To ease the physical and economic suffering caused by the coronavirus crisis, the federal government has spent trillions of taxpayer dollars in relief efforts.
In the next round of funding, Congress is reportedly considering bailing out state and local governments to the tune of $500 billion or more. Unfortunately, this move would do little to provide relief to those suffering from the pandemic and instead likely reward mismanaged states. Providing federal aid to states with no strings attached, as proposed by Democratic leadership, would only serve to perpetuate unsustainable spending habits.
State bailouts are not usually an issue my organization, March for Life Action, covers, but coincidentally, the loudest cries for bailout come from New York, Illinois, and California, all states that have expanded abortion coverage through taxpayer dollars. Many states, despite budget crises, are looking to bail out abortion giant Planned Parenthood, a company that raked in over $1.5 billion in taxpayer funds over the last 3 years.
In California, abortions are covered under the state taxpayer-funded program called Medi-Cal. California has passed legislation forcing all insurance plans to cover abortions, including churches and pro-life organizations. In 2017, the Democratic California treasurer gave a $20 million grant to the state Planned Parenthood as a bailout. Taking it one step further, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted last year to send $482,000 to six Planned Parenthood facilities.
In Hawaii, the current fiscal year budget sets aside $750,000 for Planned Parenthood and other healthcare providers ineligible for Title X funding because they continue to recommend abortions. In Oregon, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon said the abortion group has been “working closely with state officials to create critical backstops and protect access to care for all Oregonians who need it, regardless of federal action on Title X,” and lauded Democrat Gov. Kate Brown for prioritizing funds for reproductive healthcare.
On the East Coast, New York set aside $15 million for Planned Parenthood facilities after turning down Title X funding. Democratic Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont earmarked for Planned Parenthood $1.2 million in his 2020 budget proposal. The state's health insurance system funded 6,995 abortions in 2018. Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill relegating up to $8 million to Planned Parenthood. In New Jersey, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation designating $9.5 million in state funds for Planned Parenthood family planning.
In Virginia, where Gov. Ralph Northam has been a vocal supporter of abortion rights up until birth, the Democratic legislature, facing billions in revenue shortfalls, decided to cut its budget. Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden once said “don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value.” Using that measuring stick, the Democrats in Virginia do not value teacher raises or higher education spending, funding for which was frozen or reduced in their budget. What is a priority? Three million dollars for a “Long-Acting Reversible Contraception” grant program that will substantially flow to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
In Pennsylvania, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed a bill that would ban abortions desired because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Despite the current health crisis, he vetoed telemedicine legislation after it excluded the abortion pill, which creates health risks to women. After vetoing those bills, Governor Wolf included a $3 million line item for "reproductive health care" in his proposed 2020-21 budget.
In addition, The Pennsylvania Family Institute reports that Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania was chosen for a taxpayer-funded grant alongside other groups in a new government program intended to help religious institutions and nonprofits after the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue. Despite this program helping many in the Jewish community, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) sadly prioritized the Pittsburgh Planned Parenthood – which made $1.1 million in revenue last reporting year, in part from killing more than 3,000 unborn babies by abortion -- over other religious institutions asking for help.
In its most recent annual report, Planned Parenthood had a record revenue of $1.67 billion; $563.8 million of its income came from taxpayers. For an organization that is furnished with millions in taxpayer funding already and plans to spend $45 million in 2020 political races, one wonders why nearly bankrupt states are still funding them.
Before looking to the federal government for a bailout, the states that were mismanaged prior to the pandemic should first reevaluate the failed policies that brought them to this point – including using taxpayer funds to benefit the already flush abortion industry.
Tom McClusky is the president of March for Life Action.