Hyde Amendment. It's been part of our legislation since 1976, and the only times federal funds (such as Medicaid) can be used to pay for abortion services are in cases of rape/incest or if the life of the mother is in danger. That's it. Federal employees, military personnel and their families, people who use Medicaid, federal prisoners, Indian Health Services clients and Peace Corps volunteers all have to pay for abortions out of their own pockets, because their health care is provided by the government.
And it is the same for the groups targeted with this report. They get money from the government, yes. According to the report, these groups received a total of about $1 billion from 2002-2009. But they cannot use that money to provide abortions, no matter how many times anti-choicers say they do, and no matter how many different ways they word it. Just look at some of the headlines on stories about this report:
- "Proof: Tax dollars going to abortions"
- "Defund: GAO reports $1B went to abortion"
- "New Report: U.S. Taxpayers a $1 Billion+ Gold Mine for Abortion Industry"
- "Taxpayers Spend $1 Billion to Promote Abortion"
- "Government report confirms nearly a billion tax dollars funding abortion"
Take this article in the New American, with the headline "Over $1 Billion in Federal Funding to Pro-Abortion Groups Since 2002." Now, we can argue over whether these groups are "pro-abortion," but generally speaking, the headline seems accurate-ish. Then the story says:
A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative and auditing arm of the U.S. Congress, has revealed that between 2002 and 2009 over $1 billion in federal funds were given to organizations that promote and perform abortions.Well, some of the organizations perform abortions. I don't think any of them "promote" abortion. But, again, generally speaking, this is accurate-ish. The story goes on to say (emphasis mine):
While none of the money was apparently used to fund abortions, Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council pointed out that receiving federal money for other "family planning" projects allowed groups that perform abortions to use more of their private dollars for killing pre-born babies. "By funding Planned Parenthood and their allies, we are unwittingly supporting an abortion organization and everything they do," said Blackwell. "When taxpayer money goes to abortion groups for any reason, it supports the work of the abortion industry."First of all, last I checked, unless you are lucky enough to have an insurance plan that covers abortion, you have to pay out of pocket for an abortion. And if you do have insurance that covers abortion, the insurance company is paying for the abortion. So I have no idea what "using more of their private dollars" for abortions means. It's not like Planned Parenthood is handing out free abortions (though anti-choicers seem to think that). Secondly, let's go over the "everything they do" part of this quote, pertaining just to Planned Parenthood. Here is the breakdown of the 10.9 million total services Planned Parenthood provided in 2007-2008, based on the organization's annual report (PDF):
- Contraception: 36 percent
- STD testing and treatment: 31 percent
- Cancer screening and prevention: 17 percent
- Other women's health services: 11 percent
- Abortion services: 3 percent
- Other health services: 2 percent
In a statement about the GAO report, Rep. John Boehner said "Nearly $660 million of this taxpayer funding has gone to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. This is an indefensible expenditure of taxpayer funds." I double-dog dare Rep. John Boehner to go to any of the Planned Parenthood facilities nearest his district. I dare him to go and talk to people who actually use Planned Parenthood services, and to find out what services they are there for and why. I will even save him some work and offer this link, where he can type in 45069, his hometown zip code, to find the 20 nearest clinics. But oehner, I will warn you of this: of those 20 clinics, only one actually offers abortion services. So if you want to rail against abortion, you're going to have to go to that one! That one, out of 20 clinics.
Also, let's say Planned Parenthood is the nation's largest abortion provider. Then consider this: In 2005, there were 1.21 million abortions were performed in the United States. That same year, Planned Parenthood performed 264,943 abortion. That sure is a LOT of abortions NOT being provided by Planned Parenthood! (See how fun facts are!)
I am somewhat digressing, so let me get back to the "taxpayers paying for abortions" nonsense. Last year, Rep. Mike Pence introduced an amendment to take away all Title X funding from Planned Parenthood. His proposed amendment says this (PDF):
AMENDMENT TO H.R. llll, AS REPORTEDYou can also read Pence's statement made on the House floor here. If passed, this would obviously hinder Planned Parenthood's funding, 34 percent of which comes from government grants (according to the 2007-2008 report mentioned above), though I don't know if all of that is from Title X funding. Pence has also introduced the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which presumably extends beyond Planned Parenthood. (Neither of these seem to be going anywhere at the moment, as far as I can tell.) He is calling for that to be passed in light of this GAO report. So I extend my double-dog dare to Pence, as well. Maybe he and Boehner can take a trip together? Because here's the thing: TAXPAYERS AREN'T FUNDING ABORTIONS. And! PEOPLE NEED THE SERVICES OFFERED AT PLANNED PARENTHOOD. Especially since politicians such as yourselves don't want people to have accessible health care!
(LABOR, HHS, EDUCATION APPROPRIATIONS)
OFFERED BY MR. PENCE OF INDIANA
At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert
1 SEC. 5ll. None of the funds made available under
2 this Act shall be available to Planned Parenthood for any
3 purpose under title X of the Public Health Services Act.
One more note to consider about taxpayers' money: Did you know that during the entirety of Bush's presidency, $10.6 BILLION was given to faith-based organizations? Where is the GAO report on that money?