Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why Planned Parenthood Gets Federal Funding

Yesterday, a Star Tribune letter writer (who self-identified as a pacifist Quaker) asked why Planned Parenthood doesn't just stop taking money from the federal government. Why do they (in his words) "cling" to a funding stream that comes from people who may oppose abortion?

I knew the reason in general: because what Planned Parenthood does costs lots of money on an ongoing basis, and the letter-writer's suggestion that it should replace the money with grants, donations, and corporate sponsorships would result in a funding stream that is unreliable.

Another letter-writer from today's paper did a better job of explaining it:

The answer is that Planned Parenthood is, in fact, funded with foundation grants, corporate sponsorships, individual donations and, of course, fees for services. Government money, which does not cover abortion services, comes from the Title X Family Planning Program and from Medicaid, and provides only about a third of Planned Parenthood’s revenue.

Title X, which has been in existence for more than 40 years, trains staff members to provide reproductive health care to teenagers, people with limited English, and people with complex social situations, including victims of domestic violence, the homeless and the mentally ill. Medicaid covers health care for those without the financial means to buy private insurance. Planned Parenthood is not the only health care facility to receive both Title X and Medicaid funding, nor is it the only one offering abortion services; it is, however, the only health care facility to be demonized for ideological and political purposes, likely because Planned Parenthood, more than any other facility, empowers poor women to make their own reproductive choices, without shaming and without being judgmental.

In many parts of the country, Planned Parenthood is the only health care facility providing family planning services, cancer screening, prenatal care, and STD screening and treatment to poor women; there simply aren’t enough clinics available to absorb the thousands of women who would lose access to reproductive health care if Planned Parenthood were to lose government funding. Is it really both cost-effective and ethical to deny poor women access to lifesaving health care? [Emphasis added.]
Thanks to Joyce Denn of Woodbury for her cogent answer.

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