Planned Parenthood: The Abortion Provider Funded on the Scale of a Small Country

A Government Accountability Office report sheds light on the enormous amounts of federal money Planned Parenthood has received from government programs.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated since it was first posted.


WASHINGTON — In the United States, the flagship abortion provider Planned Parenthood gets a hefty amount of federal funding every year that roughly equals the annual gross domestic product of a small island country in the Caribbean.

A new report out of the non-partisan Government Accountability Office shows Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates received $1.5 billion in federal funding — most of which came through federal and state program reimbursements for Medicaid — over the period of three fiscal years: 2010 through 2012.

While the funding does not directly fund elective abortions, thanks to protections such as the Hyde Amendment, which bars funds for cases other than rape, incest and the life of the mother, pro-life advocates have argued that the funds free up Planned Parenthood, and other similar organizations, to budget other resources for providing and promoting abortions.

“There’s an awful lot of money flowing from the federal treasury to groups that advocate and promote abortions,” said Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List.

“The taxpayers are heavily on the hook to underwrite activities that certainly promote and extend abortion in the United States to the tune of $1.5 billion over three years,” he said.

According to Planned Parenthood’s budget report for Fiscal Year 2013-2014, the nonprofit banked $127 million in excess revenue and had $1.4 billion in net assets. It reported that 41% of its revenue came from government grants and reimbursements, while 65% of expenses were due to “medical services.”

According to Planned Parenthood, abortion counts as only 3% of its services (Planned Parenthood counts each STD test, HPV vaccine, “emergency contraception” kit and other services as separate services, even if they are bundled in a visit).

However, the figure does not reflect the revenue Planned Parenthood receives from abortion, which it does not provide in its annual report. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the average cost of a first-trimester abortion — the cheapest surgical abortion — is $470. Multiply that figure by 327,000 total abortions in the annual report, and Planned Parenthood’s abortion income is potentially upwards of $153.7 million.

Although Planned Parenthood cannot use federal funds to provide elective abortions, its ability to receive Title X family-planning funding means that it can establish a prior relationship with low-income women seeking STD testing, breast and pelvic exams and contraception.

“If they get pregnant, and many of them will, they will be invited back for the abortions,” Donovan said.

According to Planned Parenthood’s report, they saw 2.7 million clients in FY 2013-2014. They also performed 327,000 abortions, meaning up to 12% of their clients sought abortion services.


The GAO Figures

The GAO report found six organizations that promote legal abortion — Advocates for Youth, the Guttmacher Institute, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Population Council and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States — received more than $1.7 billion in state and federal funds, with Planned Parenthood receiving 85% of the money.

“There are a whole lot of developing countries that don’t receive anywhere near this amount of money,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., co-chairman of the House bipartisan Pro-Life Caucus, adding that, in terms of revenue, Planned Parenthood is “the equivalent of a nation-state themselves.”

The $1.5 billion in government funds to Planned Parenthood over three years is equivalent to the combined annual GDP ($516 million) of the Caribbean island of Dominica for three years. To put it in another way, Planned Parenthood’s federal and state funding in three years roughly matches the 2013 GDP for the war-racked Central African Republic.

A GAO spokesman told EWTN News that the vast majority of federal dollars went to Planned Parenthood affiliates through reimbursements for Medicaid, Medicare and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. Out of more than $1.5 billion federal funds that went to Planned Parenthood, close to $1.2 billion consisted of those reimbursements, almost all of which were Medicaid reimbursements.

“We made this request [to the GAO] out of frustration at the total lack of transparency on the part of the Obama administration,” Smith said.

The congressman said that while Planned Parenthood’s business is “being substantially supported by the American taxpayer,” taxpayers still lack any transparency about the federal funding for its international activities.

“We don’t even know what the International Planned Parenthood Federation affiliates are doing with our money.”

The Register reached out twice to Planned Parenthood Federation of America for comment, but received none as of publication.


Better Ways to Spend Tax Money

Smith said the money would be better spent on organizations that help mothers care for their children both before and after birth, instead of incentivizing their unborn children’s destruction.

“It’s always less expensive to kill a baby than to nurture the mother and baby with prenatal and maternal health care,” he said.

In contrast to Planned Parenthood’s government funding, Donovan pointed out, much-needed research priorities remain severely underfunded.

“In the last budget for 2015, the projected spending dealing with Down syndrome, in terms of education and research, was only $19 million for that entire group of Americans that could benefit from that type of groundbreaking research.”

“The same thing is true of research into spina bifida: It’s about $10 million a year, although it affects thousands of kids a year,” he said.

Donovan said the multimillion profit margin of Planned Parenthood should alone generate questions in the minds of taxpayers as to why the federal government needs to finance activities that Planned Parenthood could finance on its own.

Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., a co-author of the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, said the GAO’s findings support the need for her legislation, which would deny abortion promoters and providers of any federal dollars allocated to the federal family-planning program.

“As the GAO report clearly shows, this amendment alone does not fully prevent the federal funding of abortion providers and promoters,” she said.

“By exposing the facts and shining a light on this egregious misuse of federal dollars, I believe we can successfully mobilize the support needed to defund the big abortion industry once and for all.”

Peter Jesserer Smith is the Register's Washington correspondent.
EWTN News’ Matt Hadro contributed to this report.