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Billions for abortion advocacy

The Biden administration directs massive amounts of taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups


A Planned Parenthood building in Indianapolis, Ind. Associated Press/Photo by Darron Cummings

Billions for abortion advocacy
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A recently released federal report shows that almost $2 billion of American taxpayer funds were given to abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood in just three short years. According to the Government Accountability Office, Planned Parenthood and two international abortion groups collectively received $1.89 billion in federal funds from 2019-2021. The influx of cash allows these organizations to advocate for abortion for any reason and without limit—even though federal law prohibits the spending of federal funds on abortion. Worse yet, America’s taxpayers are funding abortions abroad and supporting overseas abortion advocacy.  

The Pro-Life Caucus summary of the report details the massive federal funding of abortion advocacy. Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in America, received an average of nearly $600 million a year in federal funding. This money came from federal grants, reimbursements from Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP federal grants, and the COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., one of the legislators who requested the GAO report on federal abortion funding, criticized Planned Parenthood’s receipts of COVID-19 relief. “While small businesses struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic, Planned Parenthood illegally siphoned over $90 million from the Paycheck Protection Program, specifically designed to help our mom and pop shops keep their doors open,” she said. Because the Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to help small businesses, those with more than 500 employees were ineligible. Planned Parenthood has 16,000 employees nationwide, yet the Biden administration gave nearly $100 million in relief to the group.

It's no surprise what Planned Parenthood did with the money. According to the Pro-Life Caucus report, Planned Parenthood has taken the lives of over 9.3 million unborn children since 1970. And those numbers have been increasing. In the three-year period covered by the GAO report, Planned Parenthood performed 1.1 million abortions. In fiscal year 2021 alone, Planned Parenthood performed 374,155 abortions—about 1,025 abortions per day—or one abortion every two minutes. While Planned Parenthood often tries to highlight the other medical services it provides to women, abortion makes up 98 percent of the “services” that Planned Parenthood provides pregnant women. 

Two international organizations were also beneficiaries of the federal government’s largesse. International Planned Parenthood (IPPF) operates in 146 countries worldwide and received over $2 million dollars from the United States government. In 2022, IPPF provided 5 million “abortion-related services.” IPPF aggressively promotes abortion, pushing countries all over the world to legalize elective abortion.

The Hyde and Helms Amendments prohibit domestic federal funds from being used to pay for abortion. But Planned Parenthood exploits a giant loophole.

MSI Reproductive Choices is the second international abortion organization that the United States consistently supports with taxpayer dollars. MSI operates in 37 countries and describes performing abortions as part of its mission. In 2020, it provided 4 million “abortions and post-abortion care services.” MSI boasts about training “community health workers” to provide chemical abortions. And MSI works to overturn pro-life laws in countries like Kenya, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Bolivia, and Nigeria. By 2030, MSI expects to provide one out of every three abortions in countries where it operates. Between 2013 and 2021, MSI received $51 million in American taxpayer dollars. 

All of this violates the spirit of federal law. The Hyde and Helms Amendments prohibit domestic federal funds from being used to pay for abortion. But Planned Parenthood exploits a giant loophole: Those amendments don’t prohibit abortion providers from receiving federal funds. Thus, so long as Planned Parenthood doesn’t use the federal money received specifically for abortion, there are no limits. But money is fungible and the influx of cash allows abortion providers to expand their influence—all with taxpayer dollars and Planned Parenthood does not separate abortion from other funds. 

There is another way. The Trump administration implemented the Protect Life Rule, which prevented Title X grantees (the largest source of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding) from referring for abortion and required them to separate their abortion facilities physically and financially from other “services.” Similarly, the administration prohibited foreign aid from going to NGOs that promote or perform abortion. Planned Parenthood and its international cohorts refused to comply–leading them to become ineligible for Title X grants.

President Biden rescinded those policies immediately upon taking office, leading to the current promotion of abortion at taxpayer expense. This must stop. Consistent with the views of the American people, Congress has prohibited federal tax dollars from funding abortion. It should work to close the loopholes that allow abortion providers to rake in billions of taxpayer dollars.


Erin Hawley

Erin Hawley is a wife, mom of three, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, and a law professor at Regent University School of Law.


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