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Anti-abortion-rights group asks for money in order to defund Planned Parenthood ‘once and for all’

MahurinEcon_Thumb_1190.jpg
MahurinEcon_Thumb_1190.jpg

National anti-abortion-rights policy group Americans United for Life emailed supporters Monday announcing a new strategy in the form of a video to try “once and for all” to defund Planned Parenthood, which AUL CEO and President Charmaine Yoest refers to as, “the nation’s abortion super-provider,” “an abortion mega-provider” and “the nation’s No. 1 anti-life business.”

The strategy? Donating money to AUL’s lobbying arm, Americans United for Life Action, to help them stop money from going to Planned Parenthood through legislative efforts.

Noting that “it’s hard to fully appreciate just how entangled Planned Parenthood has become with your tax dollars,” AUL’s “video strategy briefing” –- emailed exclusively to subscribers of the AUL newsletter -– offers statistics and statements on Planned Parenthood and then asks for a “generous donation” to “make [Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richard’s] fears a reality and put an end to Planned Parenthood’s lifeline of government money.”

Though, none of the information released in the video is new (most of the statistics are taken from Planned Parenthood’s oft-quoted annual statement from 2008 [PDF]), AULA’s strategy team zeros in on the financial aspect of the abortion debate, telling viewers that if all taxpayer dollars were eliminated from Planned Parenthood’s budget, the organization would no longer perform abortions.

“Unless we as a movement press this issue right now, Planned Parenthood’s financial lifeline will remain safe, and that many more lives will be lost,” says Yoest, the video’s sole narrator. “We need to seize this moment. Because it’s your money, you should always have a say in how it’s spent. But unless we act now, Congress will simply assume the American people don’t care about taxpayer-subsidized abortion.”

Yoest likens Planned Parenthood as “a behemoth that’s out of control” and implies that Planned Parenthood is responsible for the majority of abortions that are performed annually. She claims the number of abortions Planned Parenthood provided in 2008 — 324,008 — is the equivalent of filling the seats at the Rose Bowl three-and-a-half times. At the same time, she notes that those abortions in 2008 accounted for 25 percent of all abortions that year. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 1.21 million abortions were performed in 2008.

“Remember, they are a business, and just like any franchise industry, their goal is to grow and expand access to abortion,” Yoest says.

The other piece of AULA’s strategy is Planned Parenthood’s funding vulnerability in the wake of national and state efforts to strip the organization of all public funding — though all such funds are directed toward Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services.

“Planned Parenthood is vulnerable precisely because it relies on our taxes to survive,” Yoest says. “If we can cut them off, that would be a tremendous blow to Planned Parenthood and its anti-life programs. … [W]e need to move quickly to capitalize on the unprecedented pro-life political climate.”

Yoest asks specifically for contributions of $50, $100, $250 or more, and offers as the organization’s credibility the fact that AUL’s legal strategists “have been involved in every pro-life case before the Supreme Court since Roe v. Wade.”

AUL’s “life-saving activities” include lobbying for anti-abortion-rights laws and authoring and supporting legislation that imposes restrictions on abortion-seekers and abortion providers and calls for public funding of crisis pregnancy centers.

For an updated list on statewide legislation AUL has either developed or promoted, go here.

Watch American United for Life Action’s video strategy briefing:

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