On Sept. 1, the Fresno City Council overrode Mayor Jerry Dyer’s veto to have the city administer a $1 million state grant to Planned Parenthood for its clinic on Fulton Street. While advocates at the time argued it was for uncontroversial services like cancer screenings, records newly released by the City Attorney’s Office show that the money can fund abortion directly, and that the city is exercising no oversight over the funding whatsoever.
What was the purported purpose for this money? In Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula’s request for state budgetary assistance, the lawmaker gave a nonexhaustive list of items that would be part of a full-scale clinic “renovation”: ADA-compliant exam tables (roughly $5,000 apiece), ultrasound probes ($1,000 apiece) and a remodeling of the medical records room to afford more office space for providers. These items hardly amount to $1 million.
In the end, the City Council approved the funding “for reproductive health for the Central Valley and for health center renovations,” with no further specifications or limitations. I guessed that this funding would simply support the clinic’s general operations, and thereby support abortion, Planned Parenthood’s cornerstone service.
In its most recent annual report, Planned Parenthood stated that its affiliates performed 383,460 abortions nationwide. The Fulton Street clinic, the direct recipient of this funding, performs both medication and surgical abortions, and has a high volume of patients.
Abortion is also quite lucrative for Planned Parenthood’s business. With California supplemental funding, Medi-Cal reimburses providers with $400 for a first-trimester abortion, and $700 for a second-trimester abortion. This yields far more money than almost any other service they offer: for example, inserting an IUD reimburses only $168 at Medi-Cal rates.
New documents released pursuant to a records request show that I was correct: there are no meaningful restrictions, oversight requirements or limitations on this funding whatsoever. Planned Parenthood gets all the money immediately, and can use it for essentially any purpose, including the direct funding of abortions, with no city oversight….
Essentially any expenditure by Planned Parenthood can plausibly be deemed to be “for the purpose of reproductive health,” including paying for abortion drugs, abortion providers, and medical staff who assist with abortions. Even if the language weren’t so broad, there is no way for the city to monitor that the funds are expended appropriately on building renovations, cancer screenings, gynecological care, or any of the uncontroversial services Planned Parenthood wants to promote ahead of abortion as representative of their work.
Full story at the Fresno Bee.