State and Local Funding of Planned Parenthood

The inviolability of the person which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, fínds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights-for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture – is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.  Pope John Paul II, Christifideles Laici   (1988), no. 38

This article is part of a three-part series examining public funding for Planned Parenthood and “special” legislative treatment it has received in California.  In the first installment, we considered Planned Parenthood’s funding at the federal level.  In this second installment, we examine state and local funding of Planned Parenthood’s 115 affiliates in California. 

California leads the nation in its virtually unrestricted provision of abortion and contraceptive services.  As mentioned in the first article of this series regarding federal funding of Planned Parenthood, the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funding for abortions in federal health plans, and Medicaid limits abortion coverage to cases of rape or incest, as well as when the mother’s life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness or injury.  California, however, is one of 17 states that uses state funds to provide abortion services for essentially any reason.[1]

Medi-Cal Funding

Under the state’s Medi-Cal program (California’s version of Medicaid), health coverage is provided to low-income individuals, and the state reimburses health care providers for their services to such individuals.  Since Medi-Cal coverage includes contraceptive and elective abortion services, abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, receive reimbursement monies from the state for these services in addition to any medical care they might provide.

With respect to abortion, in 2014 (the last year for which data is available), there were 83,485 Medi-Cal funded induced abortions performed in California.  Of these abortions, 53,907 were designated as “fee-for-service”[2], and the other 29,578 were covered under a Medi-Cal managed care plan[3].[4]  Expenditure information for abortions performed under Medi-Cal managed care plans is not available for that year, but the expenditures for “fee-for-service” abortions amounted to $27,591,381.  These abortions were not covered by the federal Medicaid program but were entirely state-funded.  It is unknown how many Medi-Cal funded abortions were provided at a Planned Parenthood facility.

The California Department of Health Care Services, which administers Medi-Cal, reports that California Planned Parenthood providers received a total of $230 million in state funds in 2012-2013.[5]  This number has most likely increased since California, in 2014, boosted abortion funding by 40%, an increase of $5.5 million, while at the same time eliminating funding for mammograms and pregnancy test-only benefits and maintaining a 10% cut in Medi-Cal funds to hospitals and other health care providers.  When the budget plan was signed approving the increase in abortion funding, Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto stated, “At a time when the state claims it is too poor to fully fund health care for nearly 10 million people, and women are struggling to find providers to give them basic medical care, the state returns a political favor by giving extra money to abortion providers.” [6]

Family PACT program

In addition to receiving state funding under the Medi-Cal program, Planned Parenthood receives state money through California’s Family Planning, Access, Care, and Treatment (Family PACT) program.  The Family PACT program was established in 1997 with certain objectives including, reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, increasing access to publicly funded family planning for low-income Californians, and increasing the use of contraception.[7]  While abortions are not covered under this program, other services provided by Planned Parenthood, such as the provision of contraceptives, allow Planned Parenthood to receive reimbursement from the state.  In fiscal year 2013-14 (the last year for which data is available), the total provider reimbursement from the Family PACT program was $559 million, with 17% ($95 million) of the total reimbursement going to private sector providers and 42% ($235 million) of the total reimbursement going to public sector providers[8].[9]    

State Funding of California Planned Parenthood Affiliates in 2016

In an article released by Catholic San Francisco in August 2015, it was revealed that the federal and state governments provide funding for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte and Planned Parenthood Northern California in an amount that is twice as much as the government funding for Planned Parenthood nationally.  Of this amount, more than 50% of these Planned Parenthood affiliates’ funding comes from the state.[10]

Looking at its most recent annual report, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, which operates facilities in 16 California counties and performed 16,943 abortions in fiscal year 2016, received almost $72 million dollars or 75% of its $96 million budget from the Family PACT program and Medi-Cal reimbursements.[11]

According to the 2015-2016 annual report of Planned Parenthood Northern California, which operates clinics in 11 California counties and had a budget of $50 million, it received $19 million from the state and over $15 million from the both the state and federal governments for Medi-Cal and Medicare reimbursements and grants from the federal Title X family planning program.[12]

Local Funding

It is unknown how much funding California Planned Parenthood affiliates receive on a local level.  However, one city council in particular has had members who have donated to Planned Parenthood using some of their discretionary funds.  In 2014, Sacramento City Council member Angelique Ashby was asked about her contribution to Planned Parenthood and responded that she used the funds to support a Planned Parenthood scholarship.[13]  While these funds may have been used for educational purposes, their contribution allowed additional money to be used for abortion and contraceptive services.

What Does the Future Hold for State Funding of California Planned Parenthood Affiliates Under the new Administration and Republican-Controlled Congress?

During the recent presidential campaign, Republican leadership vowed to defund Planned Parenthood and to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which expanded access to contraception.  Moreover, the Republican Party has consistently pledged their support of a pro-life agenda.  Public polls also that show Californians do not want to pay for abortion.  However, given the Democratic supermajority in the Legislature and President Obama’s recent issuance of a rule prohibiting states from denying federal Title X family-planning funds to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, state support of Planned Parenthood seems unlikely to diminish. 

In fact, in an interview with Kaiser Health News in December 2016, Kathy Kneer, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, spoke about the potential for an increase in state funding if the federal government cut off its funding of Planned Parenthood.  “Our first goal is to let them [state officials] know our grim assessment.  We are going to talk to them about Proposition 56 [the tobacco tax that increased funds for Medi-Cal].  We were originally going to talk to the governor’s administration about making sure that some of the money is targeted to women’s reproductive health care services.  We’ve had to expand that agenda to help us delay and defeat any Trump actions hostile to California.”[14]

While California has historically been an ardent supporter of Planned Parenthood and liberal abortion policies, the election of a Republican President and control of Congress by a the same party should give hope to pro-life Californians that change can be effected even in our state by the election of state and local officials who will represent the voice of those who are the weakest and most vulnerable among us – the unborn.

[2] A significant proportion of total Medi-Cal expenditures are generated through the fee-for-service (FFS) health care delivery system.  FFS providers render services and then submit claims for payment that are adjudicated, processed, and paid (or denied) by the Medi-Cal program’s fiscal intermediary.…

[3] According to the California Department of Health Care Services, because managed care plans receive a per member per month payment for each member, regardless of whether or not services are rendered or encounter data is submitted, the number of induced abortions in this population may be underreported. 

[4] Research and Analytic Studies Division.  September, 2016.  Medi-Cal Funded Induced Abortions, 2014.  California Department of Health Care Services. 

[5] Press Release, State Assemblyman Introduces Bill to Eliminate State Funds for Planned Parenthood Locations that Provide Fetal Tissue for Research (August 3, 2015)

[8] Among public providers, three major categories received reimbursement: community clinics received 31% of all reimbursement, FQHC/RHC/IHS clinics received 7% and other public providers received 4%.

[9] Family PACT Program Report fiscal year 2013-2014

[11] Planned Parenthood Mar Monte FY 2016 Annual Report

[12] Planned Parenthood Northern California Annual Report 2015-2016


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