While Planned Parenthood bills itself as a nonprofit, the organization’s real motivation is making money. As a center manager for Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa for nearly 18 years, I witnessed firsthand plenty of reasons to question Planned Parenthood’s use of resources.
Most people know that Planned Parenthood provides abortions, but are unaware that they abort more than 320,000 babies each year. This staggering statistic makes Planned Parenthood the largest abortion provider in the country. While taking the lives of nearly 1,000 unborn children every day, Planned Parenthood quietly receives more than half a billion dollars every year from the federal government. Planned Parenthood boasts assets of $1.3 billion — not exactly the figure that comes to mind when thinking “nonprofit.” What, you may wonder, does the leader of the top abortion provider in the country make? Cecile Richards makes $600,000 per year — 11 times more than the average American household whose tax dollars fund her paycheck.
As taxpayers, the return for their significant investment in Planned Parenthood is incredibly low. Aside from the thousands of abortions, let’s take a look at what they offer their patients. Most clients are not seen by a medical doctor, a nurse clinician or even a nurse. Birth control supplies, pregnancy tests, even webcam abortions are given without the client ever seeing a physician. In rural centers — like the two I managed — there is rarely, if ever, a doctor even in the building. In my experience and in the experience of the more than 300 members of And Then There Were None with whom I’ve spoken, client care was often provided by a person working as a Clinic Assistant or Center Manager, who had no proper medical training.
In Iowa and across the United States, nonmedical staff members are “trained” to perform webcam abortions by observing an abortion being performed at another center. In the eyes of Planned Parenthood, witnessing a few transvaginal ultrasounds qualifies their employees to perform a dangerous and invasive procedure.
Planned Parenthood advertises that services and supplies are free, but when Medicaid-eligible women are served, it is expected they donate fifty percent of the total cost for the visit. As a center manager, I was required to tell patients the full cost of the visit and say, “An expected donation is 50 percent. How would you like to pay that?” Planned Parenthood receives $542,000,000 in federal funding, yet asks women who live at or below the poverty line, who depend on federally-funded healthcare to make a donation — proof that Planned Parenthood is much more concerned about its bottom line than women in need.
Abortions are the most profitable service offered at Planned Parenthood, and as such, each center is required to perform a minimum number of abortions each month. Planned Parenthood performs 30 percent of all abortions in the United States, but less than 1 percent and 1.8 percent of the nation’s pap tests and breasts exams respectively. Planned Parenthood is an abortion corporation and its business model is built on turning a profit — a billion-dollar profit, to be exact.
Supporters of Planned Parenthood argue that the abortion giant is necessary and that without it thousands of women will have no health care. This simply is not true. In fact, Planned Parenthood provides very basic reproductive care, often with no doctor and most rural centers have very limited hours with many open only a couple afternoons a week. Women could receive much better care elsewhere.
Federally Qualified Health Clinics offer quality health care delivered by medical professionals. FQHCs have regular office hours and an abundance of appointments available to better serve their clients. Most FQHCs also offer translator services and unlike Planned Parenthood, FQHCs accept Title 19 or a Medicaid waiver without soliciting donations from the women they serve. FQHCs operate on a sliding fee scale and no one is turned away because of inability to pay, plus they offer comprehensive care, meaning a woman can use the same doctor for all care. Community health clinics outnumber Planned Parenthood 20:1. There are 13,540 FQHCs and rural health clinics across the United States compared to only 665 Planned Parenthood locations.
The “nonprofit” receives more than $500 million in taxpayer resources despite the 8 out of 10 Americans who support substantial restrictions on abortion. Planned Parenthood is not for women. Planned Parenthood is for profit. Taxpayer resources should be allocated to Federally Qualified Health Clinics that support whole women’s health.
Sue Thayer is a former Planned Parenthood center manager and now is a member of And Then There Were None.
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