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Profiting from losses

National | Planned Parenthood rakes in abortion cash, the ACLU finds a novel civil liberty, and other life news

Issue: "Back to no future," April 22, 2000

Grisly market share
Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) last year raked in some serious cash. A February report released by the pro-abortion group shows that its profits nearly tripled during fiscal year 1998-1999. PPFA reported "income in excess of expenditures" (read: profit) of $42.3 million for the 1997-1998 fiscal year. But for the accounting period ending June 30, 1999, PPFA reported profits of $125.8 million on gross income of $660 million. A substantial portion of that profit may have come from a single donation: PPFA received $75 million from the estate of Donald and Mildred Othmer. But even after that gift is subtracted, PPFA's after-expenses earnings are up 17 percent. Of the PPFA's 1998-1999 income, $211 million came from clinic operations (the rest came from donations and government funding). Of the clinic operations earnings, $58.8 million-more than 1 of every 4 dollars earned-came from killing an unborn child. That's about the same percentage-from-abortion income as PPFA reported the previous year. But though the percentage remains the same, the actual dollar figure from abortions performed is climbing ever higher. That's because the sheer number of unborn children killed in PPFA's 850 clinics continues to rise, from 139,000 in 1995 to nearly 168,000 last year. In 1999, PPFA earned 58.8 million abortion dollars, up from $54 million in 1997, and $41 million in 1994. "During a time when the number of abortions nationally has steadily decreased, Planned Parenthood is performing more, not fewer, abortions," says James Sedlak, director of Stop Planned Parenthood International (STOPP), a division of American Life League. Mr. Sedlak believes the increase is a business decision born of necessity. A report posted on STOPP's website aggregates financial and usage statistics reported by PPFA on various clinical services, such as health maintenance, HIV screening, infertility treatment, and abortion-related services. Since 1995, the number of clients using PPFA has fallen steadily in 10 of 20 non-abortion-related services. But abortion-related services, including "emergency contraception" show the largest growth by far (from 17,082 in 1995 to 72,024 in 1998). Life in the states
Pro-life legislators are continuing the fight against abortion in statehouses around the country, according to the online news update Pro-Life Infonet. Late last month, an Alaska House committee passed a bill that would require women seeking abortions to wait 24 hours. The proposal would require the Department of Health and Social Services to develop a brochure containing photographs of an unborn child at two-week intervals throughout pregnancy. The Arizona House narrowly killed a bill that would have required minors seeking abortions to obtain parental consent. The 30-29 vote came one day after the state Senate approved the same measure. In Illinois, a plan to restrict state-funded abortions has advanced in the Senate. The measure would prohibit the state Department of Public Aid from paying for abortions in cases where a woman's health, but not her life, is at risk. The state of Montana has settled a lawsuit by abortionists challenging Montana's partial-birth abortion ban. Under the new agreement the law is more strictly defined, so it is clear what types of abortions are prohibited. It keeps legal abortions performed pre-viability and sets a definition for what kind of later-term abortions can be performed. Montana Right to Life (MRL) isn't happy with the settlement. MRL's Steven Ertelt opposed the 1999 law from the outset, saying "it was a poorly-written attempt to replace a well-written partial-birth abortion ban struck down in 1997." Your money and a baby's life
State abortion funding is now apparently a civil liberty. Late last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit on behalf of a 12-year-old Mississippi rape victim and the abortion facility that terminated her pregnancy. The girl, who according to the lawsuit was raped in December by a 24-year-old man, became pregnant and had an abortion in March. Personnel at the Jackson Women's Health Organization, the clinic where the abortion was performed, had filed for Medicaid reimbursement. That reimbursement was denied because Mississippi state law permits Medicaid funding of abortion only in cases where the mother's life is in danger-not in the case of rape. David Ingebretsen, head of the Mississippi American Civil Liberties Union, the group representing the 12-year-old victim, her mother, and the abortion clinic, called Mississippi's policy "inhumane as well as unconstitutional." The suit contends that the policy should be thrown out because it conflicts with federal law. But state lawmakers defend Mississippi's restrictions on abortion funding. Said Republican state Senator Alan Nunnelee, "When we use taxpayers' money to pay for abortions, we should be very limited in what we do."

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