Multinational abortion provider Planned Parenthood was revealed this week to have made off with millions of dollars in government assistance by way of the Paycheck Protection Program.
Established to provide bridge loans to American small businesses crippled by public health lockdowns, the program has been plagued with controversy since its April roll-out as a result of numerous questionable loan approvals for corporate organizations widely believed to have applied without any real need of financial relief.
According to official data released Monday by the PPP’s administrators at the United States’ Small Business Association, Planned Parenthood Federation of America was one such offender, with its locations and affiliates nationwide receiving as much as $150 million in aid from the program.
The organization’s need, of course, remains in question, as consolidated financial statements reveal Planned Parenthood possessed roughly $1.9 billion in net assets and saw its total annual revenue exceed $1 billion in both 2017 and 2018.
Conservatives and pro-life activists, already firm in their support for efforts to defund prominent abortion providers at the federal level, were quick to respond to the news.
“Planned Parenthood shouldn’t have received a dime from the government’s PPP program. It’s sick!” Republican Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia wrote on Twitter.
Planned Parenthood had already been made the subject of immense public scrutiny in late May after applying for roughly $80 million in aid from the program — a violation of SBA protocol requiring applicants to be small businesses with no more than 500 employees.
The alleged impropriety was met with harsh words from the Trump administration and its allies.
Threatening “severe penalties” beyond loan repayment, the SBA itself directly called on the organization to return allotted aid to the business relief fund.
Twenty-seven GOP senators also sought to apply pressure, openly writing Attorney General William Barr in pursuit of an official criminal investigation regarding potential loan certification fraud.
Similar threats had already been leveled against other institutions fingered with abusing the program. Among them were a series of well-funded private universities and numerous national restaurant chains.
Calls for the abortion provider specifically to return the money, however, were met with push-back from Planned Parenthood vice president of government affairs and public policy Jacqueline Ayers.
“Planned Parenthood health centers play a core role in the social safety net, and there is no more critical time for the care they provide than during a public health crisis,” Ayers said in a public statement at the time. “Just like other nonprofits and health care providers, this pandemic has had a significant impact on Planned Parenthood health centers’ ability to provide care.”
“This is a clear political attack on Planned Parenthood health centers and access to reproductive health care,” Ayers said. “It has nothing to do with Planned Parenthood health care organizations’ eligibility for COVID-19 relief efforts, and everything to do with the Trump administration using a public health crisis to advance a political agenda and distract from their own failures in protecting the American public from the spread of COVID-19.”
“It is also just the latest salvo in the Trump administration’s long history of targeting Planned Parenthood, and trying to severely limit access to sexual and reproductive health care,” she added.
Despite a wealth of rainy day resources, Planned Parenthood has done anything but thrive under the staunchly pro-life Trump administration.
As the first United States president to attend the March for Life, Trump has placed the organization’s purse at risk on more than one occasion. Most notably, Vice President Mike Pence and a Republican legislature in 2017 voted to overturn an Obama-era rule allowing abortion providers to accept federal family planning funds under Title X.
Unwilling to part ways with abortion procedures at its federally funded facilities, Planned Parenthood would subsequently withdraw from the Title X program in 2019, losing out on money from the $286 million program previously tapped into on an annual basis, according to NPR.
The Western Journal has reached out to Planned Parenthood for further comment but did not immediately receive a response.