As the ultra right views are coming out of the woodwork in Washington thanks to a Republican held Congress coupled with a Republican president, Planned Parenthood and its abortion services have predictably found their way into the cross hairs. And with that, cue the war of misinformation regarding the organization.  Both sides are guilty of it, so it can be a daunting task trying to find unbiased, or only slightly biased information on the subject.

For starters, Planned Parenthood isn’t funded by the government in the same sense as the EPA, NSA, or other agencies.  Planned Parenthood receives funding from federal programs, such as Medicaid, through payments for services provided to clients/patients. It is not a government controlled organization, so defunding it essentially means the government will not pay the organization for services provided to Medicaid recipients. The main problem with defunding the organization is the additional services provided to middle and low income people which include STD screenings, contraception assistance, and cancer screenings to name a few.

So, what does Congress think will happen if Planned Parenthood loses all funding and stops providing services to low income individuals? Are they under the mindset that people will stop engaging in sexual intercourse if they lose birth control?  It’s pretty obvious this would only lead to more babies being born into poverty and welfare, and then the Republicans would complain that too many people are on welfare.  Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy.

According to the Planned Parenthood 2014-2015 Annual Report, abortion services accounted for a grand total of, wait for it, 3 percent of the organization’s services or approximately 320,000 abortions (which does seem like a lot). Instead of completely defunding the organization, why not halt reimbursements for abortion services if you are adamantly against abortion? Planned Parenthood could then continue to provide valuable, and in some cases life saving, cancer screenings along with their birth control services.

To put the Planned Parenthood funding into perspective, Planned Parenthood had $1,296,100,000 (1.296 billion) in total revenue per their 2014-2015 Annual Report.  From the same report, it was reported that 43%, or approximately $557 million, was attributable to government funding.

While this seems like a massive number, it truly is not to the federal government, and to put that into perspective, look at our article on how much money is wasted on foreign aid to countries with terrible corruption scores. In 2016, the federal government sent over $600 million dollars to one of the most corrupt countries on the planet, Afghanistan, and that is only one of the hundreds of countries receiving aid.

Title Image via “Don’t take away my breast exams” by Charlotte Cooper is licensed under CC BY 2.0