Many local Planned Parenthood affiliates were struggling and about to close in the 1960’s due to a lack of funds. It was in 1967 that President Lyndon Johnson’s administration gave the first federal money to a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Texas. Since that time, PPFA has flourished and it has become an expert at latching onto government funding programs.
If we are to make a serious attempt to lessen PP’s influence, we must put a stop to the flow of government money into its coffers. The place to start this effort is in your own community.
When citizens begin to realize how much of their taxes wind up in Planned Parenthood’s bank account, they begin to ask questions:
- Is my local government contributing to Planned Parenthood?
- How can I find out how much Planned Parenthood is getting?
- What can I do about it?
As you consider fighting government funding of Planned Parenthood, you should understand that this fight is a bit different from others with which you may have been involved. This is not specifically a fight against abortion. This is not specifically a pro-life fight. This is not specifically a fight against all sex education programs.
This is a fight against government funding of a specific organization. It is you telling your elected officials you do not want any of your money going to Planned Parenthood. We will discuss this further in item #9 below. But here we want to emphasize the battle to defund Planned Parenthood. This does not mean that you can’t criticize Planned Parenthood for its abortion business or for its sex education or for its anti-life activity. It means, however, that the focus should always be on Planned Parenthood and its activities. The fight should always be based on the message that government officials have no right to give your money to Planned Parenthood. If you keep the issue clear, you will get support from all sides.
As with other fights against Planned Parenthood, this one is based on religious beliefs and principles. You should never hesitate to proclaim your religious feelings or to get clergy publicly involved in the effort. Planned Parenthood is in the business of spreading the ideas and philosophies of the Humanist Manifestos to the community in general and to our children in particular. Since governments are not supposed to get into the teaching of religion, you can use PPFA’s advocacy of Humanism as one way to make officials understand how inappropriate it is for them to fund Planned Parenthood. Also, many government-funded programs involving PPFA include sex education or target teen pregnancy.
You Can Win!
What you should know, before you begin, is that you can win!
Government funding of Planned Parenthood has been halted in many communities. Godly people who are no different from you and who had a faith in God that allowed them to succeed have accomplished this through education and perseverance. They understand that they have an obligation to ensure that their money is not used to support godless causes such as Planned Parenthood.
As you read the techniques summarized below, remember that you, too, can stop government funding of Planned Parenthood. Remember, also, that this fight has a religious aspect. Therefore, enter the fight with a strong faith in God and know that if you do His will, you will win. So let’s take a look at what you have to do (remember that most fights do not involve all the things listed; God will direct you as to what is appropriate for your town)…
Prepare For The Fight
1. Rely on God for direction in this fight. Read Matthew, Chapter 10, for direction on how to fight Planned Parenthood.
Get The Facts
2. Determine if any local monies are going to Planned Parenthood. There are several methods of finding out this information. First, you can get a copy of your municipal or county budget and see if Planned Parenthood is listed. A quicker and perhaps more thorough method is to write a letter to your local comptroller and ask “under the Freedom of Information Law” for a list of all contracts between your local government and Planned Parenthood. See http://www.all.org/stopp/rr0108.htm#foil for details about how to use this law effectively.
If you determine that there are contracts between your government and Planned Parenthood, ask for copies of all the contracts. Read them to understand exactly what Planned Parenthood is being paid to do. Also, all government agencies require those with contracts to file reports on the results of the contract (these will be at least annual reports and sometimes the reports are filed quarterly). Ask for copies of all reports filed by Planned Parenthood in relation to its contracts. Read these reports carefully-they will tell you a great deal about PP’s operation and the success or failure of its programs.
3. Since most local funding will involve Planned Parenthood educational programs, take time at the beginning to collect samples of pamphlets from your local Planned Parenthood. You should pick up samples of material from Planned Parenthood display tables at local fairs or conferences. You should also have people go into Planned Parenthood and ask for material dealing with sex to give to a teen or pre-teen. Gather as much material as possible and then read through it all.
4. Before you begin to read the Planned Parenthood material, spend some time in prayer. Much of PP’s rhetoric is designed to camouflage its real intent. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the Wisdom to see through the rhetoric and the understanding to know how the materialÊis harmful. As you read through each piece, make notes as the Spirit directs you.
Some of the material may be innocuous. Put these pieces aside. Many of the pieces, however, will be clearly offensive. You should note every pamphlet that contains offensive material. Some will be subtly offensive (requiring an informed reading to understand the offensive nature of the piece) while others will be blatantly offensive. The blatant pieces usually require no deep explanation. The nearly pornographic pictures or the outrageous statements are clear enough that any responsible person would see it as offensive. Planned Parenthood website for teens (www.teenwire.com) is particularly bad.
Once you have collected copies of PP’s contracts, reports and pamphlets, you are ready to begin to publicly attack its funding.
5. Send a letter and a few pages of the most offensive pamphlets to your elected officials. Copyright laws do not allow you to make copies of entire pamphlets, but copying one or two pages for illustrative purposes is okay. In the letter, ask your elected officials if they are aware that they are spending tax money to distribute this offensive material. Tell them you are upset and ask them to take action to stop this waste of taxpayer money. Ask them to stop all funds going to Planned Parenthood.
6. Make the fight against Planned Parenthood funding part of a total effort to include community education, picketing and fighting Planned Parenthood school sex ed programs as well as abortion. It is important, however, that your elected officials get the sense that the community is upset with Planned Parenthood in general and that the effort to stop government money to Planned Parenthood is a serious effort.
7. Circulate petitions. One way to solicit public support is to draw up a simple petition. The petition need say nothing more than “We, the undersigned, request our elected officials to stop giving government money to Planned Parenthood.” Provide spaces for people to sign and to print their name and address. These petitions will help you fight PP’s claims that you are not representative of the community. They will also give you names and addresses for your mailing list. You should keep all who sign the petition informed about what is going on and let them know when you need them to attend a meeting or budget hearing.
8. Reach out to clergy. When faced with opposition, Planned Parenthood routinely turns to sympathetic clergy to demonstrate that it has support among the religious institutions of the community. You should make special efforts to inform the clergy about Planned Parenthood and solicit their support for this effort. A knowledgeable clergy member can distribute a special petition among the clergy asking that all government money to Planned Parenthood be stopped. This will widen your base of support.
Remember to keep the clergy informed about what is happening in the struggle.
9. Keep the focus of this fight on Planned Parenthood government funds. Do not burden your efforts to stop funding with the additional task of ending abortion. Planned Parenthood will do everything possible to make this an abortion fight. It will claim that you are only against Planned Parenthood because of its abortion advocacy. Although we abhor the 305,310 abortions a year (2007) done in Planned Parenthood facilities that is not the focus of this fight.
The focus of this fight is to stop government funds from going to Planned Parenthood. The leaders of the fight in your community should make it clear to the elected officials that a vote against Planned Parenthood funding will not be recorded as a “pro-life” vote. It will in fact, be recognized for what it is, a vote to keep government funds from a controversial organization that is not supported by many in the community. People have been successful in framing the vote in this way and, as a result, many elected officials who describe themselves as “pro-choice” vote against funds to Planned Parenthood. Some elected officials who personally donate money to Planned Parenthood have voted against public funds to the organization!
Your government officials have no obligation to fund Planned Parenthood. They can vote to deny funds to the organization. When Planned Parenthood claims it is illegal to discriminate against it, ask your local officials if they would seriously consider giving government money to the Ku Klux Klan to run an educational program for black children, or if they would give money to the American Nazi Party for a parade. Of course they wouldn’t. Well, they have just as much right to deny funds to Planned Parenthood.
10. Find out as much as you can about your local Planned Parenthood affiliate’s finances. All Planned Parenthood affiliates are 501(c)(3) organizations. Each files a federal Form 990 with the IRS each year. The IRS requires that Planned Parenthood make the Form 990 available for public inspection. The website www.guidestar.org has PP’s Form 990s available for free download. Many states also require that the organization file with the charities office of that state. You should pursue all these avenues to get a complete financial picture of your local Planned Parenthood affiliate. Know what its income is and from what sources the money comes. Know how its money is spent and how much goes to pay salaries. Know how much money the affiliate has in the bank and if it had a profit or loss last year. All this information will come in handy as you talk to your elected officials.
11. Publicize the finances of the Planned Parenthood affiliate. Once you know the finances of your Planned Parenthood affiliate, do not keep it a secret. Publicize it in your monthly newsletter. Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper and highlight areas of Planned Parenthood’s budget that will be of interest to the public. Let folks know what Planned Parenthood pays its top local executives. The more facts you can get out the better.
12. Be ready to persevere. Keep fighting year after year until you achieve your goals. Frequently, as we go through the initial stages that have been described in items 1 through 11, people become impatient. They want to get into the fight and stop the funding, not spend time collecting data. We cannot stress too much the importance of doing research early and having all of your facts. In the early stages of the active fight, Planned Parenthood will respond with some wild claims and probably make some statements that are not true. If you have the facts at your fingertips and can show that you are correct and that Planned Parenthood is wrong, you will go a long way towards establishing your credibility with your elected officials. This will also harm Planned Parenthood’s credibility.
So, do not expect this to be a short fight. It will take perseverance and a willingness to suffer for His sake. But you can win this battle-if you persist.
Lobby Each Elected Official
13. Evaluate where each politician stands on the basic issues involved. Once you have gathered the necessary background information, you can begin to explore where your politicians stand on the issue. This initial survey should be done in an informal way. Ask the politicians in a one-on-one situation what they think of Planned Parenthood. Ask what they think of government funding for the organization.
Typically, you will find that politicians fall into one of three categories. A few will think like you and will be opposed to Planned Parenthood philosophically. A second small group will be ardently in favor of Planned Parenthood and all its programs. The majority will fall into the third category of having no particular basic beliefs one way or the other.
14. Realistic analysis of where the politicians stand and what your chances are is extremely important. Essentially, you should place each elected official in one of three groups: anti-Planned Parenthood, pro-Planned Parenthood or in the middle. When you think about votes, you will need a majority of the people to vote on your side in order for you to win. So, if you have 15 people in your government body, you will need eight votes. If the total of the “anti-Planned Parenthood” and “in the middle” categories is eight or higher, you have an opportunity to win a vote. If not, you need to do some work to either convert some of the “pro-Planned Parenthood” people to the “middle” category or get other people elected who feel as you do.
At least every six months, you should evaluate all the politicians and place them in one of the categories. When a vote is near, you will probably be going through this process every few days.
15. Begin to think of politicians not as a group, but as individual people, each of whom has to be approached in a different way. Once you have categorized the politicians, you must begin to act to move the “middle” people into the “anti-Planned Parenthood” category and try to dislodge some of the “pro-Planned Parenthood” folks. Do not give up on any of the politicians until they have demonstrated by their votes that they will totally support Planned Parenthood.
If your elected politicians represent specific districts in the town or city, it is important to get people from that district to ask them to stop funding Planned Parenthood. People in the district vote, and the politician wants to keep all possible votes. Politicians will be more likely to listen to a voter than to another person in town.
16. Find someone on your side who knows the politician personally. Any person will be more likely to listen to someone he knows than to a stranger. Most people are more likely to respond favorably to a pastor of their church. Find out all you can about each politician and see if you can find a friend or pastor who thinks as you do. If so, have that person talk with the politician. Perhaps that person can even set up a meeting with the politician and you to discuss the issue. Use all avenues that God opens and you will eventually be able to get your message to most of your elected officials.
17. Get a vote scheduled on the issue. A vote, even if you lose, is a very valuable tool. Make sure, however, that your supporters ask for a roll-call vote. In this way, you will force the politicians to take a side on this issue. A vote is registered by you as either “anti-Planned Parenthood” or “pro-Planned Parenthood.” Politicians who are “pro-Planned Parenthood” should know that they will be the target for intense education and, perhaps, face challenges in upcoming elections. A vote will clear up the “middle” category and let you know the true strength you have in the elected body. It will also let you concentrate your efforts on changing the minds of those who are not with you.
Get People Involved
18. Once you have a vote scheduled, you can take advantage of all the groundwork you have done. Four weeks before the scheduled vote, mail a letter to all on your mailing list letting them know about the vote and telling them you need their support. Ask them to contact their elected official and ask him or her to vote against money to Planned Parenthood. Send a second letter a week prior to the vote.
19. During the week prior to the vote, have your people make phone calls to the politicians. It is important that these be polite phone calls simply asking the politician to vote against money to Planned Parenthood. Tell your people not to call after 9:00 pm and always to be courteous. If the politician has an answering machine, simply leave a message that you want him or her to vote against money to Planned Parenthood. These phone calls during the final week are very effective, if done correctly.
20. Encourage your supporters to make personal visits in addition to phone calls. Again, this should be done in a courteous way. Meet your elected official face to face and ask for his or her support in defeating Planned Parenthood’s funding.
21. Get people out to the vote or to the public hearing preceding the vote. Three days before the public hearing make phone calls to your supporters and tell them it is important for them to be at the meeting. Tell them to come even if they do not want to speak. Encourage them to speak if they want to-they need only walk to the microphone and say, “Do not give any money to Planned Parenthood.” With a number of speakers and an even greater number applauding every time your side speaks, the message will get across. We cannot stress too much the importance of phoning your supporters and asking them to come. Your numbers will dramatically increase if you do this.
You should also tell your supporters that the appropriate response when Planned Parenthood people get up and talk about how they deserve the money is silence. It hurts your cause if your people boo or interrupt a Planned Parenthood speaker. Your silence is the best witness to the sincerity of your cause.
Understanding The Basic Objective
22. Make sure your supporters understand that, although we want to win the vote, it is more important to proclaim the word of Jesus Christ!
Much of our discussion to this point is on how to count and influence votes. Any effort to defeat Planned Parenthood funding is, of course, of a vote-getting nature. But, our effort is different from a lot of others. Although we will do whatever we can to try to win the vote, our main goal is to get out the truth about Planned Parenthood. To this end, you should encourage all your supporters to speak the truth and let the elected officials know the depth of feeling against Planned Parenthood. When there is a public hearing, your job is to get the people there and then to give the meeting to God. Let Him motivate speakers and let the Spirit speak through the people who go to the microphone. Let it be God’s meeting and you will be awe-struck at what happens.
In essence, your job is finished when the public hearing takes place. Let God take care of the vote. If He wants you to win, you will. If He wants to keep the fight going because He has plans you never dreamed of, He will do that. Tell God you will accept His will and you will never have a losing fight (even if the vote goes against you).
After The Vote
23. Use your newsletter to record the details of the public hearing and every voting session. Once the vote happens, let your people know how everything went. If you had a good turnout at the public hearing, describe in your newsletter how exciting it was. Let your people know they missed something by not being there. Make them want to come next year. Your newsletter is your way of letting your supporters know how you felt about the whole fight. They will be looking to you. If you are discouraged, they will be. If you are upbeat and excited, they will be that way too.
24. Once the vote happens, publish the voting record of the politicians. It is important for the politicians to know that their position on this issue will become public knowledge. Whenever there is a vote, you should publish how each person voted. In addition, before each vote you should publish a list of how each person voted in all previous votes on the issue. If you do this on a regular basis, people will begin coming to you for information on whether or not politicians support your efforts. The politicians will also begin to understand that your supporters are voters who care.
25. Publicly thank, in your newsletter, all who helped. We are always quick to attack politicians who oppose us. We must be just as quick to thank politicians who vote the way we want. Use your newsletter to thank these people and encourage your supporters to write thank-you notes. Politicians will remember those who took the time to say thank you.
Some Additional Facts
26. Recognize the motivation of politicians and deal with them appropriately. Although each politician is an individual, we can make some generalizations about them as a group.
a. Politicians want to get elected! Unless their beliefs on a particular topic are unusually strong (either pro or con), politicians will go the way that will get them the most votes. You must convince them that voting against Planned Parenthood funding will get them more votes than voting for Planned Parenthood funding. You can do this by having lots of people at budget hearings, having your supporters call before and after the vote, encouraging your supporters to work for the election of candidates who oppose Planned Parenthood funding, and generally showing that the community is on your side. If a politician is particularly reluctant, have several people from his or her election district schedule a meeting to discuss Planned Parenthood funding and let the politician know that he or she will lose the votes of all at the meeting unless there is a change in his or her position.
b. Politicians like to spend taxpayer money! Although politicians always promise to lower spending and taxes, the fact is that political power comes from spending money. Politicians like to brag about how much money was spent on a particular area or a particular project. Understanding this, you should not only ask them to stop spending money on Planned Parenthood, you should suggest an alternative use of the same money. Thus, you could find some non-controversial project in the community that is under-funded and suggest that the politicians spend the money that would have gone to Planned Parenthood on this worthwhile project instead.
27. Understand the political phenomenon called “linking.” At every level of government you will find that most politicians do not feel comfortably knowledgeable on every issue. Frequently, they will find a colleague who they believe knows more than they do and “link” their vote to them. If, for example, Joe knows nothing about road building, but Mary is a former highway superintendent, then Joe may decide to “link” his vote to Mary’s. However Mary votes on a road issue, Joe always votes the same way.
This “linking” also takes place in the funding of Planned Parenthood. You should always try to identify these links. For example, you go to Alice and ask her to vote against Planned Parenthood funding because the community does not support Planned Parenthood. Alice says, “That’s not what Frank tells me. Frank did a survey and found most of his supporters favor Planned Parenthood funding.” You can bet that Alice has “linked” her, vote to Frank’s. However Frank votes, Alice will vote that way also. This tells you to put extra emphasis on Frank. If you can change his vote, you will actually change two votes.
You should always be looking for these “linking” situations so that you can spend your lobbying time effectively.
28. When necessary, encourage people to run for office. At times, you will be faced with a number of politicians who are entrenched supporters of Planned Parenthood. The only way for you to win is to elect people who oppose Planned Parenthood funding. You should encourage your people to run for office on this issue. Make the funding of od the central issue. If your candidate wins, you can point to the victory as a clear choice made by the community and you will probably swing several votes from other politicians who do not want to get defeated in future elections.
If your candidate loses, do not get discouraged. Remember our discussion in item #22 above. Your mission is to proclaim the truth, not to win elections. You and the candidate take care of getting out the message; let God take care of the vote.
29. Remember that, no matter how long you have been fighting, you will be dealing with some politicians who are new to the issue. Keep doing the basic education. It is easy to feel that the politicians already know about the issue. But you are continuously faced with new people or people who have been recently awakened to this issue. Keep up all the basic education on Planned Parenthood. It will be repetitive to some, but may be just what is needed to win others to your side. Do not tire of telling the basic truth.
30. Always stress that this is God’s battle and always act in a Christian way. It is important that you keep your focus. It is easy to get caught up in the politics of the situation and to “make deals” or compromise your position. It is also tempting to use questionable tactics. You should always remain true to your calling. Your primary mission is to spread God’s word-not to win votes. You should always ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing acceptable to God?” If the answer is yes-steam ahead. If the answer is no or “I’m not sure,” stop! Regroup! And get back on God’s team!
31. Always keep a focus on the issue of funding and resolve to keep the fight going until God’s victory is clear-no matter how long that takes. The key to this victory is persistence. You must always be clear about what you want (no money to Planned Parenthood) and you must keep asking for it. Take a lesson from your children. If a young child wants something badly enough, he will not stop asking for it until he has received it. Remember that God told us, “If the man does not get up and give it to him for friendship’s sake, persistence will make him get up and give his friend all he wants” (Luke 11:8).
All the activities mentioned thus far will help defeat Planned Parenthood. We also suggest that you read some of the material available that will inform you of what Planned Parenthood is all about.
- Grand Illusions by George Grant
- Blessed Are the Barren by Robert Marshall & Charles Donovan
- Margaret Sanger: Father of Modern Society by Elasah Drogin
- Parent Power!! by James W. Sedlak
- What’s Wrong With Sex Education by Dr. Melvin Anchell
To keep abreast of the latest information about Planned Parenthood and how to fight this evil organization, STOPP recommends that you visit our website at www.stopp.org. Here you can find back issues of the Ryan Report and several other free resources to help you stop Planned Parenthood in your community. American Life League’s resource department (866-LET-LIVE) has many valuable resources for fighting Planned Parenthood. Call and ask for a catalogue.
Conclusion – Trust In God
Read Matthew, Chapter 10, at those times when your spirits are low. We all get discouraged in these fights. You are fighting a real evil and it will not be easy to defeat it. When you do get discouraged, return to your roots. Go to God. Read your favorite inspirational religious book or Bible verse. In Matthew, Chapter 10, God tells us how to do His work. He also promises, “If anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father.”
What greater reward can we ever hope for!
Remember, this is God’s fight. Rely on Him and you will not lose.