Abortion Businesses Got $1.89 Billion in Taxpayer Funding in 3 Years: New Report
**Editor's Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the GAO report covered two years.
The U.S. government funneled nearly $2 billion in taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood and a handful of other abortion businesses in just three years, a new government report provided to The Washington Stand reveals — an action one pro-life advocate called an act of costly “cultural imperialism.”
In all, the taxpayers financed $1.89 billion in federal funding to underwrite four international abortion businesses and four U.S.-based abortion offices during fiscal years 2019-2021, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. That’s an average of $592 million federal dollars every year. And $90.4 million of that funding may be illegal, critics say.
“It is appalling that big abortion providers are continuing to receive billions of dollars in federal taxpayer funding,” Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) told The Washington Stand. “The American people want their tax dollars spent responsibly and in line with our nation’s values — not on the Left’s abortion-on-demand agenda.”
The fact that opposition to abortion funding is shared by voters who call themselves pro-life or pro-choice “shows that the culture of death hasn’t completely prevailed in America,” Mary Szoch, director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council, told TWS. “Politicians, who work for the U.S. taxpayers, need to respect taxpayers’ conscience rights and stop funding organizations that carry out abortions both domestically and overseas.”
A coalition of 145 members of Congress led by Senator Blackburn requested the GAO report, covering funds to the abortion groups during the three-year period, last January 18.
During the time period in question, U.S. taxpayers were compelled to furnish more than $1.8 billion to Planned Parenthood and its affiliates: $1.78 billion to Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and $2.8 million to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Another global abortion group, MSI Reproductive Choices (formerly Marie Stopes International), received $1.35 million from the U.S. government.
“American taxpayers should not foot the bill for the ideological colonialism forced on pro-life nations by MSI Reproductive Choices and the International Planned Parenthood Federation,” Szoch told TWS.
Four domestic regional abortion businesses — All Women’s Health Care, Whole Women’s Health, FPA Women’s Health, and American Women’s Services — received $107.74 million in taxpayer funding.
Controversially, the report finds that the abortion industry received tens of millions of dollars in a COVID-era relief program that congressional critics say was designed to exclude it. The GAO report reveals that 38 Planned Parenthood affiliates received $90.41 million in funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a program designed to keep small businesses open during government-mandated lockdowns in 2020. These loans were later forgiven, absorbed by U.S. taxpayers.
The legislation that created the program, the CARES Act, restricted all PPP “loans” to businesses with fewer than 500 employees, yet Planned Parenthood is a sprawling national organization with 16,000 employees, according to Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). Planned Parenthood complained at the time that the funding denied access to its offices; yet it later counted each affiliate as a separate business in order to claim it qualified for the program.
“Federal taxpayer dollars should not be funneled to big abortion corporations like Planned Parenthood, which has killed over 9.3 million unborn children since 1970, including 1.11 million between 2019-2021,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who is co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus. “This money would have been better spent helping the businesses that were forced to close or providing comprehensive medical support for both women and children.”
In June 2020, Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) introduced a bill requiring Planned Parenthood and its affiliates to return any federal funds received from the PPP program.
“While small businesses struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic, Planned Parenthood illegally siphoned over $90 million from the Paycheck Protection Program, specifically designed to help our Mom-and-Pop shops keep their doors open,” said Senator Blackburn.
The Biden administration formally endorsed this understanding, even approving a $10 million PPP loan for Planned Parenthood Greater New York the same day it was announced that the program had run out of money on May 4, 2021.
The report reveals several Trump-era pro-life policies that protected taxpayers from funding abortion or abortion-related advocacy during this period. Much of the federal funding was related to so-called “family planning” funding. PPFA gets 43% of its HHS funding from Title X, 10% from the Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Program, and 9% from the Maternal and Child Health Services block grant. IPPF also made much of its money from the U.S. government’s population control programs: $1.3 million of its $2 million in USAID funding came from international family planning funds, the GAO report states.
In 2019, President Donald Trump enacted the Protect Life Rule, which required Title X services and abortions be carried out in entirely separate facilities. Planned Parenthood left Title X for much of the duration of his term in office, costing PPFA $61 million.
Despite the supposed dearth of funds, Planned Parenthood committed $45 million to political spending on the 2020 election and a record-breaking $50 million to the 2022 midterms. Almost every dollar benefited Democratic candidates.
In May 2017, President Trump enacted the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA), which protected U.S. taxpayers from funding foreign groups that carry out or refer for abortions. That reportedly cost IPPF $100 million over four years and reduced its activity by 42%, according to Blackburn’s office. IPPF carried out five million “abortion-related services in 2022, including 14,000 chemical abortions.”
“Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance was one of the first policies repealed by the Biden administration,” noted Szoch. “The next pro-life president should immediately re-instate the policy.”
President Joe Biden reversed the Protect Life Rule and other pro-life protections via executive order, as well. In its first year in office, the Biden administration promptly increased HHS funding of Planned Parenthood by 373%, according to Blackburn, from $5.71 million to $27.06 million between 2021 and 2022.
The Biden administration has spent millions to facilitate abortion through the American Rescue Plan. As this author previously documented:
- Last July, Louis set aside $1 million of federal COVID relief funds to pay for abortion travel, or childcare, for women seeking to have an abortion;
- Last December, Ohio’s city of Toledo voted to spend American Rescue Plan funds to pay for women to travel out of state for abortion; and
- The city of Rochester, New York, gave a $225,000 grant to pay for Planned Parenthood’s sex education program.
This does not include the millions of dollars that Democrat-controlled state and local governments from New York to California gave to abortion facilities in response to the Supreme Court’s June 2022 Dobbs decision.
The next pro-life president “should make pro-life credentials a baseline criterion for appointment in the presidential administration. Having pro-lifers in key positions throughout the administration will ensure that pro-life policies are enforced,” Szoch told TWS.
Overall, the GAO report indicates a slight decrease in federal funding for the abortion industry. Previous reports revealed that the federal government gave $2 billion to three abortion businesses — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), Marie Stopes International (MSI), and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) — in fiscal years 2016 through 2018.
The GAO report also fills in gaps from Planned Parenthood’s annual reports. PPFA acknowledged that it committed 374,155 abortions and received $670.4 million in taxpayer funding during its 2021-2022 fiscal year, and it committed 383,460 abortions while receiving $633 million in taxpayer funds in its 2020-2021 fiscal year. However, the organization’s report lumps in taxpayer funding from every level of government, and PPFA’s fiscal year ends June 30, while the U.S. government’s ends three months later.
The lawmaker who requested this report said its revelations encouraged her and her fellow pro-life lawmakers to take even stronger action to protect U.S. taxpayers — and unborn children.
“I will never stop fighting to protect the unborn and end taxpayer-funded support for the abortion industry,” vowed Blackburn.
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.