What defunding means: “to withdraw funding from.” So says the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary within arm’s reach of my desk.
What it does not mean: “to strip bare; to render incapable of carrying out one’s mission.” Keep this in mind when any candidate or officeholder or lobbyist makes noise about how abortion provider Planned Parenthood of Northern New England reportedly has to cut its hours after losing out on a New Hampshire state contract. PPNNE is a $20-million-a-year organization, based on its 2014 financials as reported to the Executive Council. The contract was for $638,900 over two years.
That might have meant cutting into the pink-t-shirt budget (or does that come out of the Action Fund?) or the $1.5 million public policy budget (which is definitely part of the $20 million). Instead, if hours are being reduced, it means PPNNE is cutting clinical services.
And this just in: according to New Hampshire Right to Life, PPNNE is seeking public funding for salaries. After all, they’ve been “defunded.”
I unearthed an old newsletter from a pro-life group the other day. Guess how old it is – and no fair peeking down past the quote until you’ve read it.
Local efforts to end funding of PP can pay off if pursued with diligence. After years of effort, the [pro-life group’s] chapter in North Carolina was successful last year in stopping county taxpayer funds from going to PP.
Mecklenburg County in North Carolina had been funding PP for many years….[A] group calling itself “The Ad Hoc Committee to Oppose Public Funding of Planned Parenthood” lobbied aggressively behind the scenes and rallied support for their cause.
…When the vote was taken, two County Commissioners who had supported PP in the past changed sides, giving the pro-life side a 4-3 victory. In response, PP took out a full-page advertisement in the [Charlotte, N.C.] Observer attacking, by name, the four commissioners who had opposed funding.
[The local leader] believes that this success can be duplicated in other areas if the country. He does warn, however, not to expect immediate success. It is a long-term battle.
This came from the newsletter of the Christian Action Council on February 28, 1989. Twenty-six years, and PP relies more heavily than ever on public funding. Long-term battle, indeed. Long past time to privatize Planned Parenthood.