Despite the outcry, marches, and blatant mischaracterizations from leftist feminists and the media, Donald Trump’s presidency may end up being better for women than recent Democratic presidencies. For years, the GOP and Pro-Life crowds have demanded an end to federal funding of Planned Parenthood. The Left decries this as hateful and anti-women, but the facts tell another story.
To begin, Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the country, killing over 300,000 babies in the womb every year. The Hyde Amendment legally restricts taxpayer dollars from use in abortion services except in limited circumstances, but Pro-Lifers say this is not enough. Because money is fungible, Planned Parenthood can internally subsidize its abortion services by shifting money around, similar to how EBT users can rightfully buy TVs and luxury goods with their pocket cash because SNAP pays for their food. Planned Parenthood also runs a profit, so federal funds are a surplus. According to its annual reports, Planned Parenthood has grossed over $824.5 million in “excess of revenues over expenses,” or profit, between 2005 and 2015. To be clear, federal funds go to Planned Parenthood through reimbursements, not direct subsidies. Low income women get services for low or no cost, and the federal government reimburses Planned Parenthood through Medicaid up to $500 million annually. The word “defunding” only means eliminating the organization’s eligibility for reimbursement. Because Planned Parenthood already runs a profit and receives millions of dollars in private, corporate, and foundational grants, the taxpayer money is not essential or justified for its survival.
Planned Parenthood supporters praise the organization for serving women, and claim that defunding would hurt its ability to provide services. While it does provide education and resources, the problem is that Planned Parenthood actually does less for women than other health centers do. Contrary to popular rhetoric, Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms or prenatal care, and in fact, their cancer screenings have even declined over time. It does a host of other things, like providing abortions, birth control, STI testing, and cancer screenings, but must refer other critical services. The 650 Planned Parenthood clinics in the U.S. are marketed as highly accessible, and we are told defunding would harm women’s access to healthcare.
Defunding Planned Parenthood isn’t the whole story, despite what the media would have you believe. The critical fact that leftist feminists and abortion advocates leave out is that the money currently going to Planned Parenthood will be reallocated to the over 1,300 federally qualified health centers. Not only do these centers dwarf the number of Planned Parenthood clinics, but these clinics would provide women and men with better accessibility to care, including the critical services like mammograms and prenatal care that Planned Parenthood does not do.
Most importantly, these health centers actually provide more services than Planned Parenthood provides. The health centers provide mental health, preventative care, dental care, hospital and specialty care, substance abuse services, family planning, birth control, cancer screenings, mammograms, and prenatal care. The Medicaid preventative primary service plan covers most of these services, but more federal funds may improve that. The same funding mechanism currently employed for Planned Parenthood (a reimbursement program through Medicaid) is used at these federal health centers. This means that when low-income women need services, they often do not have to pay full price. Fortunately, after defunding Planned Parenthood, these low-income women can get the same services at the same or lower cost at a clinic closer to where they live.
Wealthy individuals and feminist activists will help make up for the defunding by providing more donations to Planned Parenthood, which will remain open despite losing its taxpayer bonus. With huge celebrity support, there is no reason to think Planned Parenthood cannot get financial support from private donations.
There is an understandable reluctance to subsidize private businesses and corporations. What makes Planned Parenthood any different? The Left will argue that federal funds are not a subsidy, but an essential expenditure to boost access to women’s services. But why do we pledge taxpayer money to a single corporation when the money can be better allocated to provide more services at federal health centers? By funding Planned Parenthood, taxpayers subsidize an organization; by funding federal health centers, taxpayers are subsidizing health services.
The issue certainly focuses to some degree on abortions. Due to the Hyde Amendment, federal money cannot go directly to abortion services, so shifting money to other clinics that do not perform abortion should not be an issue. Money would quite literally go to women’s services under a reallocation scheme. The loyalty to Planned Parenthood revolves around abortion services. It is a perverse brand loyalty to Planned Parenthood and its abortion services, because most activists are not promoting other health centers, clinics, and hospitals. They exclusively support Planned Parenthood as though it is synonymous with women’s health and feminism. President Trump unofficially offered this month for Planned Parenthood to keep the $500 million annual funding if it stopped providing abortion services. This offer demonstrates that Planned Parenthood is more dedicated to abortion revenue and feminist abortion demands than to women’s health services generally. The offer was dead on arrival.
Not only will adult women do better after these funds are released for better providers, but unborn women whose mothers opt for a health center and not Planned Parenthood will be infinitely better off. Now, when you hear “defunding Planned Parenthood is defunding women’s services,” you will know that the funding stays with the services and will now reach more women!
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