Planned Parenthood’s Con Game

I grew up in and around New York City; so, at an early age, I became aware of con men plying their trade. From the three-card monte dealers on the streets around the city to the well-dressed panhandlers outside Grand Central Station who supposedly needed money just for a train ticket home to Stamford, Connecticut, I saw some of the best.

Last week, I read the latest annual report from Planned Parenthood Federation of America and realized that Planned Parenthood makes these con men of my youth look like amateur boobs. Using sleight-of-hand tricks and fast-talking persuasion, Planned Parenthood is running the most organized and successful con game in the country.

Let’s look at just three examples of what Planned Parenthood is doing. We’ll look at its handling of abortion, taxpayer funding and racism.

In its latest annual report, Planned Parenthood is doing everything it can to downplay the size of its abortion business. "It’s only three percent of our activities," it trumpets several times in the 16-page report. The idea we are supposed to get is that Planned Parenthood commits a minuscule number of abortions. Yet, as with any good con game, the reality is far from the impression they want you to have.

Buried in the report’s service statistics is the fact that Planned Parenthood aborted 289,750 babies in its own facilities in 2006. Now, there are about 1.2 million abortions in the United States each year. This means that Planned Parenthood commits 24.1 percent of all the abortions in the country. In addition, Planned Parenthood does not do these abortions for free. It charges an average of $435 for a first-trimester abortion. This means that Planned Parenthood takes in over $126 million from abortion, out of its total clinic income of $356.9 million.

Put another way, almost one out of every four abortions in this country takes place at Planned Parenthood facilities and these abortions account for 35 percent of Planned Parenthood’s clinic income. Yet, Planned Parenthood has the chutzpah to say that abortion is a trivial part of its business and people actually believe these claims! P.T. Barnum, the famous showman credited with the saying "There’s a sucker born every minute," would be proud.

Abortion is not the only arena wherein Planned Parenthood employs the standard techniques of successful con men. Another arena is its supposed need for taxpayer funding.

Many readers will recall what happened in California last summer. Planned Parenthood in California sounded almost suicidal as it cried to anyone who would listen about the alleged shortage of taxpayer money for its business there. Planned Parenthood ran massive publicity campaigns and claimed that 10,000 needy people a month were being turned away from its clinics because the state’s reimbursement rate for its "services" was not high enough. In other states around the nation, Planned Parenthood blamed a lack of taxpayer money for clinic closings.

Now we have the latest annual report. Guess what? According to Planned Parenthood, last year it took in $336.7 million in taxpayer money. This was a record year. It was the most taxpayer money Planned Parenthood has ever received in a single year. It was a 10 percent increase over the previous year. Moreover, Planned Parenthood reports that it made a profit of $114.8 million last year.

You read that correctly: This "poor" organization that was closing clinics and turning away customers because of an alleged lack of funds actually enjoyed a $114.8 million profit!

We did some calculations based on the data in Planned Parenthood’s annual report. It costs Planned Parenthood about $700,000 a year to run an average clinic that has about 12,900 consumer visits each year. This means that with the $114.8 million in profit, Planned Parenthood could have provided services to 2.1 million more customers—many more than the 120,000 customers it claims to have turned away from its doors in California.

Yet our elected officials refuse to see the truth. Planned Parenthood has such a fantastic public relations machine that it keeps churning out the lies and elected officials across the nation line up to hand it money. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister who said “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” would be proud.

The final arena we want to look at in this article is Planned Parenthood’s con game with regard to racism. Of course, Planned Parenthood vehemently denies it is a racist organization. But these pesky facts that it has trouble explaining keep emerging.

In Planned Parenthood’s early days, when it was still called the American Birth Control League, Lothrop Stoddard was on its board of directors. Stoddard was well known for his racist book, The Rising Tide of Color against White World Supremacy. In the late 1930s, Planned Parenthood launched its Negro Project—an effort aimed at getting Black families to stop having children. As late as 1992, Planned Parenthood was still making public the racial makeup of its abortion customers. The data showed that 43 percent of abortions at Planned Parenthood were performed on minority women.

Just recently, there has been much attention to the fact that an actor called many Planned Parenthood facilities several months ago and offered to give them donations, as long as the money would be used to abort Black babies. Although the caller said there were just too many Black babies being born, Planned Parenthood employees in many states gladly said they would accept such a donation.

Planned Parenthood rebuts these reports by criticizing the groups that publicize them. Planned Parenthood points to the fact that one of the first Margaret Sanger awards was given to Martin Luther King, Jr. It ignores the fact that King’s niece, Dr. Alveda King, has demanded that Planned Parenthood stop using her uncle’s name and picture on its website. It tries to make people think that it has compassion for the plight of the Black community and, as a result, it is almost universally accepted by the Congressional Black Caucus. All the while, Planned Parenthood is desperately trying to open a new abortion facility in the predominantly Black neighborhood of Portland, Oregon.  John Lester, founder of the Ku Klux Klan, would be proud.

So, here we are in 2008, reading the newest Planned Parenthood annual report, which contains data that is a year old. We know that Planned Parenthood has begun committing abortions at 53 more of its facilities since the end of 2006. We know that Planned Parenthood is aggressively seeking more government money and has seen increases in Title X funding authorization since the end of its last fiscal period. We know that Planned Parenthood, once again, has to defend itself against charges of racism.

The question is, what happens next? It is our firm hope that people all across America, including our elected officials, will wake up and see the con game that is being perpetrated by Planned Parenthood—that we will finally realize that the only way to win at three-card monte is to run the dealer off the streets. It is time we stop buying into the big lie and begin seeing Planned Parenthood for what it is—a money-hungry behemoth that kills our children and uses our money to push our teens into lives of sin.

Jim Sedlak is vice president of American Life League and the nation’s leading expert on Planned Parenthood.