Defund Planned Parenthood: Everything You Need to Know About PPFA Funding

ByMarlena Luhr

Recently, Oklahoma cut over $400,000 of funding to Planned Parenthood clinics. According to Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) Planned Parenthood’s abortion services “is the darkest stain on our nation’s character.”  In the upcoming election, Mitt Romney has promised to defund Planned Parenthood on the federal level should he be elected as the new president on Tuesday. These extreme proposals regarding Planned Parenthood require that any decisions made are made with accurate facts about the organization.

There are currently many misconceptions about where funding for Planned Parenthood goes. There are two branches of Planned Parenthood; the Federation of America and the Action Fund. Both branches have main offices in DC and in New York, but they have different focuses. 

PPFA provides support for “health, education and advocacy missions of its 75 affiliates nationwide, which operate nearly 800 health centers in almost every state.” They have provided a range of health care including routine gynecological exams, breast and cervical cancer screenings, contraceptive services, abortion care, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, and HIV testing and education. Currently, 1 in 5 American women visits a Planned Parenthood health center sometime during her lifetime. According to an ISSUU action fund presentation, Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of sex education in the country. Every year, the organization reaches more than 1.1 million people of all ages.

Conversely, the Action Fund is a Planned Parenthood 501c(4) entity which is a nonpartisan advocacy and political arm for the organization. The Action Fund focuses on engaging educational and electoral activity, including legislative advocacy, voter education and grassroots organizing to promote the Planned Parenthood mission. The advocacy that the Action Fund participates in includes changes in public policy and ensuring access to comprehensive and affordable health care. They compile up-to-date information concerning state and federal legislation, and spread information about legislation relating to reproductive rights.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America has funding for separate purposes than Planned Parenthood Action Fund. According to the 2010 PPFA annual report, the breakdown of services used was 38.0% for STI testing and treatment, 33.5% for contraception, 14.5% for cancer screening and prevention, 10.4% for other women’s health services (including pregnancy tests and prenatal services), 6% for other services, and 3% for abortion services. 

For many people, a major focal point surrounding funding for Planned Parenthood is the desire that federal tax dollars do not go toward abortions in PPFA funding. However, concern over funding abortion via Planned Parenthood is based on misconceptions about the nature of the funding. The Hyde Amendment, a portion of the Labor/Health and Human Services/Education appropriations bill, prevents Medicaid and any other programs under these departments from funding abortions, except in cases of incest or rape. This policy has stopped federal tax dollars from funding abortions in Planned Parenthood health clinics.

As a result, defunding Planned Parenthood on the federal level is simply attacking the 97% of other services that are non-abortion related.