Taxpayers sent $1.5 billion to abortion providers between 2013 and 2015, according to a new report.
The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan watchdog agency, found that state and local governments have paid $1.5 billion to abortion providers Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), Marie Stopes International (MSI), and International Planned Parenthood Federation. Payments to those three groups accounted for about 5 percent of the $27 billion sent to health care organizations for family services, with the majority of money going to federally qualified health centers that do not perform abortions. The review was requested by 120 members of Congress, all of whom have expressed support for legislation that would redirect money from abortion providers to the local health centers that do not perform abortions. Rep. Diane Black (R., Tenn.), a career nurse, called the findings "sickening."
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"This GAO report exposes that these atrocities are done at the expense of taxpayers. No matter our views on abortion, or the party label beside our name, we must ensure that our money is spent responsibly and with integrity," she said in a release. "Abortion is not family planning. abortion is family destruction, and the fact that $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars is funneled to this industry is sickening. The American people deserve better."
MSI operates exclusively overseas and reported to the GAO that it performed 3.4 million abortions or post-abortion services in 2015 alone. Federal funding represented about 10 percent of its $391 million revenue. Taxpayer dollars accounted for 49 percent of the $1.3 billion PPFA received in 2015, while "government grants were IPPF’s primary source of funding in fiscal year 2015, accounting for 68 percent of its total income," according to the report. Planned Parenthood's international arm is active in 168 countries.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) said the funding levels were "absurd." She pointed to the fact that the federal government already has established partnerships with thousands of health centers across the country and that money can be redirected away from supporting abortion providers while preserving access to services for Americans. The Trump administration has taken steps to cut down on financial support for abortion providers, even as Planned Parenthood defunding measures have failed to clear the Republican-controlled legislature. One of his first acts in office was to reinstitute the Mexico City Policy, which bars federal aid dollars from being used to pay for abortion—reversing an Obama executive order.
"More than $1.5 billion in tax payers' dollars should not go to an organization with such blatant disrespect for human life," Ernst said in a statement. "We have made great strides to protect life under the Trump administration, but there is more work to be done, and we remain committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our society."
A six-month State Department review of the Mexico City Policy's effect found a nearly seamless transition, as "nearly all prime partners that have had the opportunity to accept the policy have done so; prime partners declined to sign in only four instances out of 733 awards." MSI, Planned Parenthood, and other pro-abortion groups have condemned the Mexico City Policy as the "global gag rule."
Rep. Chris Smith (R., N.J.) also highlighted the administration's resistance to the "abortion industry's push to integrate abortion into primary health care services." He said women in developing countries should be given assistance that protects their health and that of the child, rather than helping to fund abortion. He hopes that the same policy can be achieved on the domestic front.
"Thankfully, under President Trump’s Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy, international abortion groups, like MSI and IPPF, must agree to not perform or promote abortion in order to receive taxpayer dollars," Smith said in a statement. "This reform ensures that U.S. international aid funds life-affirming care for both women and children. A similar protection should become the standard for all government funding; abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood—responsible for killing more than seven million unborn children—must no longer be subsidized by the American taxpayer."
Taxpayer payments to abortion providers have increased dramatically in recent years. The GAO report updated a previous one that examined funding levels to six abortion providers or supporters between 2010 and 2012; that study did not focus on MSI, but did include pro-abortion research groups—the Guttmacher Institute, Population Council, Advocates for Youth, and Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. The previous study found that state and federal taxpayers paid those six groups $718 million over three years—Planned Parenthood, its international arm, and MSI collected more than twice as much from taxpayers between 2013 and 2015.
Neither Planned Parenthood nor MSI returned requests for comment.