This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Given that Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana is again working to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, let's run the numbers on how it spends the roughly $330 million it gets every year.
Testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases: 35 percent. Contraception: 35 percent. Cancer screening and prevention: 16 percent. Other women's health services: 10 percent. Abortion: 3 percent.
Here in Utah, Planned Parenthood uses about the same percentages, but does not now and never has used federal funding for abortion. It can't. Federal law allows only a few states to use Medicaid money for the procedure.
In fact, it wasn't until last year, when other longtime Utah providers began to shut down, that Planned Parenthood started offering abortion services all paid for through private fundraising. As of February, the program had provided fewer than 100.
"Any audit has shown we completely separate the money," says Karrie Galloway, director of Planned Parenthood of Utah.
The Utah program has an annual budget of just over$7 million, and Title X, federal money dedicated to family planning, accounts for$1.7 million of that.
Last year, more than 51,000 people were served, "and there's no one else to do it," Galloway says. Ninety-seven percent of those served are uninsured, and 85 percent of the services provided are paid for by Title X money.
Moreover, every dollar spent on family planning saves nearly $4 in Medicaid and other social services costs, she says.
Last week, as the U.S. House struggled to continue funding the federal government, Pence and his backers lost out temporarily, but long enough to give Congress another week to avert what could become the first federal closure since 1996.
Pence, however, is undeterred. "What was clear here, is that this administration and liberals in Congress were willing to shut the government down to continue to fund abortion providers in this country," he said Sunday on ABC News' "This Week with Christiane Amanpour."
Pence isn't in complete control of the facts. The 1976 Hyde Amendment forbade Medicaid funding for abortion. It has been revised to allow funding for women who have been raped, are the victims of incest and those whose lives would be endangered without the procedure. At the same time, restrictions on coverage have been expanded to include everyone from women in the military to those who receive care from Indian Health Services.
As for the federal budget? The Pence proviso "doesn't create one job, or help with the budgets or cutting spending," Galloway says.
What Planned Parenthood does nationally, according to its figures, is prevent 662,000 unintended pregnancies and 220,000 abortions each year. In other words, it supports women's and men's reproductive rights.
"I just don't understand why the national family planning program, why contraception, why safe sex isn't seen as a good thing," Galloway says.
Recently, the Utah Office of Education nixed a presentation designed to help health teachers present factual information about contraception to 11th-graders without running afoul of state law.
Not surprisingly, Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, both support the Pence Amendment. Rep. Jim Matheson hasn't.
Bishop "doesn't believe the federal government should be funding Planned Parenthood," spokeswoman Melissa Subbotin said Monday. Chaffetz did not respond to my phone call by deadline.
As parents, it's our job to teach our children the best we can about the joys and risks of being alive, including our natural interest in sex. Many parents, for reasons of their own, can't or won't speak of it to their kids.
Schools try, but given the Eagle Forum and its supporters, it's pretty tough to get practical information to students on the verge of adulthood.
It makes absolutely no sense to defund an organization that is able and willing to offer substantive information on family planning and safe sex.
Let's borrow an old Utah saying: "It's for the children."
Add the teenagers. And the adults.
Peg McEntee is a news columnist. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.