A deceptively edited video has been making the rounds this week, attempting to convince people that Planned Parenthood clinics are compromising medical ethics and breaking the laws. Often, attacks against Planned Parenthood focus on accusations that the organization is willing to break the law to make money.
This always makes me laugh. Planned Parenthood clinics are some of the most heavily regulated, regularly audited businesses in the country. Their tax filings are public information, and no end of state agencies, not to mention the public, have access to their financial records.
What business in this country does not generate income offering a service? It is pretty much the American way. You offer a service or a product. People want it and are willing to pay for it, or they don’t, and you stay open or shut down based on that exchange.
People come to the clinic to get a service, they pay, the service is provided, and the people providing use the proceeds to keep the business open for the next person who needs it.
Salaries are paid to doctors, receptionists, nurses, security guards, cleaning crews, and administrative staff. Supplies are purchased. Insurance and utility companies get their fees. Construction companies and security firms get paid as well, since clinics have to protect themselves from attacks of all kinds.
So yes, you can say that Planned Parenthood clinics make money from providing abortion. But it is pretty easy to figure out where the money goes, and it is hardly a profit.
But you know who else makes money when Planned Parenthood provides abortion? Makes money that cannot be as easily accounted for, and isn’t subjected to anything close to the same levels of regulation and oversight?
The propaganda industry that has sprung up to harass Planned Parenthood.
Organizations like The Center for Medical Progress, and Live Action.
I’d like to get a look at the tax filings of the nonprofit which put out this most recent deceptive video, The Center for Medical Progress, but their tax forms do not yet show up in the IRS database, and they do not make them available on Guidestar, Charity Navigator, or their own website. (You can find Planned Parenthood filings on Guidestar, Charity Navigator, and the IRS site, in case you are curious.)
David Daleiden, who seems to have founded it [more info on him and the CMP here], used to be involved with Live Action, so we’ll check in on them. Live Action has registered as a nonprofit in Virginia. Live Action makes money because Planned Parenthood provides a medical service to clients who actively and affirmatively want that service.
Live Action provides no such service. They film people, secretly, and then edit the film to fit their agenda. They fly here and there, speaking. I’m sure they stay busy.
In 2013, per their IRS 990 (a tax form all 501(c)(3) organizations must file, including Planned Parenthood) they earned $1,747,163 in contributions. That’s a 578% increase over the funds they raised in 2010. How many businesses do you know that do not provide a service to customers but see a 578% increase in revenue over 4 years?
Kind of makes you want to get into the propaganda business, doesn’t it?
I’d like to talk about the money Operation Rescue makes as a propaganda organization that does not provide a service or product, but I cannot, because Operation Rescue has chosen not to operate as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Their revenue is hidden.
They claim they opt out of operating as a nonprofit organization because their politics are too hard-hitting. A more practical reason they prefer to operate with less scrutiny is that the organization has had to form, dissolve, and re-form over time as its leadership has violated laws and been subject to civil lawsuits and large judgments that bankrupted them.
Various politicians eager to win points with the religious right are now calling for investigations based on the deceptive video that’s been making the rounds.
There is already an uncut version of the video available, by the way, which reveals that absolutely nothing illegal or unethical is being done.
No need to spend any taxpayer funds or government employees’ time on an investigation, but you know it can’t be that simple. Why?
There’s also an industry of “experts” who will now be called to speak as part of this investigation. Their travel will be paid for, and their time will be compensated, even though there is actual video evidence that directly refutes the claims they will be making.
Would you like a job that paid you to jet around the country testifying under oath about rumors and innuendos that can be easily dismissed with actual evidence? Did you know there’s a cottage industry of people making money spreading lies about abortion?
If not for Planned Parenthood, Live Action, Operation Rescue, and a whole cadre of people would have to find another way to make a living. So you tell me—who’s really making money off abortion?