Planned Parenthood is a voracious consumer of taxpayer money.
As many of you know, IWF does not take a position on abortion. However, we do have a strong opinion on federal spending and greedy organization which take millions a year and yet believe it is never enough.
The issue of money for Planned Parenthood is what is primarily responsible for holding up the federal funding to fight the Zika virus.
Democrats won't budge and vote to approve Zika funding until Congress agrees to give Planned Parenthood additional funds with which to (supposedly) help combat the virus.
Note: this fight over taxpayer money for Planned Parenthood is not over withholding funds, which Republicans have tried to do without success in the past, but over granting Planned Parenthood new funds, in addition to the millions it already receives annually from the American taxpayer.
Kelsey Harkness calls attention to that in an article on Zika funding in the Daily Signal ("What Zika Crisis Shows about Women's Health Funding Debate"). But she also points out something else: Planned Parenthood is far less equipped to deal with the Zika crisis than numerous other organizations:
"Often we are the only provider that someone will see all year and we are the front line of defense when it comes to battling Zika,” Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said during a press conference on June 30 after Senate Democrats blocked the $1.1 billion Zika measure.
In reality, clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of abortions, are limited in the services they can provide in the fight against Zika.
In Puerto Rico, for example, Planned Parenthood is running an educational campaign, providing condoms and birth control, and informing women of their options if they do get pregnant while being infected with the Zika virus. If a woman believes she’s infected with the virus, she must go elsewhere for testing and treatment.
Planned Parenthood has been claiming that funds should go to an organization in Puerto Rico, where the Zika threat is most severe, that it under its umbrella.
When President Barack Obama made his $1.9 billion Zika funding request back in February, he did not specifically ask Congress to fund Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood is not a qualified provider under the Medicaid program in Puerto Rico, which will distribute federal Zika money. Without a change to Medicaid provider eligibility, Planned Parenthood would not be eligible to receive funding through Obama’s request.
Instead, the Zika bill currently being negotiated would increase government funding for the 13 preventative clinics in Puerto Rico that already provide care through the Medicaid program. In addition, the bill calls for a 700 percent funding increase for community health centers across the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Puerto Rico currently has 13,791 locally acquired Zika cases. Zika-infected mosquitoes also have made their way to Florida, where 35 people have been locally infected, in addition to 507 travel-related cases involving state residents.
Centers for Disease Control Director Thomas Frieden warned last week that the federal government is running out of resources to fight the virus, pressuring Congress to pass a spending bill.
Federal funding is always welcome but at least one less rapacious organizations seem to be focusing on preparing to fight the Zika virus–and, unlike Planned Parenthood, is able to see the woman through the crisis:
In southern Florida, where the number of Zika cases continues to rise, a spokeswoman for one federally qualified health care network said its centers are ready and prepared to take on more Zika cases.
“We have seen some Zika patients and we’re working with the Health Department to handle the situation,” said Helberg, vice president for communications and development for Community Health of South Florida Inc. “We’re not overwhelmed at this point. I think everything’s being handled appropriately.”
Community Health of South Florida Inc. operates 11 centers covering the Florida Keys to Miami, where the majority of domestic Zika cases have been reported.
Helberg said she did not want to address the specific issue of Planned Parenthood and whether community health centers are more deserving of taxpayer funds to fight Zika.
But she said that if a pregnant woman goes to one of its centers to get tested for Zika, “we’ll take care of them throughout their pregnancy.”
According to a lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom, which opposes Planned Parenthood, the organization will spend $20 million on political contributions in this election year.
Ms.Harkness' article is a real eye-opener on the battle to fund "women's health."