With the Florida House of Representatives poised to pass a parental notification law that would require abortion providers like Planned Parenthood to notify a minor patient’s parents and get consent before they could perform an abortion, Democrat lawmakers and activists are pulling out all the stops to prevent passage.
On Wednesday, Democrats attempted no fewer than 14 amendments designed to install loopholes that providers like Planned Parenthood have exploited in other states to ignore the notification requirements.
One such amendment, that would have exempted providers from having to notify parents in cases of rape, incest or human trafficking, was roundly rejected by lawmakers by a vote of 70 to 47. It’s easy to see why: in states that have tried to implement such exemptions, abortion providers take the minor at their word, or in some cases actually encourage minors to make such claims, which absolve the provider from the notification requirement. The provider is usually also shielded from being required to notify law enforcement in such cases, hiding behind claims of patient privacy.
But the real reason for the vehement opposition from Florida Democrats had little to do with protecting minors, and everything to do with money. Lots of it. Despite claims to the contrary, abortion services are the lifeblood of providers like Planned Parenthood, which charges anywhere from $350 to more than $1,000 per abortion, with some estimates of an average per abortion cost of around $450.
So desperate is Planned Parenthood to distance itself from this fact, that they artificially inflate the number of “services” they provide so that they can pump out the misleading statistic that “abortion services comprise only 3 percent of the total services they provide.”
Even PolitiFact, which bends over backwards to label Republican statistical claims about Planned Parenthood as “false,” no matter how much they have to bend the facts, admits that Planned Parenthood’s accounting methods are contrived:
…many people would acknowledge a difference between providing an abortion and, say, handing out a pack of condoms or conducting a blood test. The former is a significant surgical procedure, whereas the latter are quick and inexpensive services. So Planned Parenthood’s use of “services” as its yardstick likely decreases abortion’s prominence compared to what other measurements would show. Using dollars spent or hours devoted to patient care would likely put abortion above 3 percent in the calculations.
Second, it’s worth noting that Planned Parenthood self-reported these numbers, although the group says each affiliate’s numbers are independently audited. (There is no single, national audit.) So we have no choice but to accept their accuracy more or less on faith.
With that in mind, we can run the actual numbers: for the past three years in Florida, more than 70,000 pregnancies each year were terminated by abortion providers. Simple math gives an estimated abortion services revenue figure of $31.5 million per year. And a lot of those dollars flow to Democrat politicians in the form of campaign contributions and political committee expenditures. Those same Democrats are now doing everything they can to protect their cash cow.
A 2006 study conducted by the New York Times found that states enacting a parental notification law for minors saw abortion rates drop twice as fast as abortion rates in states without such laws in place. Because it’s the New York Times, one must parse the carefully worded, aforelinked news article, which doesn’t provide the underlying data produced by the study. Instead, the New York Times attempts to explain away every statistic that would otherwise prove the wisdom of parental notification laws, most especially the fact that abortions in states adopting parental notification laws saw a 9 percent decrease in the year following the law’s passage.
But the notification law itself will neither stop, nor even slow abortion providers like Planned Parenthood in their nearly gleeful pursuit of abortion revenue. Attempts to hold Planned Parenthood accountable to the law have failed in the past. Even criminal charges in other states, filed for their efforts to skirt abortion restrictions, have had little effect. Florida’s law won’t do much unless it is paired with rigorous oversight and significant penalties for failure to comply with the new law.
For that reason, Florida will need state officials, especially prosecutors, who are willing to uphold it.
Take Kansas as an example. In 2007, Planned Parenthood was charged with 107 criminal violations of state law:
Kansas District Attorney Phill Kline filed a 107-count indictment against the abortion provider. The charges are 23 felony counts of making false information, 26 misdemeanor counts of failure to maintain records, 29 misdemeanor counts of failure to determine viability for a late-term abortion and 29 misdemeanor counts of unlawful late-term abortion.
Yet the clinic managed to avoid criminal convictions, not because they won in court, but because they defeated Kline at the ballot box. His elected replacement chose the politically expedient course of action: dropping the charges after never moving the case forward in Kline’s absence. As that example illustrates, Planned Parenthood will exploit any loophole available that allows the organization to maximize abortion revenue.
Florida Democrats know that Thursday’s likely vote on the House floor will bring their political allies one step closer to losing millions of dollars in abortion revenue. And Republican lawmakers were correct to reject any attempts to create easily exploited loopholes that would make the law pointless.
Parents deserve to know when their minor child is considering an abortion, and Florida lawmakers should be commended for taking on the abortion industry and standing up for what is best for families and especially for young women facing a difficult situation. They may not want to tell their parents, but they need to be counseled by those that love them, know them well, and have their best interests in mind.