WASHINGTON — 75 technology companies recently joined an open letter to the leaders of Congress in support of the abortion and contraception giant Planned Parenthood out of their concern that the organization could be defunded.
The correspondence, addressed to majority and minority leaders Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, asserts that Planned Parenthood is a vital health care provider for women.
“As business leaders committed to connecting people with the information and services they need to thrive, we urge Congress not to pursue any legislation that blocks women from accessing critical preventive care—including well-woman exams, birth control, and cancer screenings—at Planned Parenthood health centers,” it reads.
The letter also claims that the organization is responsible for the recent reported decline in teen pregnancy.
“We are committed to supporting their ability to build on this important work and, above all, we are connected to Planned Parenthood’s mission which so closely resembles what we stand for as leaders in technology: creating opportunity for everyone to chart their own path in life and pursue their own ingenuity—without barriers or fear,” it states.
The companies assert that without Planned Parenthood, women will be denied preventative health care and will have to “overcome political hurdles to take care of their health.”
Signees include David Karp of Tumblr, Dennis Crowley of Foursquare, Alexis Ohanian of Reddit, Rick Webb of Timehop, Scott Heiferman of Meetup, Julia Hartz of Eventbrite, Aaron Levie of Box, Georg Petschnigg of FiftyThree, John Borthwick of Betaworks and Karen Cahn of IFundWomen.
The letter is stated to be an extension of a partnership between Tumblr and Planned Parenthood. According to USA Today, Tumblr employees donated $80,000 to the organization just last month, and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg also donated $1 million.
As previously reported, according to the organization’s annual report, Planned Parenthood performed 323,999 abortions nationwide during the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The figure accounts for at least one-third of all abortions nationwide, when compared to statistics released in November by the Centers for Disease Control.
Planned Parenthood has not released its 2015-2016 report for unknown reasons, which has raised questions and red flags for some pro-life groups.
As it has been in previous years, Planned Parenthood’s largest focus in 2014-2015 was sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s), as it tested and/or treated over four million people for sexual ailments, with over 3.5 million tests and 32 thousand men and women being treated for ailments contracted through sexual activity.
Over 2.9 million people were provided with contraceptives or other forms of birth control in 2014—from temporary to permanent, including over 900 thousand emergency contraception kits. The figure is down from 3.5 million the year before, and 3.7 million in 2012.
Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms as it is not licensed to operate mammogram machines, and its annual report outlined that fewer than 700,000 women received services surrounding cancer screenings, equating to just seven percent of its services, while STD testing and contraceptives accounted for 76 percent of its services.
Nonetheless, Planned Parenthood received $553 million in taxpayer funding/grants in 2014, up from $528 million the year prior, which equated to 43 percent of its total income. $48 million of Planned Parenthood’s income was used for sex education, and $39 million was used for public policy, or to influence legislation, up from $33 million in 2013. Despite its expenditures, it still garnered a $61 million dollar profit.
Last month, thousands of women nationwide took to the streets to call for the defunding of the organization.
“They do not have mammograms. They do not provide prenatal care. They do not provide pediatric care, so it is not comprehensive healthcare for women,” participant Delia Laux of Virginia told reporters. “Planned Parenthood will say, ‘We’re not using that money for abortion. We’re using it for other services.’ The fact is money is refundable.”