I heard about this letter (thank you Birth Story) written by a woman whose mother died of breast cancer, but she refuses to donate to the Susan G. Komen Foundation or Race for the Cure, because they transfer money to Planned Parenthood. After reading some of the numerous attack responses this poor woman had thrown at her, and I had to respond as follows. I hope you find this informative.
"Planned parenthood is a not-for-profit organization."
true… sort of…
The most glaring piece of data contained in the 1998/1999 Annual Report of Planned Parenthood is its profits. (See http://plannedparenthood.org/pp2/portal/files/portal/aboutus/whoweare/report-05.pdf for this year’s report, as well as Jivin’ J’s year-to-year analysis.)
Now, we know PPFA is officially a “not-for-profit corporation” and its profits are officially called “income in excess of expenditures,” but when an organization has income in excess of expenditures of $125.8 million, that’s a profit!
Planned Parenthood enjoys being classified by the Internal Revenue Service as a “not-for-profit” corporation. Because of this, it receives special prices from drug companies and is able to escape paying any taxes on its excess income. In many areas, PP also is able to avoid property and sales tax payments.
A “not-for-profit” corporation is labelled as such supposedly to be able to provide reduced-cost services to their (for simplicity) “customers”. If they made $125.8 million in profit in 1999 (by their own annual report) by performing 167,928 abortions (again, by their own annual report), which gave provided them with nearly $60 million of their income, they still have almost $65 million in profit from other income sources! Why aren’t they giving FREE abortions, if that’s the case? After all, they received $130 million in federal grants (not including $60 million that went to AGI and other PP affiliates) in FY ‘99/’00 (see page 2 of the White House General Accounting Office report at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0281r.pdf).
Doesn’t sound like they’re *really* not-for-profit, now does it?
I can register myself as a Republican, but if I vote for the Democrats in every election, would you really consider me to be a Republican?
It is true that not-for-profits generally make money and roll that into capital investment. That is also true of publicly-owned corporations – the way to increase exposure, market-share, profits, etc. is to continually invest in new technology and other capital expenditures.
It is also generally true that not-for-profits are charities that are trying to give every penny they bring in (minus administrative costs) to those who are the focus of their organization (either direct payments to those who are suffering, like with homeless shelters; or by funding medical research or other studies with a goal in mind, such as curing cancer).
However, this is *generally* (but not always) the case. A good example would be the Automobile Association of America. They are a non-profit (or not-for-profit) organization.
Is AAA a charity? No – they provide services, but they charge a general membership fee, plus some special service fees.
Is AAA pumping any “excess revenue” (i.e., profits) back into capital investments and such? Some of it, yes, but not all of it. Some of the funds go to upgrading their mainframes to the latest servers, but they are not necessarily opening new offices (in fact, several branches have been closing lately, due to mapquest and auto insurer’s “roadside assistance” programs cutting into their business).
So, if not all of the “leftover” money goes into capital investments, where does it go? It takes a little bit of thought to figure it out, but it’s not a complex path to follow. If the corporation does not necessarily have a profit-motive, then why is it in existence, what keeps it in existence, and what happens to the money that is made? In short, “what is the motive, if not profit?”
The answer is two-fold: lobbying and bonuses. The AAA organization came about originally as a club for automobile enthusiasts over 100 years ago. Over that time, as automobiles became more popular, especially after WWII, AAA gained a lot of clout (and funding) to advance the cause of automobiles all the way to the halls of Congress. AAA does significant lobbying to keep automobiles on the roads, by pushing Congress for more funding for roads (who do you think pushed Eisenhower and Congress for the Interstate Highway Act?), as well as preventing things from happening that would hurt their business (i.e., protecting their interests, e.g., lobbying against mass transit systems – we haven’t had a new interstate railway system built in this country since the automobile and AAA came into existence. Coincidence?).
Okay, so we’ve identified one area the profits go: lobbying. But surely that does not eat up ALL the money. Like I said, AAA is NOT a charity organization – they are a business. But if the corporation itself doesn’t have a profit-motive, then what drives the company’s success? Philosophy?!? Faith in the automobile? No, the answer is: private profit, in the form of increased wages and bonuses. AAA gives bonuses to every long-term (non-contract) employee who works for them, the largest bonuses going to the VPs of the most profitable areas. Just because the corporation is not-for-profit does not mean there is no profit motive involved.
This is the parallel that I have been drawing with Planned Parenthood. They are no charity organization – they are a corporation with the public face of “not-for-profit”, but the profit motive is very much alive and well. They are one of the largest lobbying powers in D.C. and the state governments, but they also dump quite a bit of money into the pockets of their higher-ups. Do you honestly think that Ms. Feldt will walk away from Planned Parenthood needing to find another job? Do you think the regional managers of PPs for given states don’t receive significant bonuses if they manage to increase the number of abortions or the income of the offices under their control?
How many new PP clinics have been opened in recent years? Not many at all. What kind of capital expenditures and new technology investments do you really think PP has to make? They certainly aren’t buying sonogram machines! (After all, some of their studies say that sonograms hurt the baby – as if they have any concern for a fetus in the first place.) Have the prices of abortions come down at all? If they really care about the women they talk about, wouldn’t they try to make abortion as cheap as possible?
No, there is a very real profit motive, and it is not just driven by the executives of PP. Money is power, especially in politics. The politicians they have in their pockets are much like Mafia “insurers” who demand their money, or “screw you, you lose my vote”. Hence, PP is constantly fighting for more money. This is why they made such a big push for D&X abortions (a.k.a. “partial-birth” abortions) – unlike the usual slice & dice abortions, D&X abortions allow places like Planned Parenthood to keep the parts to sell to medical labs for things like embryonic stem cell research. If they really cared about stem cell research, why aren’t they just donating these aborted fetuses the same way that pro-lifers donate cord blood for adult stem cell research? The reason: it’s another revenue stream.
To make a long story short (too late!), Planned Parenthood is a not-for-profit corporation, and there may be some sincerely concerned (albeit sincerely wrong) volunteers, but there is a very real profit motive on the part of the upper-level executives and the politicians whose campaigns they fund.
That said, why does Planned Parenthood need Komen’s money? I’m sure Komen could find breast cancer research facilities that are not controversial, e.g. those that use adult stem cells for a cure.