Ending Taxpayer Funding of Planned Parenthood
Rep. Mike Pence (R, IN-05) has re-introduced legislation to end all federal funding to Planned Parenthood. The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act (H.R. 217 in the 112th Congress) prohibits the distribution of Title X family planning money to entities that use abortion as a method of family planning. The bi-partisan bill has 122 co-sponsors.
If passed, this legislation would have a huge impact on Planned Parenthood that reported having performed 324,008 abortions in 2010, the same year they received $368 million in U.S. government grants and contracts.
Catholic Advocate agrees with Congressman Pence that this type of federal funding needs to end. This effort will be helped by Abby Johnson’s recently released book Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line. The story of Johnson’s resignation as a clinic director could help dampen public support for taxpayer money being doled out to Planned Parenthood.
On January 10, Abby Johnson participated in a Webcast hosted by David Bereit, National Director of 40 Days for Life and Shawn Carney, National Campaign Director of 40 Days for Life. Prior to airing, over 20,000 people had signed up to listen to Johnson’s remarkable story.
Abby Johnson resigned from her position as director of the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Bryan, Texas on October 6, 2009. Only a few days prior to her resignation, Johnson had witnessed an ultrasound-guided abortion at her clinic. Watching the unborn child struggle to get away from the abortionist’s weapon of death, the cannula, she was overwhelmed with the realization that fetuses are living human beings.
Johnson felt betrayed by Planned Parenthood. They had convinced her years before that “fetal tissue” cannot experience pain until the 28th week of gestation. This baby, who’s life she had watched being literally sucked from his mother’s womb, was 12 weeks old — just one week younger than her daughter Grace had been when Johnson and her husband had witnessed an ultrasound of the baby growing in her own womb.
When the ultrasound picture turned black, indicating that the baby was completely aborted, Johnson knew that her life was changed forever. She looked out the window at those praying silently on the sidewalk in front of her clinic, and saw them in a new light.
These protesters would become her friends and offer the support she needed to quit her job, renounce the mission of Planned Parenthood, and join the pro-life movement. They would also lend her much-needed support when Planned Parenthood launched a legal effort to have her silenced.
During the Webcast, Johnson spoke of being raised in a pro-life Christian family. She had not been able to tell them for sixteen months that she had begun to volunteer with Planned Parenthood. Johnson eventually became a paid employee, convinced that their goal was to reduce the number of abortions by offering contraception.
As director of a Planned Parenthood clinic, Johnson ran the entire facility, including scheduling doctors to perform abortions every Saturday. She had begun to wonder why she was being pressed to increase her “quota” of cervical abortions each Saturday; they were already scheduling up to 35 in one day.
She found the answer through her membership in CAP, Consortium of Abortion Facilities. CAP had a map showing all PP clinics in the country, those performing abortions and those not doing so. The goal, she was told, was to see that “all” clinics would perform abortions. Planned Parenthood, Johnson was to learn, made the bulk of their profit from performing abortions while losing money in the area of family planning. When Johnson commented at a meeting that they were a “non-profit” organization, she was told that non-profit is a “tax” status not a “business” status.
After seeing the abortion on ultrasound, Johnson called Shawn Carney of the Pro-Life Coalition, a person who for many years had been an opponent of abortion and her Planned Parenthood clinic. Carney and the other members of his organization welcomed her, prayed for her, and when Planned Parenthood brought suit, with Carney as co-plaintiff, the Pro-Life Coalition supported her all the way to the verdict.
Johnson won the court case brought by Planned Parenthood, making her free to share her story, to tell the truth about Planned Parenthood and its effort to benefit financially from the killing of innocent human life.
When asked what she would tell people who want to help stop abortion, Johnson first urges prayer and the need to be present at abortion clinics. To be effective, Johnson stresses, it is important to be peaceful, prayerful, and compassionate. The person who seeks help from a pro-lifer may be someone coming to the clinic for an abortion, or it just might be a clinic worker, like Abby Johnson, who has seen the light.
Catholic Advocate hopes Johnson’s new book Unplanned will help build support for Rep. Pence’s legislation to end all federal funding of Planned Parenthood and other organizations promoting abortion as a form of family planning.
By Brenda Steele, Director of Catholic Advocate
To contact your Member of Congress about this legislation, visit the Catholic Advocate Voice Action Center.