Author: ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox
If you work for a nonprofit organization, as I have for my entire career, you understand the importance of the continued financial support from those who make your work possible. As stressful as these pressures can be, however, they are a blessing. The need to maintain transparency and demonstrate your effectiveness at accomplishing the purpose for which the donor gave their hard-earned money is what keeps an organization disciplined and focused. Nonprofits are not entitled to others’ money. Nonprofits must earn it. Yet, whether it comes to federal taxpayer dollars or donations from private groups, Planned Parenthood just doesn’t understand this.
A few days ago, the nation’s leading breast cancer charity, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, announced that it would no longer provide grants to Planned Parenthood. (Webmaster note: Komen later issued an apology that has left many in a state of confusion about what Komen will do with future funding.) In recent years, Komen has donated between $500,000 and $700,000 per year to Planned Parenthood perform manual breast exams on some women. Ostensibly, Planned Parenthood refers some women to other healthcare providers for mammographies. This referral was necessary because not a single Planned Parenthood clinic in the entire country has a mammogram machine. Not one. Komen appears to have made the sensible decision that its donors’ dollars would be better used actually paying for mammograms instead of subsidizing Planned Parenthood’s abortion practice. Who can disagree with that logic? Most nonprofits would have taken that decision with disappointment but also with a measure of grace, thanked Komen for the millions it had given them over the years, and examined how they could improve their services to be worthy of receiving grants from Komen or others in the future.
But Planned Parenthood is not your typical nonprofit. It is a corporation with an annual budget in excess of a billion dollars, nearly 40% of which comes from taxpayers. Last year, Planned Parenthood received nearly $500 million in federal taxpayer dollars. For four decades it has been able to evade public scrutiny as a nonprofit and instead has successfully demanded billions in taxpayer dollars from the federal government. Its political friends, who then receive the enthusiastic financial support of the largest abortionist east of Tiananmen Square, are happy to meet its financial demands. These enablers also treat Planned Parenthood differently from other grantees, shielding them from questions — much less investigations — of how they spend precious taxpayer dollars. Thus, despite decades of billions in federal funding, Chairman Stearns and the House Oversight Committee are in the midst of the first congressional investigation ever into how Planned Parenthood is spending the money Congress appropriates. And even that has been met with vitriol by the abortion lobbyists (including the elected ones) who resist any attempt to have the abortion giant account for how it spends our money.
And so instead of graciousness, Planned Parenthood pitched what my grandmother would have called a “hissy fit.” Despite Komen’s plea that “[m]aking this issue political or leveraging it for fundraising purposes would be a disservice to women,” Planned Parenthood immediately made this issue political and leveraged it for fundraising purposes, accusing Komen of bowing to political pressure. Planned Parenthood’s President, Cecile Richards, issued an emergency fundraising call to meet this supposed shortfall (less than 1% of its budget). Its supporters responded, almost replacing the full amount in a single day (demonstrating that the association with the world’s most highly respected breast cancer organization, not the cash, is what was so valuable to Planned Parenthood).
It is the attitude of Planned Parenthood and its defenders that is so revealing. How dare Komen take away Planned Parenthood’s money?! Thousands of Planned Parenthood employees, volunteers, and supporters have flooded Komen with hateful attacks on Facebook, Twitter, email, telephone, and newspaper stories. Take one major paper as an example: a Dallas Morning News writer said Komen “voluntarily donned the theocratic burka of anti-abortion ideology Tuesday with its decision to de-fund Planned Parenthood.” And its lead editorial writer said that he would “think twice” about editorializing in favor of any local breast cancer fundraising events for Komen. Former Democratic National Committee Chair, and former Planned Parenthood board member, Howard Dean said Komen “lack[s] courage” and called for donors to stop supporting the largest breast cancer charity — apparently to show their support for women. In the minds of the abortion lobby, Planned Parenthood is entitled to your money – and everyone else’s money, too. And if you cross the abortion behemoth, you must pay with your reputation.
Given Planned Parenthood’s lack of transparency and oversight, they reveal a corporate giant unworthy of this privileged status. Apart from the ongoing House investigation, federal audits into just a handful of Planned Parenthood’s affiliates have found evidence that Planned Parenthood has improperly overbilled Medicaid for millions of dollars. And undercover investigations have revealed that Planned Parenthood clinics have been willing to help cover up and facilitate child sex trafficking, cover up statutory rape, and provide women incomplete and inaccurate medical information about their unborn child.
A typical nonprofit might decide that if it wants to be worthy of financial support, it should get its own house in order, perhaps showing some financial accountability, ensuring that every taxpayer dollar is well spent, complying fully with the law, and welcoming the opportunity to show Congress that it is doing just that. And if it is interested in women’s health, perhaps actually purchasing mammogram machines to screen for breast cancer, instead of deluding some women into thinking the manual examination was effective, would be a good plan.
But Planned Parenthood is not your typical nonprofit. After decades of taxpayer funding and insulation from scrutiny and thousands of dollars in political donations, it has revealed itself as a 95-year-old petulant child that lashes out when it doesn’t get something it wants. It is evidently not learning its lesson from losing (or perhaps nearly losing) Komen funding. Maybe Planned Parenthood needs a time-out from taxpayer funds, too.
This post originally appeared here.