Coronavirus

Lawmakers Call on Planned Parenthood to Return $80 Million in Small Business Loans

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Lawmakers and pro-life activists are calling on Planned Parenthood to return the $80 million the abortion provider received through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Thirty-seven of the organization's affiliates applied for and obtained loans through the program, and the federal government is now saying the affiliates should have known they were not eligible to receive federal stimulus, according to Fox News. The agency in charge of distributing the loans is informing Planned Parenthood's affiliates the money must be returned.

In order to qualify for loans, businesses and any affiliates are required to have fewer than 500 employees, a number Planned Parenthood exceeds. If the organization applied for the loans knowing it did not qualify, it could face legal action.

The largest loan the organization received was a $7.5 million stimulus to a California Planned Parenthood affiliate.

Planned Parenthood reported more than $2.2 billion in assets in its 2018-19 annual report. The requests for federal stimulus come after the organization turned down federal Title X funding last August, citing the Trump administration's regulation prohibiting abortion referrals as a "method of family planning."

Republican lawmakers and pro-life activist groups are calling for the money to be returned immediately.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) said Planned Parenthood employees should face prosecution if anyone within the organization knowingly falsified PPP applications.

"Those funds must be returned immediately," Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) added. "Furthermore, the [Small Business Association] should open an investigation into how these loans were made in clear violation of the applicable affiliation rules, and if Planned Parenthood, the banks, or staff at the SBA knowingly violated the law all appropriate legal options should be pursued."

Sen. Rick Scott (R., Fla.) echoed calls for the money to be returned, saying Floridians should not be on the hook to "bail out a huge organization like Planned Parenthood."

The Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life activist group, blasted Planned Parenthood for taking advantage of the crisis.

"Across the country, Planned Parenthood refused to cease its abortion operation in the wake of the pandemic, hoarding personal protective equipment and putting its staff and women at risk," the group said. "It is rich that they, in turn, feel entitled to taxpayer dollars meant to help businesses in need."

"They should return this funding immediately," the group added.