This U.S. Supreme Court case is likely not on your radar… but it should be.
On April 22, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media D/B/A Argus Leader. At issue is an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which was used to deny providing a newspaper with data from government vendors as part of a food-stamp fraud investigation.
I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat.
But here’s where things get interesting: Planned Parenthood has used the same FOIA exemption to prevent pro-life groups from exposing how Planned Parenthood is spending our tax dollars.
That’s the point Alliance Defending Freedom makes in the amicus brief we filed on behalf of New Hampshire Right to Life (NHRTL).
NHRTL is a pro-life organization that “educates its members and the public through ongoing public-record requests and analyses, including the problems with and abuses in taxpayer funding of abortion clinics.” Previous FOIA requests that NHRTL has submitted revealed that:
1. Taxpayers are footing a rather hefty bill for the birth control drugs that Planned Parenthood provides.
Here’s how it works: Planned Parenthood pays a small amount for birth control pills, providing them to low-income women for free through public assistance programs. It then bills the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for these drugs at a much higher rate – a 388 percent higher rate, to be exact – than what it cost to buy the same drugs at Walmart.
2. Planned Parenthood pays a lot of money to keep its cronies in places of power.
It probably comes as no surprise to you that Planned Parenthood will do anything in its power to keep tax money flowing into its coffers. That includes spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in lobbying. All of that lobbying ensures that the politicians who are friendly to Planned Parenthood are elected in order to keep the abortion giant funded with taxpayer dollars.
But not all of NHRTL’s public-records requests have been successful.
Other requests regarding how much abortion clinics charge taxpayers and how these clinics ultimately spend their taxpayer funds have been denied – under the very exemption at issue in the Food Marketing Institute case. The exemption covers “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person [that is] privileged or confidential.” Unsurprisingly, Planned Parenthood claims that all of its information is confidential, including the information showing that it upcharges the federal government for birth control pills by up to 388 percent.
Unfortunately, courts have defined this exemption much more broadly than originally intended – allowing the government to limit access to information. That shields government contractors like Planned Parenthood from public scrutiny.
But if the federal government is going to keep sending Planned Parenthood money, shouldn’t every American know where those tax dollars are going? NHRTL’s good work shows that the dollars aren’t all going for the cost of birth control pills. So where could Planned Parenthood be spending it?
We already know that in the past decade, Planned Parenthood has haggled over aborted baby body parts, faced multiple lawsuits exposing the misuse of taxpayer funds, and failed to report the sexual abuse of young girls brought to its clinics. Seems like Planned Parenthood deserves more public scrutiny, not less.
Particularly when all of us are funding the abortion business to the tune of $500 million a year.