National anti-abortion leaders say Sen. Susan Collins is spreading “misinformation” in her statements of support for continued taxpayer funding of America’s largest provider of abortions, Planned Parenthood.
Appearing as a guest Sunday on ABC’s This Week, the Republican senator from Maine said it would be “a mistake” to defund Planned Parenthood in the Republican healthcare bill:
That is an important issue to me because I don’t think that low-income women should be denied their choice of health care providers, for family planning, cancer screenings, for well-women care. It’s not the only issue in this huge bill. But I certainly think it’s not fair and it is a mistake to defund Planned Parenthood. It’s one of many issues.
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) May 8, 2017
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, tells Breitbart News these remarks by Collins – a longtime supporter of Planned Parenthood – actually hurt low-income women who need more comprehensive healthcare services.
“It’s misinformation about Planned Parenthood like Senator Collins and others are spreading that hurt low-income women and others who need basic healthcare the most,” says Hawkins, who heads the nation’s largest organization of pro-life youth. “There are thousands of Federally Qualified Health Centers [FQHCs] all over the country that provide more comprehensive care than Planned Parenthood and are also government-subsidized through Medicaid.”
FQHCs outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics by at least 20 to 1.
“It’s a disservice to prop the abortion giant up as some leader in healthcare when they aren’t,” Hawkins continues. “In fact, they are only experts at one thing: providing abortions. Everything else is secondary.”
In August of 2015, Collins joined fellow Planned Parenthood Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK) and then-Sen. Mark Kirk (IL) in legislation that would protect the abortion vendor, even though videos had recently been released alleging that Planned Parenthood profits from the sale of the body parts of babies aborted in its clinics.
Collins said on the Senate floor that she was “sickened” by the videos and found “the callousness” of Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of body parts “appalling.”
“We do, however, need to keep in mind the fact that Planned Parenthood provides important family planning, cancer screening, and basic preventive health care services to millions of women across the country,” Collins nevertheless continued. “For many women, Planned Parenthood clinics provide the only health care services they receive.”
Collins added that, in her state of Maine, Planned Parenthood’s defunding would lead to “a 63 percent increase” in the patient load of other community health centers.
“In addition, these other family planning clinics receiving Title X family planning funds are predominantly in the central, western, and northern parts of Maine – none are in the area currently served by Planned Parenthood,” the senator said.
Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, tells Breitbart News, however, that 145 federally funded community healthcare centers are located in Maine.
These entities outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities by a ratio of 36 to 1 and provide primary and preventative health care services without promoting or performing abortion. Planned Parenthood’s four facilities in Maine are all concentrated in the southeastern part of the state and the average distance between each Planned Parenthood and the nearest alternative is 7.5 miles – the farthest distance is 14 miles away and the nearest one is less than 1 mile away (see chart below):
Donovan observes that Congress expanded FQHCs last December with new grants and urges them to do so again wherever services are lacking.
“This pro-life Administration and our pro-life majorities in Congress have the primary role and responsibility to ensure that community center replacements are available in locations where any non-abortion services of Planned Parenthood are missed,” he adds. “The location of previously funded Planned Parenthoods should certainly be a consideration in opening new FQHCs, especially given the need for services only FQHCs provide including treatment of diabetes, mammograms, mental health care, and much more.”
Hawkins also explains that as Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding has actually increased over the past several years, the chain’s “actual healthcare services have plummeted.”
A video released this year by pro-life organization Live Action demonstrates the decline in healthcare services at Planned Parenthood:
“Breast exams dropped 60%, pap tests 77%, and cancer screenings 68% over the past 10 years,” Hawkins notes. “During the same time, government funding doubled and Planned Parenthood closed 200 facilities.”
Collins is just one of many politicians who continue the narrative that Planned Parenthood provides healthcare services that are “virtually non-existent” in the organization, a term used by Lila Rose, president of Live Action.
“For years, Planned Parenthood supporters in Congress have touted services that are declining, virtually nonexistent, or were never even offered at the abortion group to justify it receiving half a billion dollars from taxpayers every year,” Rose states.
Live Action’s most recent video highlights how pro-abortion politicians promote Planned Parenthood’s so-called “healthcare services,” when such services are either unavailable or largely declining:
In March, the New York Times reported the White House informally proposed to Planned Parenthood that it stop performing abortions in order to continue receiving taxpayer funding. The organization’s president, Cecile Richards, however, rejected the proposal, tweeting that abortion is as “vital to our mission as birth control or cancer screenings”:
Planned Parenthood is proud to provide abortion—a necessary service that’s as vital to our mission as birth control or cancer screenings. https://t.co/TWGOcVjBJ4
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) March 6, 2017
Among Trump’s four policy commitments to the pro-life base of the Republican Party is that he would defund Planned Parenthood, as long as the organization continues to perform abortions, and reallocate those funds to other federally qualified community healthcare centers.
In February, Christopher Jacobs, CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Juniper Research Group, noted at The Federalist that the Obamacare “replacement” plan introduced by Collins and Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy (LA) would not only allow for taxpayer funding of abortion, but would actually expand its funding over that provided in the original Affordable Care Act.
A former senior policy analyst in the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Health Policy Studies, and a senior policy analyst with the Joint Economic Committee’s Senate Republican staff, Jacobs warned Collins’s Patient Freedom Act “would go further than Obamacare in funding abortion coverage.”
“Whereas Obamacare provides federal funding for insurance plans that cover abortion, the Patient Freedom Act would allow for direct federal funding of abortion procedures themselves,” he said.
A recent Marist poll found that 61 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including 40 percent of those who say they are “pro-choice,” and 41 percent of Democrats.
Planned Parenthood performs more than 300,000 abortions per year and receives over a half billion dollars in federal taxpayer funding annually. The organization has been referred for possible criminal prosecution by several congressional committees following allegations it sells the harvested body parts of aborted babies for a profit.
“The abortion giant does not deserve taxpayer funding and should be stripped of all opportunities to receive any money from the government when there so many other actual medical centers that could use the money for real healthcare services for women,” Hawkins says.