During the last few years, everyone in the nation has come to understand that things are not always the way they appear with individuals or organizations. While all of us struggle to live up to our ideals, some groups live permanently in the land of personal or professional compromise. In my opinion, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) may be such an organization. Because of the group’s gross disregard for the law and the dignity of its youngest clients, I believe that Planned Parenthood should be de-funded by the Federal government.
This billion dollar a year federation presents the pristine appearance of an empowering, civil rights organization. As I have already stated, looks can be very deceiving. Media savvy representatives such as Faye Waddleton and Cecile Richards have cut stunning figures in both print and television. They have sold the nation on the idea that PPFA is advancing the interests of the last, the least, and the forgotten. Waddleton, a charming and articulate black social activist, served as a past president of the PPFA; while Richards (daughter of famed former Texas governor Ann Richards) serves as the current president of the organization. As PPFA leaders both women have been given a seat at the table of media-driven influence. Their political opinions are highly regarded by cable news pundits and producers. They are seen as important reformers. There is only one problem with their polished personas - their organization is dramatically different internally from its public face.
Although Planned Parenthood describes itself as “the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care advocate and provider,” many people believe that Planned Parenthood is actually peddling death in an aggressive and unethical manner. This statement refers to the way the services are being delivered, not just to the fact that abortions are being performed.
As local representatives make what they believe to be historic stands for what they call “reproductive freedom,” they often do so in a “by any means necessary,” Machiavellian mindset in which the ends justify the means. They fight to give access to abortion, contraception, pregnancy tests, and cancer screenings to people of all races and classes.
Unfortunately, local leaders of Planned Parenthood may have moved into a level of dangerous rule breaking that could destroy the future of many naïve young persons and countless under aged girls.
Let me explain what’s going on.
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 requirements. Thirteen 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.
Child abuse is not a reproductive freedom issue; it is an increasing serious problem in the nation today. Should those who have been entrusted with public funds be allowed to empower sexual predators to hide their crimes? The answer is obviously “no”!
In addition, there are many national accusations of Planned Parenthood workers allegedly “helping” under-aged abortion candidates to “doctor” their paperwork, by misrepresenting their age. I wish that the cases enumerated above were the only cases of Planned Parenthood running into conflict with the law. In a previous op-ed pieced entitled Planned Parenthood Puts A Hit Out On Black Children, I enumerated my concerns about PPFA’s history and legal problems in more depth. In addition, the editorial addressed the problem of race and racism that has been a part of PPFA’s roots from its inception.
The most important aspect of my discussion of Planned Parenthood involves money. De-funding PPFA sounds like a drastic step at first blush. But it is the only way to prevent the organization from committing abuses that will affect our society for generations to come. Federal funds totaling $305,000,000 represent a third of PPFA’s income. Taking away this money may force the group to re-evaluate both its strategies and its values. As we have already stated, the billion-dollar-a-year federation is anything but poor. In addition to federal funds, they receive over $356 million dollars per year in clinic income. PPFA also has over 900,000 active individual donors with Bill Gates heading the list of wealthy business supporters. In addition, the Rockefeller and Carnegie Foundations are among the large groups that fund their efforts. In light of these various sources of money, PPFA should have no problem surviving - if it cleans up its act.
As result of the things I have shared here, I have decided to take action. This week I am working with several other black pastors in concert with national anti-abortion organizations. First of all, we will challenge Congress to suspend funding for Planned Parenthood immediately. Secondly, we will ask both political parties to refuse or return Planned Parenthood campaign contributions. Third, we will ask all Americans to write their Congressional and Senatorial representatives with a special emphasis on getting the black community involved in the battle.
Let’s make a stand!