By Jim Sedlak
The week of May 15, 2017, was one of the most fascinating in our 32 years of fighting Planned Parenthood. Over the course of four days, we learned that Planned Parenthood affiliates will close 10 clinics in four states during the next few months.
Late Monday night, news broke from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains that it will close one of its three clinics in Albuquerque (NM). It will also close clinics in Rio Rancho (NM), Farmingdale (NM), Casper (WY), Longmont (CO), and Parker (CO).
Then, just a couple of days later, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland also announced the closing of four of its Iowa clinics. Those clinics are located in Burlington, Keokuk, Sioux City, and Bettendorf. This brings to 20 the number of Planned Parenthood clinic closings in Iowa since 2010. It has only eight left.
The Casper closing is of particular interest as it is the last Planned Parenthood facility in the state. PPRM said it is closing this clinic because it simply did not have enough customers and the clinic has become financially unviable. Casper now has three other providers that offer women’s healthcare and, apparently, local people would rather go there than to the abortion giant. The Casper facility was down to serving only 480 customers a year.
Commenting on all the PPRM closings, Whitney Phillips, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said:
We supported (Obamacare) because we love the idea of more people having health insurance and increasing access to the critical services that they need, but a lot of our patients were self-pay. They would come in and get a pap smear and pay out of pocket. Under the ACA, a lot of patients were given the opportunity to be on Medicaid. Again, that’s wonderful, but it meant that rather than bill them directly, we had to bill Medicaid. And Medicaid reimburses at a very low rate.
The Denver Post reported that Phillips said this changed how Planned Parenthood does business and changed the way the organization was able to get reimbursements from insurance companies.
We found this analysis interesting, especially in light of the fact that Planned Parenthood of the Heartland presented a similar explanation four years ago for its Iowa closings. At that time, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s CEO Jill June stated: “With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) transforming the health care industry, it’s imperative that we continue to develop operating models that will best position Planned Parenthood as a provider the people in our communities rely on. . . . Sacrifices must be made in order to invest our resources where we can make the biggest difference.”
Jenifer Bowen, longtime head of Iowa Right to Life, noticed this trend years ago and said in a 2013 press release commenting on earlier Planned Parenthood closures in Iowa: “It would be ironic if Planned Parenthood fought so hard for Obamacare and the publicly funded birth control mandate and had to lay off or cut the hours of their own staff to keep from paying the additional benefits required by Obamacare.”
We reached out to Sue Thayer, a former employee of Planned Parenthood and manager of one of its Iowa clinics. Sue told us:
I find it interesting that Ms. Phillips states that most of their clients are self-pay, which is the opposite of what they always proclaim. PP jacks up prices so high in order to get the max reimbursement from third-party payers, that anyone who is self-pay is really getting slammed. So if clients are self-pay, they can absolutely afford to go anywhere for care! PP is just used to having an incredible amount of disposable income and as this funding source dries up, they are really feeling the pinch.
Looking at all this information, Judie Brown, cofounder and president of American Life League—an organization that has been fighting Planned Parenthood and its taxpayer funding since it was founded in 1979—commented:
When PP started out, it laid the groundwork for its work on the support of citizens and some pretty heavy hitters. Sanger was a master at getting large sums of money to fund her work. But then along came a government program that PP helped create. It was called Title X and the rest of it is history. For years now PP has lived on the fat of the land (our tax dollars) and now it finds that not even heavy hitters are so eager to step in and fill in the void. . . . I think PP made an assumption that it was ENTITLED to government funds without accountability. That proved fatal. Even if it were to recoup its losses, the organization will never again be the fat cat (pig) at the trough of tax dollars that it once was.
Of course, healthcare reimbursements are just one part of the explanation for Planned Parenthood closures. As Brown observed, the falling fortunes of Planned Parenthood can also be explained “in large part to the combined efforts of our work, Daleiden's videos, and an increasing number of educated Americans, including politicians.”
Those who follow Planned Parenthood closely are frequently left with questions when these announcements from Planned Parenthood are made. Dwain Currier, digital media specialist at American Life League, and steadfast follower of Planned Parenthood on Twitter and other social media, wonders:
What steps has Planned Parenthood taken prior to the decision to close centers? I'd be interested to know what that is. Cut staff? Cut programs? Reduce abortion days so that the abortionist is paid less? Do CEOs ever cut their own salaries?
According to the Planned Parenthood CEO Salary Report released by STOPP earlier this year, the 56 Planned Parenthood affiliates’ CEOs earn an annual average salary of $237,999. As Planned Parenthood has closed dozens of clinics over the last two years, the CEO salaries have increased 22 percent. For all its public crying about serving poor people, it is clearly more interested in increasing the wealth of its executives.
The bottom line, of course, is that Planned Parenthood is closing clinics and we are happy about that. Typically, when clinics are closed, babies’ lives are saved and young people do not get drawn into sexual lifestyles through Planned Parenthood sex indoctrination programs. Many years ago we conducted an analysis of clinic closings and determined that every Planned Parenthood clinic that closes, on the average, results in the saving of 149 babies each year. In addition, 1,600 teens a year are saved from Planned Parenthood sex programs with each closure. Thus, the 10 closures announced last week will result in 1,490 babies being saved from a brutal death every year and 16,000 teens spared the ordeal of verbal sexual abuse in Planned Parenthood classes.
How great would it be if Planned Parenthood announced the closing of all 600 of its remaining clinics by the end of 2017?
Jim Sedlak is executive director of American Life League and founder of STOPP International. He has been fighting Planned Parenthood since 1985.