Planned Parenthood and Grown-up Budgeting

Much debate took place around government funding to Planned Parenthood leading up to the prevented government “shutdown.” Many pro-lifers argued funding was going directly to fund abortions. Pro-choicers argued the federal money was separated from the money going to abortions. And budget hawks and libertarians argued government shouldn’t be subsidizing any of their services, regardless of the abortion issue.

Here are a few facts on the issue straight from Planned Parenthood itself:

  • Percent of Planned Parenthood revenue from government funding (FY 2008/2009) = 33% [source]
  • Abortion as percentage of all Planned Parenthood services (FY 2008/2009) = 3% [source]
  • Number of abortions performed by Planned Parenthood every hour (2009) = 38 [source]

In short, some of the figures thrown around have been exaggerated while others not raised should be a little disturbing. However, two points should be raised.

First, the claim that Planned Parenthood can somehow totally prevent government funding from supporting its abortion services is a little misleading. Money is fungible, and subsidizing one service leaves more money for them to provide another.

The other point is that we have a serious debt problem in our country. Defending funding to groups like Planned Parenthood to the point to threaten a government shutdown displays a total disregard for the enormity of our fiscal woes. If politicians are not willing to cut small amounts of funding like this, they are clearly not responsible enough to tackle our budgetary problems.

At some point, we and our elected officials have to act like adults and start making the hard, but necessary, cuts required to restore our government to fiscal sanity. No matter what is cut, there will be cries of it being unfair and harmful to people. To choose to not cut subsidies simply because it will offend those being subsidized is a sure path to not cutting anything.

It’s time for us to grow up. If we don’t, we’re destined for fiscal collapse.

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