.
SBA List says budget fight about population control, not women’s health
By Benjamin Mann
Washington D.C., Apr 8, 2011 / 06:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The president of the Susan B. Anthony List has rejected House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s description of the effort to defund Planned Parenthood as a “war on women,” saying it is really a fight over whether the U.S. government funds an organization dedicated to population control.
“Primary care is not the mission of Planned Parenthood – to achieve a stable population is the mission of Planned Parenthood,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. She spoke to reporters on an April 8 conference call, as legislators prepared for a government shutdown that will come at midnight on Friday unless several budget questions – including Planned Parenthood funding – are resolved.
“Primary health care for women is something that we should be fighting for,” said Dannenfelser, “and it’s something that Planned Parenthood cannot claim the mantle of providing.” She said Rep. Pelosi’s remarks only served to promote the an image of Planned Parenthood that the organization’s own statistics do not support.
“They have done a great job, with their large budget, of convincing folks that they are a primary health provider for women. However, in their own documents they have acknowledged that they have only provided primary care to 19,700 of their 3 million unduplicated clients.” She said Planned Parenthood’s health care numbers have been “trending downward,” while abortion services were “ratcheting up.”
During the same period, Dannenfelser noted, Planned Parenthood’s funding had been increasing as well, reaching $363 million last year. “Funding is up, abortion is up, and primary services are down.”
Speaking to CNA later that day, Dannenfelser gave her further response to Senator Pelosi’s charge, made in an April 7 speech to the Feminist Majority Foundation, that the effort to take away Planned Parenthood’s federal money was part of a “war on women” and their health.
Dannenfelser said Pelosi was forced to use such terms in order to gloss over the reality of almost $400 million dollars of funding for a population control organization. She wondered whether the congresswoman would be willing to come out in favor of Planned Parenthood’s “own stated mission” of controlling population growth.
“That’s not a popular thing to say anymore,” she observed. “What’s way more popular is to say ‘We care about women’s health.’”
“Achieving a stable population is not what they’re communicating – these are not the terms they have used in this debate. And yet, that is what their own stated mission is.”
Amid the fight over whether to fund Planned Parenthood in the next federal budget, SBA List has been drawing attention to how the organization uses its resources. SBA List’s current advertizing campaign, running on stations in Washington, D.C., features testimony from former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson.
Johnson says Planned Parenthood’s “bottom line” is driven by an “abortion quota,” because other services are not profitable enough to support its nationwide network of 785 clinics.
“You do have to perform so many abortions on women every month – and that is how they come up with their budget,” Johnson explains in the ad. “Ninety-eight percent of Planned Parenthood’s services to pregnant women are abortion services. There is only money for Planned Parenthood in abortion.”
Planned Parenthood is technically barred from using its federal funding directly for abortions. But Congressman Jim Jordan (R–Ohio), who joined Dannenfelser in the April 8 conference, said the breakdown of Planned Parenthood’s budget and other numbers clearly show that taxpayers are helping the group meet its “abortion quota.”
“Money is fungible,” said Rep. Jordan, noting out that government funding of Planned Parenthood’s other services allowed the organization to concentrate on promoting its most profitable enterprise, abortion.
“It’s just common sense. We think that taxpayers understand this, and that they don’t want their dollar to be used in this manner – particularly at a point in history when the country’s broke.”