GREEN BAY, Wis. — In December, the Green Bay Packers Foundation announced that Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin was one of its 192 grant recipients for 2019 — triggering intense criticism from the local Catholic and pro-life community.

The Packers said the grant, which, according to Fox 11 News, ranges between $3,000 and $7,000, was for a specific Planned Parenthood program: Cuidándonos Creceremos más Sanos (CCmáS), which means “Taking Care of Ourselves We Will Grow Healthier.”

The program offers $50, in cash, to Latino families who host a small party in their homes at which Planned Parenthood addresses them and their friends on topics such as sexuality, their obligation to be involved in the community, and communicating with the government. 

“This grant is a travesty for all the good people in Wisconsin who have looked up to the Packers since the Lombardi days,” Dan Miller, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin, told the Register. “Vince Lombardi was a daily-communicant Catholic. He has got to be rolling over in his grave right about now. Why would they do this?”

Vince Lombardi was the legendary football coach who guided the Packers to five NFL championships, including victories in the first two Super Bowls. The Super Bowl’s Lombardi Trophy is named for him.

The Packers are the only nonprofit, community-owned professional sports team in the United States. They are competing with the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday in the NFC Championship to determine who goes on to the Super Bowl Feb. 2.

Planned Parenthood claims that CCmáS is important for fighting cancer.

“This is an innovative Spanish-language education program that empowers people to take charge of their health,” Tanya Atkinson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, said, Fox 11 News reported. “The Medical College of Wisconsin is predicting cancer rates among Hispanic women will double in the next 10 years. Programs like CCmáS serve as a critical connector between patients and the health care they need.”

Miller is dismissive of this Planned Parenthood claim. 

“I like to call the program ‘CC-cero,’ (CC-zero), because the program really doesn’t revolve around surviving cancer in the Latino community,” Miller said. “The word ‘cancer’ appears in Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s website a grand total of once for the CCmáS initiative. They are selling ‘how to take control of your sexuality,’ ‘sexuality through life’ and learning ‘how to get more involved in your community.’ That sounds a lot like sex education and community organizing.”

 

Ramping Up Abortions

Miller sees abortion as Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s real goal. “My sources tell me that PPWI’s grant from the Packers Foundation totaled $5,200,“ Miller said. “That means that they could fund just over 100 house parties, reaching a minimum of 1,000 people who Planned Parenthood never had access to before, but can now target more effectively for abortion, their numero uno moneymaker for putting mas dinero into their bank account. Their net worth as of 2018 was $24,844,496.”

According to the two most recent annual reports, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin performed 500 more abortions in 2018 than in 2017, bringing the annual total to 4,639. 

Miller said he has spent a lot of time outside abortion businesses talking to abortion-minded mothers and fathers. “I was out there from 2010 to 2015, five years, about 5,000 hours, 1,000 hours every year,” Miller recounted, regarding a period of his sidewalk counseling. “In that time, we saw 620 babies saved from abortion, but we also witnessed over 15,000 babies lose their lives. That’s a huge spiritual weight.”

A bullet-point list on the CCmáS website, which includes the site’s single mention of cancer, says that the program is for people interested in “feeling more comfortable with the services offered by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Inc.; how to improve communication between your family, your doctor and your government; how to talk more effectively about issues such as: cultural values, sexuality through life, how to take control of your sexuality, surviving cancer, learning how to feel more comfortable using the help offered by your community, learning how to get more involved in your community.”

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin did not respond to a media inquiry about the program for this article, but did answer an email in Spanish asking for more details about hosting a home party as a part of CCmáS. Planned Parenthood described the program as a series of parties with three modules: “Module 1: Talks about the importance of family communication, Module 2: Talks about how to take care of your health and the methods of protection to use, Module 3: Talks about self-advocacy (how to defend yourself in legal cases).” 

 

Targeting Latinos

Planned Parenthood’s attempts to reach Wisconsin’s Latino community go beyond CCmáS. In August, Dan Zeidler, president of Family Life Council and representative in the U.S. for the Caracas-based Latin American Alliance for the Family (Alianza Latinoamericana para la Familia), was “shocked and disappointed” to see a Planned Parenthood booth at Milwaukee’s “Mexican Fiesta.”

“I couldn’t believe it,” Zeidler said. “Mexican fiesta, for me, is just a nice family thing. I love Mexicans. I love the culture. What is Planned Parenthood doing here?”

For more than 30 years, Zeidler, a Milwaukee native, has worked closely with pro-life and Church leaders throughout Latin America and worldwide, including at the level of the United Nations. He spoke in Spanish with the Planned Parenthood representative at Mexican Fiesta and took one of the free booklets entitled, in Spanish, “What Do I Do if I’m Pregnant?” The booklet lists abortion methods and says “you can get an abortion at a Planned Parenthood center.” 

“What is Mexican Fiesta thinking, or what weren’t they thinking, in allowing this kind of activity to take place at what’s a beautiful event?” Zeidler said. “I’m told there are a lot of very good people in the Mexican Fiesta organization, but it’s still unclear what they’re going to do about this problem.”

Zeidler is also trying to find out how the Packers overlooked Planned Parenthood’s abortion business when distributing their grants. He said he spoke with Aaron Popkey, the Packers’ director of public affairs.

“How could you not know? How could you not know what Planned Parenthood was? What kind of discussions went on in terms of the approval of this grant? Who did the interviewing of the organization? What did the application say? When I spoke to Aaron Popkey from the Packers, I asked him, and he said, ‘I’ve got the application here; let me do a word check.’ And he said, ‘There’s no mention of the word ‘abortion’ here.’ I said, ‘People don’t necessarily have to mention the word ‘abortion’ to mean abortion. Especially with Planned Parenthood, it’s included with ‘reproductive health’ wording and those kinds of things.’”

Miller said he is disappointed in the response from the local Church.

“The Catholic Church has not responded publicly on this scandal at all,” Miller said.

The Register contacted the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s vicar for Hispanic ministry and did not receive a reply at press time.

Justine Lodl, director of communications for the diocese of Green Bay, said that Bishop David Ricken does not have a public statement at this time but is currently preparing a letter to be sent to Packer President Mark Murphy. 

 

‘Political and Profit-Driven Agenda’

“This initiative is yet another example of Planned Parenthood’s political and profit-driven agenda,” said Mallory Quigley, Susan B. Anthony List’s vice president of communications. “As the world’s largest abortion organization, they have provided more than 345,000 abortions and received 616.8 million taxpayer dollars in the last year alone. In addition, they fired former president Leana Wen because she wanted to move away from the organization’s political focus. It’s no surprise that Planned Parenthood is strengthening their efforts in Wisconsin, a battleground state where voters will help determine the 2020 election outcome.”

Planned Parenthood has pledged to spend $45 million on campaign efforts during the 2020 election cycle.

“We get blowback from some Catholics who say the grant is for cancer education,” Miller said. “Planned Parenthood is the biggest abortion provider in the world. They could cure cancer, but if they killed one baby, it wouldn’t make it all right.”

The Packers did not respond to a request for comment.

Mary Rose Short writes from Southern California.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include comment from the Diocese of Green Bay.