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Anti-abortion rights group offers Congress reasons to investigate (and defund) Planned Parenthood

Conservative policy group Americans United for Life’s stated plans to help defund Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) one state at a time were amplified Thursday with the release of a report citing supposed violations of federal-funding rules by the national family planning and abortion provider. AUL is calling for Congress to launch an investigation against Planned Parenthood, with the hopeful outcome of stripping the organization of all public money now and forever.

The majority of the allegations in this report are not new — many of the claims of wrongdoing date back several years — but they have been organized into deliberate categories and bolstered by a 144-page appendix that consists of financial and annual statements from Planned Parenthood since the early 1990s; documents including old court records and memos, as well as clandestinely recorded conversations between Planned Parenthood employees and Live Action members posing as minors.

AUL’s claims are supported by 250 end-notes, many of them references to letters or newspaper articles not included in the document.The allegations against PPFA are organized by the following accusations:

  • Planned Parenthood uses “family planning” as a front to its only concern, which is performing as many abortions as it can.
  • Planned Parenthood has misused federal government funding.
  • Planned Parenthood willingly engages in violations of state and federal laws related to prostitution and sex-trafficking and related to parental involvement laws for abortion.

The evidence that PPFA has allegedly misused federal funding amounts to Planned Parenthood affiliates in California, New Jersey, New York and Washington state allegedly over-billing government health care programs.

In California, the 2004 audit of Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties revealed that instead of billing family planning services at cost, “the Planned Parenthood affiliate improperly marked-up the price of drugs.” According to the report, an audit found that this affiliate’s improper billing practice resulted in overpayment from the government of approximately $5.2 million in one fiscal year. The footnote accompanying this claim cites a letter the California Department of Health Services sent to Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties. The letter is not included. A subsequent footnote notes that no punitive, remedial or corrective actions were taken against the affiliate.

AUL also cites a 2008 complaint launched against Planned Parenthood affiliates in California by a former Planned Parenthood vice president of finance and administration, Victor Gonzalez (employed between 2002 and 2004), who alleged that a Planned Parenthood CEO at one point asked him to asses the impact of over-billing practices. The complaint was dismissed in 2010.

The claims that Planned Parenthood “partners with pimps” are bolstered by transcripts from Live Action footage. Allegations that Planned Parenthood employees mislead women to encourage them to obtain abortions are similarly supported by documentation from Live Action sting operations and testimony from former Planned Parenthood employee/current anti-abortion rights activist Abby Johnson. In the appendix, a legal complaint is included from a case in Ohio in which Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region and employees were sued for allegedly failing to report incestuous sexual abuse of a minor.

Earlier this year, The American Independent reported that AUL had drafted model legislation (PDF) titled “Joint Resolution to Promote Women’s Safety by Investigating and Defunding Planned Parenthood and Other Abortion Providers,” intended to be adopted by state legislatures. In e-mails, press releases and a recent public television appearance, AUL CEO and President Charmaine Yoest has stated her organization’s intention to use its resources to help strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding state by state.

However, AUL’s call for a federal investigation appears to be an attempt to speed up the process. Commenting on the 37-page report of alleged wrongdoings (which was leaked to a few media outlets before Thursday, excluding TAI), anti-abortion rights blogger Jill Stanek wrote on her blog:

Before other organizations have been defunded, they have often been investigated to determine if they deserve the continued generosity of the American taxpayer. The AUL report provides the foundation for deciding whether to fund Planned Parenthood at the state and federal levels.

Planned Parenthood spokesperson Tait Sye told TAI that many claims and accusations in Americans United for Life’s report are misleading or inaccurate. He said PPFA has fact-checked the report and is preparing a rebuttal of many of AUL’s claims to be released Thursday evening.

As a handy aide to lawmakers, AUL also included in its report a list of 44 “potential witnesses for congressional hearings” in this potential investigation against Planned Parenthood.

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