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Opinion

Opinion: Defund Planned Parenthood

Mar 8, 2011 – 5:00 AM
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Abby Johnson

Special to AOL News
Planned Parenthood has been misleading Congress and American taxpayers for many years. I know -- I was part of the deception. For eight years I worked at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas, and for two of those years I was the clinic's director.

Here are the ways Planned Parenthood is deceiving the public -- and taxpayers -- about what it does.

Deception No. 1: Taxpayer funds don't go to pay for abortions. This defies common sense and basic logic; of course taxpayer money helps to finance abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics.

Planned Parenthood gets one-third of its annual budget from taxpayer funding, and it performed a total of more than 650,000 abortions in just 2008 and 2009 (the last year for which figures are available).

Think for a moment how much it costs to pay for someone to perform the abortion, other medical staff for support, their health benefits packages and malpractice insurance to cover all of them, and then multiply it by more than 650,000.

As clinic director, I saw how money received by Planned Parenthood affiliate clinics all went into one pot at the end of the day -- it isn't divvied up and directed to specific services.

And while Planned Parenthood says abortions make up just 3 percent of its services, I found they used an sleight of hand, unbundling family planning services so each patient shows anywhere from five to 20 "visits" per appointment (12 packs of birth control would show up as 12 individual visits). It does the opposite for abortion visits, bundling them together so each appointment shows as one visit. This skews the numbers. You have an overwhelming number of "visits" for family planning compared to abortion, even though you may have seen the same number of patients.

Deception No. 2: Planned Parenthood wants to reduce the number of abortions in the United States. Nonsense. Its primary focus is abortion and it is big business. In 2009, Planned Parenthood had $1.1 billion, and $63 million left over after expenses (see page 29 of its annual report).

No wonder Planned Parenthood has established an organization called the Consortium of Abortion Providers, the primary goal of which is to turn every nonabortion Planned Parenthood clinic into an abortion-providing clinic. Planned Parenthood also recently issued a directive mandating that all of its affiliates provide abortions by 2013.

Deception No. 3: Planned Parenthood's highest priority is women's health and safety. As referenced several times during the congressional debate about whether or not to defund Planned Parenthood, Live Action has documented numerous occasions in which Planned Parenthood staff have shown willingness to aid and abet self-identified sex traffickers and their professed exploitation of underage girls.

Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey was so embarrassed by office manager Amy Woodruff's comments recorded by an undercover hidden camera that it had to fire her. She was clearly advising a self-professed sex trafficker on how and where to get abortions for his underage girls. New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow has asked for an investigation.

The pattern of willingness was demonstrated in other instances, recorded undercover in Virginia, New York and Washington, D.C.

In addition, abortion consultations are often not even done with a doctor in person but over the Internet through what is known as telemedicine. Abortion is a traumatic and potentially dangerous procedure, and even as Planned Parenthood's "employee of the year" in 2008, I thought the push toward more telemed abortions was unreasonably risky.

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Further, Planned Parenthood has adamantly opposed laws in nearly two dozen states that require clinic staff to show a woman a sonogram before the abortion takes place. So much for supporting informed choice.

Congress cannot consider itself an effective steward of taxpayer money if it continues to steer hundreds of millions of federal dollars every year to an organization that deliberately deceives the public and breaks the law.

I don't claim to be an expert on the government's fiscal priorities, but I do know from lengthy experience that the last place any taxpayer money should be going is to Planned Parenthood.

Abby Johnson worked at Planned Parenthood's Bryan, Texas, clinic for eight years and was clinic director for more than two years. She is author of "Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader's Eye-Opening Journey Across the Life Line."
Filed under: Opinion
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