The Rundown: Planned Parenthood Action Funds Affect Politics

Apparently, pro-choice laws are more of a threat to our anti-choice elected officials than climate change and terrorism.

Not only has Congress voted 9 times to defund Planned Parenthood, but the last five years account for 27% of all state laws restricting abortion in the 43 years since the U.S. Supreme Court finalized Roe v. Wade. And last year alone, the House and Senate directed 5 congressional committees to investigate Planned Parenthood for supposed wrong doing. None was found.

Although President Obama continually blocks efforts to defund Planned Parenthood on a federal level, many state governments are finding ways to defund and restrict their local affiliates. Despite the national trend, California remains on the cutting edge of protecting reproductive health care for women. And, Planned Parenthood Action Funds have everything to do with it.

The Action Funds are distinct arms of Planned Parenthood with a tax status that permits participation in electoral politics. In California there are seven Planned Parenthood Action Funds, each is a non-partisan political advocacy and public policy organization with a 501c-4 status aligned with a state or local Planned Parenthood (501c-3) organization. Their broad mission is to provide access to reproductive health care at little or no cost to every person who wants it. Planned Parenthood, itself, provides the clinics and services while the Action Funds defend their rights to provide those services. Their work is essential in protecting the reproductive health care rights we enjoy today.

Freedom begins with having control of your own body, and in how you choose to care for it, manage it and express it. This includes a woman’s right to choose if she should become pregnant and whether to remain pregnant. Planned Parenthood Action Funds directly support pro-choice candidates and advocates for choice on every level, from local school districts to the White House.

Nationally, 97% of all Planned Parenthood services are preventive. Preventive measures include testing for sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, screening for testicular, cervical and breast cancer, and providing birth control and HPV vaccines for both women and men. No federal dollars that fund Planned Parenthood ever fund abortion services.

One in five women in the U.S. has been a client of Planned Parenthood at least once and 10% of Planned Parenthood patients are men. Without funding for services like testing, and the political leaders in place to protect our rights, real lives are at risk and our quality of life is threatened.

Your donations to Planned Parenthood are tax deductible and directly support reproductive health care services. And, although your donations to the Planned Parenthood Action Funds, the 501c4s, are not tax deductible, the money directly supports the politics behind protecting those services.

Action Funds across California gather contributions to support pro-choice candidates, while providing phone banks to educate voters about pro-choice allies and reminding our supporters to stay strong. Action Funds also register voters, provide outreach and education on the issues – to both voters and elected officials, and have visibility events in public settings like street fairs and colleges. Ultimately, Planned Parenthood Action Funds help elect pro-choice leaders who believe reproductive health care is a right. Planned Parenthood Action Funds directly contributed to electing California Governor Jerry Brown and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

For the first time in their 100 year history, Planned Parenthood is endorsing a Presidential candidate in the primary. They choose Hillary Clinton.

We are in an unprecedented time in the history of reproductive justice. It isn’t enough to be pro-choice on a personal basis; we have to elect pro-choice leaders who can go to bat for us. And, we must fund the court battles necessary to challenge anti-abortion extremists.