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Entries in Planned Parenthood (15)

Wednesday
Oct172012

Planned Parenthood Says Abortion Foes Used Fake Website

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Planned Parenthood is accusing the anti-abortion group Live Action of creating a fraudulent website purporting to offer late-term abortion services for "VIP women," in order to collect confidential medical information.

According to Planned Parenthood, a woman posing as a potential donor arranged meetings with Planned Parenthood staffers in Washington earlier this month and then asked politically-pointed questions about federal funding for abortions and late-term abortions.

"Very quickly the questions she was asking and the website she had for her medical clinic and other information caused us to suspect that she was engaged in a very elaborate hoax, and indeed that is the case," said Eric Ferrero, vice president of communications for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the political arm of Planned Parenthood.

The woman, who said her name was Wendy Reed, claimed she worked at a women's health clinic in Los Angeles and produced a business card with the website privatewomenscare.org listed on it, Ferrero said.

The website purported to represent a Los Angeles women's health clinic that offered abortions to "VIP women in the Los Angeles area," including late-term abortions coupled with spa treatments.

The website is no longer live.  A Planned Parenthood employee said that the site was taken down on Monday, Oct. 15, after the story of the alleged hoax was broken by the Huffington Post.

Planned Parenthood said it took screenshots of the website before it was pulled down.  The screenshots show a "contact" form on which women can submit information through the website.

It is not known how Live Action may have used any information collected through the site.  Phone calls placed by ABC News to a phone number on the website were not returned.

After asking for a second meeting with Wendy Reed, Planned Parenthood said it had a security guard ask her for identification.  She produced a shopping club membership card that read Wendy Wilmowski, who Planned Parenthood says is a real estate agent in Maryland.

Wendy Wilmowski did not return calls from ABC News for comment.

Live Action, which calls itself a "new media movement for life," released a statement Tuesday morning criticizing Planned Parenthood but not denying any of its accusations.

"Live Action's investigative work exposes the violent agenda which kills the most defenseless among us, hurts women and girls, and undermine (sic) human dignity," the statement read.  "If Planned Parenthood was suspicious of Live Action as they claim and stand by everything they said in recent encounters, they should have filmed the encounters themselves and release (sic) them publicly."

Live Action has secretly filmed encounters with Planned Parenthood staff in the past, editing them into movies for its website.

Kate Bryan, a spokeswoman for Live Action, refused to speak on the phone with ABC News about the accusations.  She asked that questions be sent to her by email.

On Thursday, one week after the woman believed to be Wilmowski met with Planned Parenthood staffers in Washington, Planned Parenthood organizers sent a letter to the California Attorney General's office asking that Live Action be investigated for its fake medical health website.

A spokesman for the Attorney General's office said they had received the letter from Planned Parenthood and were reviewing it.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug202012

Rep. Akin Shouldn’t Be in Office, Planned Parenthood Head Says

Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards denounced Rep. Todd Akin’s comment that women rarely get pregnant from “legitimate rape,” saying this morning that the statement was an “egregious example” of legislators “making policy on women’s health without understanding it.”

“This statement by Mr. Akin is, I think, politics at its worst, ignoring basic medicine and science in pursuit of some political ideology,” Richards said today during a conference call with reporters.

Richards stopped short of calling for Akin to resign, noting that he joins a “long line of examples” of congressmen who are putting their “own personal political ideology ahead of the needs of women.”

“I don’t want to address whether he should resign, but I don’t think he should be in office,” she said in response to a question from ABC News. “This is more evidence of when policy makers are literally legislating about women’s health and they don’t have the most basic understanding particularly of women’s reproductive care. This is perfect evidence of that enormous danger.”

Richards addressed the Akin controversy during a conference call announcing that Planned Parenthood will use the $3 million in public donations it received the week that the Susan G. Komen Foundation announced it was pulling funding for the group on breast cancer screenings and educational outreach.

Akin, who is opposed to abortions in all cases including rape, said Sunday on the Jaco Report radio show.

“It seems to me first of all from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said in response to a question about supporting legal abortions for rape victims. “If it’s a legitimate rape the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

“But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something,” Akin continued. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist, not attacking the child.”

Akin said today that he “misspoke” and has “deep empathy” for rape victims.

In the 24 hours following Akin’s remarks even staunch abortion opponents have condemned his comments. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney dubbed Akin’s remarks “insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,” in an interview with the National Review this morning.

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Sen. Rob Johnson, R-Wisc., said Akin should resign from his Missouri Senate race where he is seeking to unseat Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May302012

Lawmakers, Activists Target ‘Gendercide’ Sex Selection

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In the style of activist-filmmaker James O’Keefe, an anti-abortion group has released an undercover video purportedly showing a Planned Parenthood counselor in Texas assisting a woman who says she’s seeking a sex-selection abortion.

“I see that you’re saying that you want to terminate if it’s a girl, so are you just wanting to continue the pregnancy in the meantime?” the Planned Parenthood counselor asks on the tape. “The abortion covers you up to 23 weeks and usually at five months is usually when they detect, you know, whether it’s a boy or a girl.”

At the close of the conversation, when the woman who says she’s pregnant thanks the Planned Parenthood counselor for not “placing judgment” on her choice, the counselor replies cheerily, “Good luck, and I hope that you do get your boy.”

Released Tuesday, the video was made by Live Action, a group headed by Lila Rose, the 23-year-old media darling of the anti-abortion movement. The video is labeled “Part 1″ on the group’s website, suggesting there might be more tapes coming, in the style of conservatives O’Keefe and the late publisher-commentator Andrew Breitbart.

The video can be found here.

Planned Parenthood has denounced the video as an effort to “promote false claims about our organization and patient services. In highly unusual and scripted scenarios, hoax patients sought services related to sex selection.”

The group said in a statement that it fired the staff member depicted in the April 11 video and that “all staff members at this affiliate were immediately scheduled for retraining in managing unusual patient encounters.”

“Gendercide” -- the practice of killing baby girls or terminating pregnancies solely because the fetus is female -- is estimated to have produced a “gender imbalance” of more than 100 million girls around the world. The practice is widespread in some Asian countries but not limited to them.

Many nations with pro-abortion-rights laws and protections, nevertheless, ban sex-selection abortions. Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands have laws banning sex-selection abortions. The United States does not.

This is the next front in the abortion debate for many anti-abortion activists. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives, however, will vote on legislation this week that would ban sex-selective abortions in the United States

The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2012, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., is scheduled to come to the House floor as soon as Wednesday under suspension of the rules. A suspension vote requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

The measure is expected to be approved in the House, although it’s unclear whether the Democratically controlled Senate would follow suit.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
May062012

Arizona Bans Funding for Planned Parenthood, Organizations That Perform Abortions

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images(PHOENIX, Ariz.) -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a bill that will cut off public funding for organizations that perform "nonfederally qualified abortions," striking a blow to Planned Parenthood in the state.

The new law, signed Friday, excludes only those abortions that are "necessary to save the life of the mother or if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest." Those circumstances are covered by Title 19 of the Social Security Act.

"This is a common sense law that tightens existing state regulations and closes loopholes in order to ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions, whether directly or indirectly," Brewer said in a statement. "By signing this measure into law, I stand with the majority of Americans who oppose the use of taxpayer funds for abortion."

Arizona joins Kansas, North Carolina, and Texas in fully banning state money from being dispersed to any organization that provides abortions, despite other services that may be offered, including birth control, well-woman exams and cancer screenings.

Three other states -- Indiana, New Jersey and Wisconsin -- have used their budget processes to bar public funding for abortion providers.

Planned Parenthood officials in Arizona said being cut off from state funding would affect nearly 20,000 women in the state who turn to the organization for preventative health care and family planning services.

"We are most concerned about the women and men who could be forced to go without health care as a result of this bill," Bryan Howard, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, said in a statement.

Fewer than one in 10 visits at the organization are for abortions, the Arizona Republic reported.

Arizona already had a law in place that prohibited state-funded abortions. The state's Republican-helmed legislature said the new law was passed in an effort to close a loophole that they say could have indirectly allowed funding of abortions.

Planned Parenthood of Arizona said it is considering legal action.

The controversial laws have already led to legal action in Texas, Kansas and Indiana.

On Monday, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the Planned Parenthood providers who do not perform abortions could not be excluded from the state's Women's Health Program.

"For many women, we are the only doctor's visit they will have this year," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "This ruling affirms what women have known all along: Politics simply doesn't have a place in women's health."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb072012

Top Susan G. Komen Official Resigns after Planned Parenthood Flop

Bill Clark/Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- A top official at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer foundation resigned Tuesday following the charity’s decision to reverse its policy barring funding for Planned Parenthood.

Karen Handel, a former Republican gubernatorial candidate in Georgia, denied that she had anything to do with the decision to end funding for Planned Parenthood, which she says was made under guidelines formulated before she was hired.

Still, critics of the foundation’s decision linked the move to Handel, a vocal opponent of abortion and Planned Parenthood.

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“I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen’s future and the women we serve,” Handel wrote in the letter that was obtained by several media outlets. “However, the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization. Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyone’s political beliefs or ideology.”

“What was a thoughtful and thoroughly reviewed decision — one that would have indeed enabled Komen to deliver even greater community impact — has unfortunately been turned into something about politics. This is entirely untrue. This development should sadden us all greatly,” she added.

Handel declined a severance package.

The Susan G. Komen foundation confirmed Handel’s resignation and acknowledged “mistakes” in the way it handled the controversy that erupted last week.

“We have made mistakes in how we have handled recent decisions and take full accountability for what has resulted, but we cannot take our eye off the ball when it comes to our mission,” the organization’s chief executive and founder, Nancy Brinker, said in a statement. “Today I accepted the resignation of Karen Handel… I have known Karen for many years, and we both share a common commitment to our organization’s lifelong mission, which must always remain our sole focus. I wish her the best in future endeavors.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb032012

Susan G. Komen Group Apologizes for Cutting Off Planned Parenthood Funding

Matt McClain/For The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Amid a firestorm of controversy, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation apologized for cutting off funding from Planned Parenthood and vowed to revise its policy that led to that decision.

“We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives,” president and founder Nancy Brinker said in a statement Friday. “We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.”

“Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation,” she added. “We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb012012

Susan G. Komen for the Cure Cuts Ties to Planned Parenthood

Bill Clark/Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Leading breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure abruptly severed its alliance with Planned Parenthood on Tuesday when Komen officials revealed they would halt a grant program used to pay for breast cancer screenings and educational programs.

Planned Parenthood, long in the crosshairs of conservative activists, blamed the decision on political influences, foremost among them Komen’s recently ascended vice president, Karen Handel, a Sarah Palin favorite who had run for governor in Georgia two years ago on a fierce anti-abortion platform.

Last year, Komen provided $680,000 to Planned Parenthood. In 2010, when Handel wrote in a campaign blog that she, “did not support the mission of Planned Parenthood” and planned to end state-sanctioned aid if elected, the foundation gave an additional $580,000. Handel’s campaign flamed out and she joined Komen last year.

Alongside her now is abortion foe Jane Abraham, board member at The Nurturing Network, a so-called “crisis pregnancy” organization dedicated to dissuading young, pregnant women from having abortions.  Maureen Scalia, a noted anti-abortion advocate and wife of the conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, sits on the TNN board with Abraham.

While Komen has not responded to the charges of political meddling, and did not return calls and email from ABC News, the foundation has publicly tagged the decision to an ongoing congressional investigation, led by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., into Planned Parenthood’s alleged use of public funds for abortion. The Hyde Amendment, a rider appended to every federal appropriations bill since 1976, bans doctors from using federal money to perform the procedures.

Komen has recently adopted a rule forbidding it from passing any money to groups under congressional investigation.

But Planned Parenthood’s leaders are not buying it.

“We know our opponents put their ideology over women’s health and lives,” Planned Parenthood of America President Cecile Richards wrote in an email to supporters. “What we never expected is that an ally like the Komen Foundation would choose to listen to them.”

The split is more bad news for Planned Parenthood, which provided an estimated 170,000 early screenings to low-income and at-risk women in the six years since the beginning of its partnership with the Komen foundation. Recent cuts to state and local budgets have made the reproductive healthcare provider more reliant on individual and corporate donors.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul082011

Planned Parenthood Sues North Carolina over Defunding Law

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit Thursday against the state of North Carolina because of a new law that prohibits the group from receiving any state funds. North Carolina is the fourth state Planned Parenthood has sued this year because of defunding legislation.

“This is the first time in North Carolina’s history that a single health care provider has been carved out in the budget and banned from applying for competitive grants from the state” said Janet Colm, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, in a press release.

The group will continue providing services for two months while the lawsuit is pending but hopes to receive an injunction from the court before then, said Paige Johnson, a Planned Parenthood spokesperson.

The North Carolina law, which went into effect last week, denies state and federal Title X family planning funds from going to Planned Parenthood because the group provides abortions. North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue vetoed the bill, but her veto was overturned by the state legislature.

Planned Parenthood of North Carolina receives about $212,000 from the state and federal government to provide services like breast and cervical cancer screenings, STD testing and contraception. The group says no public funds are used for abortions.

Planned Parenthood is already suing the state of Indiana because of a law that prohibits them from receiving Medicaid funds. A federal judge has granted a temporary injunction in the case to keep funds flowing until the legal dispute is solved.

In Kansas, Planned Parenthood is suing because of a law that diverts all Title X funds to hospitals and public health departments because they do not perform abortions. The group is suing Montana over a law that prohibits the state’s low-income insurance program from covering birth control.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul012011

Planned Parenthood Fights Defunding Laws

PlannedParenthood [dot] org(WASHINGTON) -- After federal attempts to defund Planned Parenthood as part of Congress' Continuing Resolution spending bill failed in April, pro-life activists took to state legislatures to continue the battle.

Four states have passed laws this year that cut funds to the group and a host of others have passed legislation that places restrictions on abortions, spurring legal backlash from Planned Parenthood.  Many of the new state laws go into effect on Friday.

"There is a huge tidal wave of support sweeping across the country right now to defund Planned Parenthood," said Ciara Matthews, a spokesperson for the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life activist group.  "What the states are doing is what the federal government has failed to do, and that is to strip tax dollars from America's abortion giant."

In response to the defunding efforts, Planned Parenthood has filed lawsuits in three states -- Indiana, Kansas and Montana -- with possibly two more to come in North Carolina and Wisconsin.

"It's unprecedented that so many states have enacted legislation to bar public funding for Planned Parenthood," said Tait Sye, a national spokesperson for Planned Parenthood.

Sye said the group has never been involved in this many legal battles simultaneously.

Planned Parented won one such battle Thursday when a South Dakota judge granted the group's injunction, blocking a state abortion law from going into effect Friday.  The state law would have required women seeking abortions to wait three days and receive counseling at a crisis pregnancy center that discourages abortions.

"This law represents a blatant intrusion by politicians into difficult decisions women and families sometimes need to make," said Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.  "We trust women and families in South Dakota to know and do what is best for them, without being coerced by the government.  And we stand with them in our efforts to overturn this outrageous law."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun012011

Obama Admin. Rejects Indiana’s Ban on Planned Parenthood Funding

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration Wednesday rejected Indiana’s proposal to ban the use of Medicaid funds at Planned Parenthood clinics.

In a letter to Patricia Casanova, director of the state Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning, Dr. Donald Berwick, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said that Indiana’s ban violated a provision of the law allowing that “beneficiaries may obtain covered services from any qualified provider that undertakes to provide such services.”

In May, GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a law banning Medicaid funds from going to "any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed."

Daniels said that “any organization affected by this provision can resume receiving taxpayer dollars immediately by ceasing or separating its operations that perform abortions.”

Those who oppose abortion have long argued that even if federal funds don’t directly go to fund abortions in groups such as Planned Parenthood, allowing such clinics to receive funding for other services frees up private funds to be spent on abortions.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana says that 96 percent of its work is preventative, with only four percent abortion-related. Four out of the 28 Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana perform abortions. A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Indiana has said that 20 percent of its annual budget comes from federal funding.

Noting that “federal Medicaid funding of abortion services is not permitted under federal law except in extraordinary circumstances (such as in cases of rape or incest),” Berwick wrote that “Medicaid programs may not exclude qualified health care providers from providing services that are funded under the program because of a provider’s scope of practice.”

Between January 2010 and May 31, 2011, CMS had formally denied 19 state plan amendments, though not for the same reason. An Obama administration official says that CMS did not impose penalties in any of these matters, and the state ended up complying with the CMS ruling.

Officials from the Indiana Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning could not be reached for comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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