In response to Stephen Heaney’s editorial counterpoint claiming that Planned Parenthood profits from our services (“ ‘Shock videos’ tell the ugly truth of PP,” Aug. 17): Nothing could be further from the truth.

Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit; there are no profits. All revenues go back into the services we provide. Further, there are no federal funds used for abortion — which is why it’s ironic that Congress wants to deny Title X family-planning funding to Planned Parenthood in response to a politically motivated crisis manufactured by abortion opponents.

Title X funding helps us provide preventive health care to about 30,000 women each year. This funding stream — established, by the way, by President Richard Nixon — is a safety net for our patients, who get basic health care such as birth control and annual exams and pay little or nothing. Cutting this funding would only increase the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions.

The fact is, every year Planned Parenthood provides 65,000 patients with 301,000 contraceptives, 130,000 family-planning visits, 98,000 tests for sexually transmitted diseases, 11,500 breast exams, 6,600 Pap tests, and about 5,000 safe and legal abortions. Nearly 50 percent of our patients are below the federal poverty level and more than 60 percent need some kind of assistance with the cost of their care. Additionally, we reach more than 41,000 young people and adults with comprehensive sex education.

We operate just like other nonprofit service organizations. We have a solid budget and reserve funds so that we have the resources to serve anyone who walks through our doors. In fact, here in our region, Planned Parenthood operates at a loss every year and we sustain our work only because of the generosity of donors.

Ask any abortion provider anywhere; they are trying hard to keep their doors open (in the face of constant political attacks) so that women will have access to safe and legal abortion. This is simply not an area of medicine you go into to make profits.

Heaney’s suggestion to the contrary is the same cry we hear from abortion opponents everywhere — and it is simply false.


Jen Aulwes is communications director for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.