It’s an old adage, a timeless truth, even a pretty good AC/DC song. And what’s true for corporations is also true for Planned Parenthood.
Recently there’s been a lot of talk around defunding Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. The statement triggered an immediate response from the group, who claims these funds are crucial to their operations and that millions of women will lose their health care if their government revenue stream dries up.
But how much of this is true?
We’ve written extensively on where women could go for health care if Planned Parenthood suddenly disappeared. Community health centers outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics by the thousands nationwide, and women looking for care and pregnancy resources have a variety of options.
But in a sense, this is putting the cart ahead of the horse. First, we have to start being real about Planned Parenthood.
Here’s a quick breakdown of Planned Parenthood’s finances.
The group’s $1.3 billion annual budget is comprised primarily of government dollars, private donations and fees for services. They get about $530 million (40 percent) in public grants and reimbursements every year, of which about $450 million comes from the federal government.
About $390 million of that arrives in the form of Medicaid reimbursements, meaning that when a low-income patient comes into a Planned Parenthood clinic and can’t pay for their health care, the clinic bills the government instead. Another $60 million comes from the government’s Title X family planning program, and $1 million comes from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
If Planned Parenthood were to be fully “defunded,” they’d stop getting CHIP and Title X money, and they’d be banned from receiving Medicaid reimbursements. (However, they’d likely still get millions from state and local governments.)
But Planned Parenthood also gets money from private donors.
On top of its government funding, Planned Parenthood receives another $390 million or so annually in private donations. From star-studded events to fashion shows featuring clothes made from condoms, the group makes millions from those who wish to voluntarily support them.
For example, Warren Buffet’s Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation gave $231 million to Planned Parenthood between 2010 and 2013 alone. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation gave another $22 million.
Likewise, billionaire George Soros, one of Planned Parenthood’s top high-profile donors, pledged $20 million over the course of four years back in 2011.
Bill and Melinda Gates gave $14.5 million between 2010 and 2013.
And these are just a few of Planned Parenthood’s high-dollar donors, joining dozens of million-dollar backers and tens of thousands of low-dollar supporters.
All this suggests that Planned Parenthood could exist to some degree on voluntary donations. The group would likely be forced to scale back, at least in the short term; however, the chance that the organization would cease to exist altogether is unlikely.
So what would losing all that government money mean for Planned Parenthood?
To truly answer that, we also have to look at how Planned Parenthood spends its cash.
Judging by its own financial records, Planned Parenthood isn’t hurting for money. For example, Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, makes a whopping $540,000 a year. In fact, Richards’ salary is more than five times the average income of a CEO running a non-profit organization of Planned Parenthood’s size.
Not only is Richards’ salary exorbitant, it’s also increased by 40 percent since 2011 alone.
Additionally, while Planned Parenthood gets more than half a billion dollars in government subsidies each year, their 2014 tax returns showed the group had ended that year with a $127 million surplus, indicating that the group is pulling in far more money than they need. In fact, a closer look at Planned Parenthood’s financial situation in 2014 showed that Planned Parenthood could have provided every single one of the services they reported that year with $60 million less in revenue.
They also don’t have a problem spending their money lavishly. Records show that in 2015 alone, the group spent $40 million on travel (including first-class airline tickets), celebrity parties and a posh Manhattan office.
So what does this mean for women?
It shows that Planned Parenthood isn’t the victim they want us to believe they are, and that their river of cash is by no means shallow. It shows that forcing millions of pro-life taxpayers to fund an organization that provides abortions is nothing more than a political ploy, and isn’t critical to women’s health.
And it proves that women have better options than a group that exploits their fear and pain in order to throw parties, schmooze with celebrities and fatten the wallets of their leaders.