Wednesday STOPP Report - May 24, 2017

Ten Clinics Closed in Four Days!

By Jim Sedlak

The week of May 15, 2017, was one of the most fascinating in our 32 years of fighting Planned Parenthood. Over the course of four days, we learned that Planned Parenthood affiliates will close 10 clinics in four states during the next few months.

Late Monday night, news broke from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains that it will close one of its three clinics in Albuquerque (NM). It will also close clinics in Rio Rancho (NM), Farmingdale (NM), Casper (WY), Longmont (CO), and Parker (CO).

Then, just a couple of days later, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland also announced the closing of four of its Iowa clinics. Those clinics are located in Burlington, Keokuk, Sioux City, and Bettendorf. This brings to 20 the number of Planned Parenthood clinic closings in Iowa since 2010. It has only eight left.

The Casper closing is of particular interest as it is the last Planned Parenthood facility in the state. PPRM said it is closing this clinic because it simply did not have enough customers and the clinic has become financially unviable. Casper now has three other providers that offer women’s healthcare and, apparently, local people would rather go there than to the abortion giant. The Casper facility was down to serving only 480 customers a year.

Commenting on all the PPRM closings, Whitney Phillips, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said:  

We supported (Obamacare) because we love the idea of more people having health insurance and increasing access to the critical services that they need, but a lot of our patients were self-pay. They would come in and get a pap smear and pay out of pocket. Under the ACA, a lot of patients were given the opportunity to be on Medicaid. Again, that’s wonderful, but it meant that rather than bill them directly, we had to bill Medicaid. And Medicaid reimburses at a very low rate. 

The Denver Post reported that Phillips said this changed how Planned Parenthood does business and changed the way the organization was able to get reimbursements from insurance companies.

We found this analysis interesting, especially in light of the fact that Planned Parenthood of the Heartland presented a similar explanation four years ago for its Iowa closings. At that time, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s CEO Jill June stated: “With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) transforming the health care industry, it’s imperative that we continue to develop operating models that will best position Planned Parenthood as a provider the people in our communities rely on. . . . Sacrifices must be made in order to invest our resources where we can make the biggest difference.”

Jenifer Bowen, longtime head of Iowa Right to Life, noticed this trend years ago and said in a 2013 press release commenting on earlier Planned Parenthood closures in Iowa: “It would be ironic if Planned Parenthood fought so hard for Obamacare and the publicly funded birth control mandate and had to lay off or cut the hours of their own staff to keep from paying the additional benefits required by Obamacare.”

We reached out to Sue Thayer, a former employee of Planned Parenthood and manager of one of its Iowa clinics. Sue told us: 

I find it interesting that Ms. Phillips states that most of their clients are self-pay, which is the opposite of what they always proclaim. PP jacks up prices so high in order to get the max reimbursement from third-party payers, that anyone who is self-pay is really getting slammed. So if clients are self-pay, they can absolutely afford to go anywhere for care! PP is just used to having an incredible amount of disposable income and as this funding source dries up, they are really feeling the pinch.

Looking at all this information, Judie Brown, cofounder and president of American Life League—an organization that has been fighting Planned Parenthood and its taxpayer funding since it was founded in 1979—commented: 

When PP started out, it laid the groundwork for its work on the support of citizens and some pretty heavy hitters. Sanger was a master at getting large sums of money to fund her work. But then along came a government program that PP helped create. It was called Title X and the rest of it is history. For years now PP has lived on the fat of the land (our tax dollars) and now it finds that not even heavy hitters are so eager to step in and fill in the void. . . . I think PP made an assumption that it was ENTITLED to government funds without accountability. That proved fatal. Even if it were to recoup its losses, the organization will never again be the fat cat (pig) at the trough of tax dollars that it once was.

Of course, healthcare reimbursements are just one part of the explanation for Planned Parenthood closures. As Brown observed, the falling fortunes of Planned Parenthood can also be explained “in large part to the combined efforts of our work, Daleiden's videos, and an increasing number of educated Americans, including politicians.”

Those who follow Planned Parenthood closely are frequently left with questions when these announcements from Planned Parenthood are made. Dwain Currier, digital media specialist at American Life League, and steadfast follower of Planned Parenthood on Twitter and other social media, wonders: 

What steps has Planned Parenthood taken prior to the decision to close centers? I'd be interested to know what that is. Cut staff? Cut programs? Reduce abortion days so that the abortionist is paid less? Do CEOs ever cut their own salaries? 

According to the Planned Parenthood CEO Salary Report released by STOPP earlier this year, the 56 Planned Parenthood affiliates’ CEOs earn an annual average salary of $237,999. As Planned Parenthood has closed dozens of clinics over the last two years, the CEO salaries have increased 22 percent. For all its public crying about serving poor people, it is clearly more interested in increasing the wealth of its executives.

The bottom line, of course, is that Planned Parenthood is closing clinics and we are happy about that. Typically, when clinics are closed, babies’ lives are saved and young people do not get drawn into sexual lifestyles through Planned Parenthood sex indoctrination programs. Many years ago we conducted an analysis of clinic closings and determined that every Planned Parenthood clinic that closes, on the average, results in the saving of 149 babies each year. In addition, 1,600 teens a year are saved from Planned Parenthood sex programs with each closure. Thus, the 10 closures announced last week will result in 1,490 babies being saved from a brutal death every year and 16,000 teens spared the ordeal of verbal sexual abuse in Planned Parenthood classes.

How great would it be if Planned Parenthood announced the closing of all 600 of its remaining clinics by the end of 2017?

Jim Sedlak is executive director of American Life League and founder of STOPP International. He has been fighting Planned Parenthood since 1985.


Texas Will Apply for Medicaid Exemption

The state of Texas understands that the citizens of the United States elected a new president last November. He is now running an administration that thinks completely differently from the Obama administration. Planned Parenthood is upset.

Upset is too mild a word. Outraged might be better.

You see, while Obama was in office, Texas tried several times to defund Planned Parenthood. Texas did not want to use any money from the federal government to fund the largest abortion chain in the nation, so it passed several laws to accomplish that. Planned Parenthood took the state to court every time; the Obama administration sided with Planned Parenthood; and the state lost. Planned Parenthood kept its funding.

Finally, Texas refused to take the federal money, started its own program with Texas taxpayer money—the Healthy Texas Women Program—and excluded Planned Parenthood. Mission accomplished.

Now it is 2017 and the Trump administration is in Washington, DC. By the end of June, Texas will file a Medicaid waiver request to obtain Medicaid funding over five years to largely cover the cost of its state-funded Healthy Texas Women Program without requiring that Planned Parenthood be a part of the program. The initial reaction from the Trump administration indicates that it will look favorably on the request and may provide the funds.

The main worry of Planned Parenthood is not the loss of funds in Texas; it already gets none from the state program. The real worry is that, if Texas gets the okay, other states can do exactly the same thing and defund Planned Parenthood without losing federal government money. Planned Parenthood is afraid this will open the door to massive defunding of Planned Parenthood in states all across the country.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America CEO Cecile Richards sent a panic e-mail to PP’s supporters sounding the alarm. Her e-mail read, in part: 

The Texas Health and Human Services Department is requesting federal funding for a program that was specifically created to block access to care at Planned Parenthood—what they call the "Healthy Texas Women Program." . . . And if they get their way, it would set a dangerous precedent for countless other states to follow. All they need is for their allies in the Trump administration—including Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price—to give their anti-women's health plan the green light. . . . This is a backdoor to the same Planned Parenthood "defund" out-of-touch politicians are proposing in Congress—and the only way we can stop it is by raising a national outcry. . . . This fight is just beginning, and we're going to need you and everyone who cares about women's health and rights to stand with us. 

Planned Parenthood is scared and is doing everything it can to prevent this Texas Medicaid waiver from being approved. Tom Price, the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, needs to hear from you.

Sign our petition to Secretary Price and help put an end to taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood.


Trump Expands Mexico City Policy

The Trump administration expanded the ban on taxpayer money going to international organizations that commit or advocate abortion. 

Although the Mexico City Policy has been used by every Republican president since Ronald Reagan to stop taxpayer funding of international family planning programs, the Trump administration has now expanded the restriction to include all foreign aid for any health program.

The State Department announced its plan to implement this expansion of the Mexico City Policy, now known as “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance.” The financial impact is startling. Whereas the standard Mexico City Policy applied to the international family planning account—which was appropriated at “not less than $575 million” for FY17—the updated Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy applies to approximately $8.8 billion in funds appropriated for global health assistance through Department of State, US Agency for International Development, and the Department of Defense. 

Representative Chris Smith made the following statement: “Today’s implementation by the State Department of the ‘Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance’—the reinstatement and expansion of Ronald Reagan’s 1984 Mexico City Policy—ensures that U.S. taxpayers will no longer subsidize foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that perform or promote abortion on demand. This humane policy seeks to respect and protect the precious lives of unborn girls and boys from the violence of abortion. The new policy doesn’t cut global health assistance by so much as a penny.”

It is refreshing to have an administration in Washington that is not doing “the minimum” implementation of pro-life policy. This administration is clearly looking for ways to protect babies that go well beyond what has been done before.

Praise God!


Memorial Day

Memorial Day was first proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11.

Logan proclaimed: “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the [Civil War], and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.” The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

After World War I, the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war. In 1968, Congress passed legislation moving four holidays from their original dates to Mondays. Memorial Day was one of those and is now celebrated on the last Monday in May.

Memorial Day is intended as a day of prayer and reflection on those who gave their lives for our country. In traditional observance, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. Since 1998, the POW-MIA flag is also flown on all federal and US military installations on Memorial Day. That flag is also flown half-staffed until noon. The half-staff position reminds us to remember the men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon, their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

My own father fought on the islands of the Pacific during World War II. Although he returned home, he later died of injuries received during the war. On Memorial Day we should remember all military members who gave their lives—whether on the battlefield or later from injuries sustained during battle.

For many years, Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii tried to get the date of Memorial Day changed back to its original date. In his introductory remarks in 1991, he said: Mr. President, in our effort to accommodate many Americans by making the last Monday in May, Memorial Day, we have lost sight of the significance of this day to our nation. Instead of using Memorial Day as a time to honor and reflect on the sacrifices made by Americans in combat, many Americans use the day as a celebration of the beginning of summer. My bill would restore Memorial Day to May 30 and authorize our flag to fly at half mast on that day. In addition, this legislation would authorize the president to issue a proclamation designating Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day as days for prayer and ceremonies honoring American veterans. This legislation would help restore the recognition our veterans deserve for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of our nation. (1999 Congressional Record, page S621)

This coming Monday, May 29, 2017, is the official observance of Memorial Day. Let’s remember the original purpose of Memorial Day and spend time reflecting on the millions of men and women who have died in war for our country.

The source for much of this article was the website usmemorialday.org.