The Financial Influence of Planned Parenthood on Democrats

Planned Parenthood, the taxpayer-funded women's health care and abortion provider, has a deep financial relationship with Democrats. Over the past 15 years, employees and political arms of Planned Parenthood have donated a staggering $25 million...

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Planned Parenthood, the taxpayer-funded women's health care and abortion provider, has a deep financial relationship with Democrats. Over the past 15 years, employees and political arms of Planned Parenthood have donated a staggering $25 million to Democratic party lawmakers, according to an analysis by FoxNews.com. This amount represents a whopping 99 percent of all political donations linked to Planned Parenthood, firmly establishing the partisan preference of the organization.

Amid increasing calls to end the nearly $500 million in annual federal funding received by Planned Parenthood, the organization's political influence has never been more crucial. In the words of Jeanne Zaino, a political science professor at Iona College, "These types of contributions - any contributions - to public officials are important and they do sway votes."

Donations and Lobbying Efforts

In addition to direct donations to Democratic campaigns across the nation, Planned Parenthood employees and affiliates have spent $12 million on lobbying efforts. Despite being a tax-exempt nonprofit, Planned Parenthood can establish a political action committee committed to its goals. The organization's political arm, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, collaborates with various state, regional, and local PACs and affiliates to influence elections at all levels. It is important to note that the fund is privately funded and cannot utilize the organization's funds, although it advocates for Planned Parenthood and supports candidates aligned with its cause.

Political Impact and Controversy

The substantial taxpayer subsidies received by Planned Parenthood have come under intense scrutiny, particularly following the release of sting videos by the Center for Medical Progress, a group opposed to abortion. These videos, some of which contain undercover footage from inside clinics and alleged discussions about the illegal sale of fetal cadavers and body parts, have significantly thrust Planned Parenthood into the spotlight during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Despite efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, a recent Senate measure fell short of the supermajority vote required. Several lawmakers who voted against defunding had received financial support from Planned Parenthood's PACs and supporters. For instance, Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass., the largest recipient of Planned Parenthood's contributions, received $22,290 and joined other Planned Parenthood-backed senators in blocking the move.

Individual Contributions

Not only does Planned Parenthood's political influence extend to campaign contributions, but some of its employees have also donated significant amounts to Democrat-supported candidates and causes. Aimee Boone Cunningham, the former vice president of development of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, donated a total of $233,000 to the Super PAC Planned Parenthood Votes, Democratic congressional candidates, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Another example is Alexandria Marcus, who worked intermittently for Planned Parenthood and donated $132,500 to various Democratic organizations and candidates, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama.

Federal Funding and Partisan Divides

Planned Parenthood, as per its annual report, received $528.4 million in government health services grants and reimbursements in fiscal year 2014. It is important to note that federal funds allocated to Planned Parenthood cannot be used for abortion services, but rather for promoting other women's health causes such as birth control, mammograms, and sex education in public schools. The issue of abortion itself has created a partisan divide, with the Susan B. Anthony List, a private anti-abortion organization, donating significantly more to Republicans than Democrats.

The Money Trail

While senators who voted in favor of funding Planned Parenthood may have done so based on their personal beliefs or the wishes of their constituents, it is undeniable that contributions play a role in determining votes on such contentious issues. As Zaino stated, "Anytime we are analyzing a vote, we always have to follow the money trail, and this case is no exception. There is no question that the vote on Monday was tied to the contributions these senators have received from the Planned Parenthood SuperPACs and related individual donors."

Planned Parenthood's financial ties to Democrats are deep-rooted and significant. With millions of dollars in donations and extensive lobbying efforts, the organization holds significant sway in the political landscape. As the debate regarding Planned Parenthood's federal funding continues, it remains to be seen how this relationship will shape future decisions and policies.

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