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Obama administration chooses Planned Parenthood over women's health

abortion protest outside planned parenthood in DC

FILE: Planned Parenthood clinic escorts, in orange, stand in front of a group of anti-abortion protestors outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington. (AP)

The Obama administration’s decision this month to award $3.1 million in federal funds to Planned Parenthood affiliates and other family planning groups in New Jersey comes as no surprise.

Despite the $15 trillion national debt, the administration seems willing to keep borrowing to support the nation’s largest abortion provider.

And this isn’t the first time the Obama administration has stepped in to ensure that taxpayer dollars continue to flow to its favorite abortion provider even at the expense of women’s health care.

Last summer the Obama administration threatened to pull $4.3 billion in Medicaid funding from Indiana after the state’s legislature voted to prohibit all health care contracts with and grants to any “entity,” including Planned Parenthood, that performs abortions or operates a facility where abortions are performed.

Just months later, the Obama administration flagrantly disregarded New Hampshire’s decision to cancel a $1.8 million contract with Planned Parenthood in favor of contracting with health care facilities that offer women full-service care. Ignoring the will of the residents of New Hampshire, the administration directly awarded a $1 million contract to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

'Keeping the coffers of the abortion mega-provider flush with taxpayer cash was more important to the Obama administration than health care for poor women and their families.'

Fast-forward to this past March, when the Obama administration exposed its paramount loyalties to Planned Parenthood yet again.

After the Texas Health and Human Services Commission issued a rule excluding abortion providers from participation in the Texas Women’s Health Program (Texas WHP) because it wanted to prioritize funding to organizations that would provide quality, comprehensive health care to low-income women and their families, the Obama administration stepped in and pulled all federal funding for the Texas WHP. Notably, Planned Parenthood stood to lose nearly $47 million under Texas’ reprioritization of funding.

However, keeping the coffers of the abortion mega-provider flush with taxpayer cash was more important to the Obama administration than health care for poor women and their families.

The Obama administration denied funding for basic health care to women in need in an attempt to force Texas taxpayers to fund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. So much for caring about women’s health.

July has been a particularly lucrative month for Planned Parenthood at the expense of women’s health. In addition to New Jersey, the Obama administration’s loyalty to Planned Parenthood and to ensuring unfettered access to abortion providers at the taxpayers’ expense was further exposed when the Obama administration contracted directly with Planned Parenthood in Tennessee after state officials stopped taxpayer funds from going to organizations that provide abortions.

And just last week, the Obama administration overrode North Carolina's decision to redirect funds away from Planned Parenthood, and directly awarded $426,000 in federal grants to Planned Parenthood affiliates in the state.

Clearly, the Obama administration has exhibited a pattern and practice over the past year of intervening to protect one of its closest political allies that is also the nation’s largest abortion provider currently under congressional investigation.

But what is truly surprising and remarkable about this symbiotic devotion between the Obama administration and Planned Parenthood is the disturbing disregard for women’s full-service health care and the willingness to use women and children as hostages to force continued funding of the abortion mega-provider.

Planned Parenthood loves to portray itself as an organization motivated, not by abortion politics and profits, but by an overarching concern for women’s health, asserting that “in many communities it is the only source of affordable quality health care for women.” Like most claims made by Planned Parenthood, this assertion falls apart upon closer examination.

Notably, faced with the loss of millions of dollars in Medicaid and other government funding, Planned Parenthood’s CEO Cecile Richards claimed that Indiana’s law denying funding to abortion providers would prohibit “nearly 10,000 women from accessing preventive health care.”

However, according to their own statistics, Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana serve less than 1 percent of the state’s Medicaid patients, while providing more than 50 percent of the state’s abortions. Clearly, the overwhelming majority of Indiana women receiving Medicaid were getting their basic health care elsewhere.

Many are likely receiving care at community health centers which, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers, provide health care to the nation’s underserved populations, including the uninsured, those on Medicaid and Medicare, migrant workers and people living in rural areas. Nearly 40 percent of the income for these centers comes from Medicaid.

What is true in Indiana is likely true across the country.

According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, community health centers provide more than 9,000 doctors, 10,000 nurses, and 8,000 health care delivery sites across the nation. These centers, and others like them, provide more comprehensive health care to serve the needs of American women -- a fact readily acknowledged in states that have reprioritized their healthcare funding.

Remarkably, Planned Parenthood’s “quality” health care does not even provide mammograms to women. Rather, Planned Parenthood must refer women to other clinics for this important, often life-saving, test.

For pregnant women, Planned Parenthood’s provided “services” are overwhelmingly abortion in contrast to providing pregnant women with prenatal care or adoption referrals. Indeed, the disparity between Planned Parenthood’s provision of abortion and its provision of other pregnancy services has increased annually since 1996.

It is time that women’s lives and comprehensive, physical needs were treated as a priority.

Seven in 10 Americans -- both those who self-describe as pro-life and pro-choice -- say they don’t want their tax dollars to fund abortion.

And yet, Planned Parenthood pulls in more than $1 million a day in taxpayer monies.

Outside of Planned Parenthood and the Obama administration, there is little support for redirecting funds from full-service health care facilities and physicians to the abortion mega-provider. It’s time to put women’s health care above Planned Parenthood’s desire for taxpayer dollars.

Kellie Fiedorek is staff counsel at Americans United for Life.