Last Thursday a group of black pastors released a letter calling for all presidential candidates and other politicians to return or refuse to accept campaign donations made by Planned Parenthood nationally. I was proud to be a part of that effort. A recent Wall Street Journal story cited that Planned Parenthood is contributing an unprecedented 10 million dollars to various political campaigns this election cycle.
At first blush this seems like an extravagant, if not frivolous, use of money. Only those who are aware of the 305 million dollars a year of federal money that this organization rakes in would understand this strategic move. When the average person thinks of special interest groups, they often look at big businesses or certain industry lobbyists. But this is not always the case.
Planned Parenthood has a public face that says they are supporting the rights of women to assert their reproductive rights. Unfortunately, recent investigations and reports suggest that this organization is actually peddling death in an aggressive and unethical manner. In Kansas the organization is under criminal investigation for falsifying documents and performing late term abortions. It faces 23 felony counts.
Planned Parenthood has also dealt in the realm of deception concerning the age of its customers. In Ohio, Planned Parenthood is being sued for failing to report the rape of a 16-year-old by her father. This is not the first time that center leaders have tried to bend age-related reporting requirement. Eleven months ago UCLA student Lila Rose appeared on the O’Reilly Factor stating the some Planned Parenthood centers attempt to hide child abuse or statutory rape by encouraging underage mothers to falsify their ages in order to receive an abortion.
Others believe that the organization, founded by Margaret Sanger, has actually swindled the government out of money. In California, former Los Angeles city officials have accused the California Planned Parenthood organization of defrauding taxpayers of over 180 million dollars.
What made us as black leaders decide to address the issue at this point in time? I cannot speak for all the other ministers, but I believe that my concerns are shared by many of them. The simple answer is that so many reports about Planned Parenthood’s blatant disrespect for the law have recently surfaced that it required response immediately. I believe that before these court cases and accusations become old news, people of conscience of all races must stand up and be counted.
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.