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Planned Parenthood Federation of America (Planned Parenthood) is one of the largest abortion providers in the world. In fiscal year 2006-2007, Planned Parenthood performed 289,570 abortions. In its 2007-2008 fiscal year, Planned Parenthood performed 305,310 abortions. Planned Parenthood performs one out of every four abortions in America each year.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF) lobbies for pro-choice candidates. Planned Parenthood receives millions annually from state and federal governments. In its 2007-2008 fiscal year, Planned Parenthood received $350 million in government grants.
History and Mission
Planned Parenthood, although not officially established until 1942, traces its origins to 1916 when Margaret Sanger, the founder, opened the nation’s first birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. Later, she founded The Birth Control Review, “the first scientific journal devoted to contraception.” In 1923, with the goal of distributing contraceptive devices to women in Manhattan, she established the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau. In 1942, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America was formed.
Planned Parenthood provides services to more than five million people each year. Its mission, “to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings which preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual,” is backed and supported by over four million donors and activists.
Planned Parenthood’s national offices are located in New York City and Washington D.C. It has local offices in all 50 states. As of September 2011, Planned Parenthood has 84 affiliates that operate more than 800 health centers and provide a range of services including pap tests, breast exams, sexually transmitted infection tests and abortions.
In 2008, according to media reports, an undercover taped investigation appeared to show that a Planned Parenthood nurse apparently violated the law by electing not to report a case of statutory rape to the proper authorities. In the sting, Lila Rose, 20, posed as a 13-year-old girl and sought counseling at a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Indiana. There, she told the nurse that her 31-year old boyfriend had impregnated her. The nurse provided her with the address of, and advised her to go to, an abortion clinic in Illinois – a state that does not require parental consent for a minor to receive an abortion. The Planned Parenthood employee further counseled the patient to lie about her boyfriend’s age, advising her to say he was 14, not 31. Planned Parenthood suspended the nurse without pay but was quick to criticize Ms. Rose, claiming her videos were edited to include “falsehoods and distortions.” Lila Rose maintains that the edits did not alter the context.
In similar sting operations, staff at Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana, Arizona, Wisconsin, California, Tennessee and Alabama all appear to have helped to cover up supposed child sex abuse cases.
Accusations of Racism
In another undercover investigation led by Ms. Rose, men posing as potential financial donors made phone calls to Planned Parenthood clinics in seven states. The donor would express a desire to make a contribution, but then specify that he wished to earmark his donation for the abortion of black babies, in one case stating, “[t]he less black kids out there the better.” According to Ms. Rose, Planned Parenthood employees in all seven states encouraged the donations. Subsequently, in one of the states, Idaho, the Planned Parenthood affiliate apologized and admitted a “serious mistake” was made in accepting the donations.
Ties to the Democratic Party
Planned Parenthood has numerous ties to Democratic politicians. In 2004, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England encouraged members to go “door-to-door campaigning on behalf of Planned Parenthood Federation of America-endorsed candidate John Kerry.”
Former presidential candidate and ex-chairman of the Democratic National Committee Howard Dean served on the board of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and interned for the organization in the 1970s.
Planned Parenthood’s current president, Cecile Richards, was once Deputy Chief of Staff to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Government grants make up a large portion of Planned Parenthood’s revenues. In 2008-2009, government grants made up 33 percent of its revenues.
According to the Washington Times, a 2010 report compiled by the Government Accountability Office raised concerns about how Planned Parenthood and its affiliates spend government grant money. Audits of the organization show that Planned Parenthood has spent only $657.1 million of the $2.3 billion federal funds shown on its 2002 through 2008 annual reports. The Washington Timessays these “findings are fueling an escalating outcry to defund Planned Parenthood.”
In its 2009-10 annual report, (covering the 12 months from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010) Planned Parenthood reported receiving $487.4 million in tax dollars and performing 329,455 abortions.
In the Courts
Planned Parenthood and its affiliates have been involved in numerous court cases concerning abortion.
Most notably, Planned Parenthood argued for unfettered abortion rights in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. Casey upheld the constitutional right to an abortion that was established in Roe v. Wade. The case did, however, limit that right.
The Court found constitutionally valid: a requirement that women give informed consent before having an abortion, a state-imposed 24-hour waiting period, a requirement which imposes certain reporting procedures on abortion clinics, and a requirement that minors receive parental consent before having an abortion unless a judicial bypass is obtained. The Court invalidated the state’s spousal notification provision as an undue burden.
In the News
In 2009, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court that challenged the constitutionality of a Nebraska law entitled The Women’s Health Protection Act. The Women’s Health Protection Act requires physicians to inform their patients of the health risks associated with an abortion. It ensures that “the act or any part thereof shall not be construed to either make unlawful an abortion that is otherwise lawful or make lawful an abortion that is otherwise unlawful.”
In June 2010, Planned Parenthood issued a press release applauding then-Florida Governor Charlie Crist for vetoing HB 1143, “which would have mandated that every woman seeking an abortion in Florida undergo an ultrasound of her fetus.”
The organization also voiced support for Elena Kagan, the 2010 Obama nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, who has since been confirmed.
Leadership (as of September 2011)
Cecile Richards, President, (Total 2009 Compensation: $354,716)
Cecilia Boone, Chair
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
434 West 33rd Street
New York, NY 10001
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Washington, DC Office
1110 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20005
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