The "Vital" Work of Planned Parenthood

By John Hawkins

Date: December 10, 2015

Category: Abortion, Sharing the Message of Lutherans For Life, Worldview and Culture

If you can’t believe the above title of this article, please read on. Planned Parenthood (PP) is, as it should be (and that’s an understatement), under scrutiny as never before because of publicity surrounding its sale of body parts from aborted babies. Indeed, government funding for PP at the local, state, and federal level is facing cutbacks or even elimination. May His will be done!

To no one’s surprise, government support is the single largest source of revenue for PP at the local level. In PP’s 2013-14 Fiscal Year (according to their latest annual report available online in early October), local affiliates received approximately $528 million or about 46% of their funding from the government.

But where do their remaining monies come from?

Besides “Non-Government Health Services Revenue” (presumably including fees charged for abortions!), private contributions and bequests were some $257 million at the affiliate level or 22% of their overall revenue. This does not include gifts to the PP national office, which were $169 million towards overall revenue of $209 million (or 80% of that total!)

Collectively, therefore, PP received more than $426 million from 584,000 contributors. While this includes gifts from collective entities—corporations, foundations, etc.—there’s no way to get around it: That is a lot of money from a lot of people! Why are all these folks contributing to PP? In short, they must see their work as VITAL.

Now, put this in contrast with LFL’s donor base, which is about 7,000. Of course, comparing LFL’s donor base with PP’s is simply not fair. First, to have a level playing field, you would also need to include a cross section of the For Life community: national advocacy groups and their chapters, crisis pregnancy centers, and other faith-based educational organizations. If this is done, it is likely that both the dollars contributed and number of donors would be somewhat closer.

Secondly, not only is it much smaller, but LFL’s purpose is very focused. Its mission is “Equipping Lutherans to be Gospel-motivated voices For Life.” Its vision is “Every Lutheran, both individually and in community, upholding the God-given value of human life and influencing society to do the same.” Still, I can’t help but notice how many of our “own” Lutheran people are either not aware of LFL and its mission or don’t embrace it if they are.

Two examples of the latter come to mind. Since I joined the ministry, it’s been my pleasure to talk to hundreds of pastors. On a couple of occasions, they have shared with me that when they announce they will be observing Sanctity of Life Sunday (see the flyer in this edition of LifeDate), they can expect an argument on our church’s pro-life stand and/or a “boycott” from some of their folks that same day.

I’ve also given a number of Bible study presentations (mostly on Sunday). Recently in a class, I discussed abortion, how life is a gift from God as stated in the scriptures, and how human life begins at conception. I also circulated a 16-week fetal model to show those in attendance just what it is we are aborting. 

Afterwards, an older gentleman came up to me and in no uncertain terms said he didn’t want to pay any more money to support babies that were born to unwed teen mothers—period! As best I could, I tried to say there are many couples who would love to adopt a baby but can’t because they’re aborted instead. I said still others were willing to adopt babies who were known prenatally to have disabilities. Lastly, I tried to reemphasize that a child in the womb is a child of God. All of this was to no avail. (I think I know now how Edith Bunker felt on All in the Family when Archie said, “Case closed.”)

This also illustrates that just as PP is “vital” to the “other side,” LFL is VITAL to our Lutheran churches and members. Why? Because we can’t take it for granted that Lutherans know that all human life should be affirmed and that decisions should be made from a Gospel-centered basis. Additionally, if LFL did not exist, there simply would be no comprehensive, ongoing Gospel-centered For Life resources and support available nationwide from a Lutheran perspective.

To do these things, Lutherans For Life needs to raise $875,000 this year. As of October 1, we still had $200,000+ to go. This is not millions (or tens of) like the “other side” is probably seeking at this moment for its work, but it will be enough if reached. We can also know that while we don’t have their “numbers,” we can take comfort in the words of Martin Luther: “Of whom shall I be afraid? One with God is a majority.”

As one who is dedicated to LFL, please help us. Use the enclosed envelope or give online at www.lutheransforlife.org. Many thanks, and may you and yours have a blessed Christmas Season and Happy New Year.

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