The Right’s New Plan to De-Fund Planned Parenthood

The Wall Street Journal reports that right-wing anti-choice advocates are changing the direction of their efforts to de-fund Planned Parenthood away from pressuring state and local governments to gut the organization’s funding because of its mission in favor of pressuring them to stop funding to organization because it is too rich and doesn’t need the money:

Abortion opponents are pressing state and local governments to stop sending taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, arguing that the nonprofit group has plenty of cash and shouldn't be granted scarce public funds at a time of economic crisis … [T]he new lobbying effort, backed by conservative Christian groups such as the Family Research Council, focuses more on economic than moral concerns. The campaign paints Planned Parenthood as a wealthy organization that doesn't need taxpayer help. Planned Parenthood reported record revenue and a $115 million budget surplus last year, and it is building a network of elegant health centers to attract middle-class clients.

The Family Research Council is developing a kit to help grass-roots activists dig through financial reports so they can make detailed presentations to elected officials about the assets and revenue of local Planned Parenthood chapters. The council has sent letters to 1,200 state legislators describing Planned Parenthood's strong financial position and urging "a second look" at public funding.

With a Democratic president soon to take office, "we're very limited as to what we can do" on a federal level, said Thomas McClusky, vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Council. "But on the local level, there are a lot of victories to be had." The group has been courting elected officials who they think would be receptive in states including Indiana, Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky.