When the movie Juno received four Academy Award nominations and actually won the Oscar for best screenplay, former Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt was worried. In the film, Juno, a pregnant teenager, decides against an abortion partially due to her experience at an abortionclinic. Ms. Feldt admits, "The clinic in Juno is terrible." But, she adds: "It's a terribly untrue stereotype." When Juno arrives at the clinic, a flippant and heavily pierced receptionist seems to care more about forcing a lavender condom on her than on offering real help for her current dilemma. This is a parody on what we know about Planned Parenthood: that they're a lot more about contraception and abortion than about abstinence and adoption. In an interview, Feldt said workers in Planned Parenthood clinics are "compassionate" and "dedicated to making women feel comfortable." However, it's pretty hard to make someone "comfortable" about aborting her baby. Juno decided to opt out. She kept remembering something the pro-life volunteer outside the clinic told her: "It has fingernails."
Despite its name, Planned Parenthood is all about preventing children from being born and you and I are helping to foot the bill. By law, taxpayer dollars cannot fund abortion. But organizations with privately funded abortion programs are eligible for public funds if they are used for other purposes. The truth is, Planned Parenthood is, by far, the nation's largest abortion provider, performing more abortions every year. In fact their annual report, just released, shows an increase of over 15,000 in 2007. Even though it turns a huge profit, the organization receives more than $300 million in federal funding annually. It's leaders say they keep the money on the contraception side of the operation. But, in some states, like Texas, authorities are getting wise to Planned Parenthood.
Four clinics in San Antonio were ordered recently to cease and desist from all abortions. It seems they were aborting without licenses. Clinic officials claim they didn't know they needed a license to give out the abortion pill. They do. Because the clinics receive state funding, some Texas lawmakers are asking for an investigation. Corpus Christi, seeing the need for some budgetary restraint, announced in December, it's cutting out Planned Parenthood. Citizens who pushed for this said the organization is far too wealthy and controversial to be deemed worthy of public support. And, in the Texas panhandle, after a 12 year battle, all Planned Parenthood clinics have been shut down. In 1997, there were nineteen of them.
A couple of Texas legislators proposed completely cutting Planned Parenthood from the state budget. The idea is to channel funding from Planned Parenthood clinics, which also offer pap smears, cancer screening and contraception, to general practice clinics.
Other cities and states are looking at defunding Planned Parenthood. In Orange County, California, supervisors voted unanimously in March to deny the organization a $300,000 grant. This is a trend that should be encouraged.