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Despite protests from senators, Planned Parenthood affiliates still received PPP loans in 2021

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Planned Parenthood affiliates have continued to be approved for emergency small business loans in 2021, despite protests by senators who say they should be ineligible for the loans.

The office of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said last week that it had once again sought an explanation from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as to why Planned Parenthood affiliates were continuing to receive loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The program was set up under the CARES Act to provide forgivable loans to small businesses and eligible non-profits to help with payroll and day-to-day costs during the pandemic. 

Paul, the ranking member of the Senate Small Business Committee, said that Planned Parenthood affiliates unlawfully received funds through the program, and his Republican colleagues on the committee joined him in expressing their displeasure.

Members of the committee had initially sent a letter on April 15 to SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, asking her for a “detailed explanation” of how two Planned Parenthood affiliates received second-draw loans from the program after the SBA had already determined they were ineligible. 

In a May 10 letter to the SBA, GOP senators on the committee said they have yet to receive a response to that initial inquiry. 

“We have not received the requested information or a formal response from you.” the senators wrote. Sen. Paul’s office would not confirm to CNA on Monday, May 17, if the SBA had responded to the May 10 letter. 

A spokesperson for the U.S. Small Business Administration did not immediately respond to CNA’s request for comment on Monday. 

When the CARES Act passed Congress in March 2020, Planned Parenthood Action’s acting president appeared to criticize the legislation for “targeting” Planned Parenthood affiliates.

PPP loans were only meant for businesses and non-profits with 500 or fewer employees, but the organization warned that SBA would have “broad discretion” in counting all Planned Parenthood affiliates as part of one large organization – thus excluding affiliates from loans.

However, it was reported in May 2020 that Planned Parenthood affiliates had received $80 million in PPP loans. The SBA last year requested the return of funds distributed to at least one Planned Parenthood affiliate, explaining that it was affiliated with the national organization. 

The senators noted last week that since their initial April 15 letter to the SBA, “at least two additional” Planned Parenthood affiliates were approved for PPP loans.  

Data released by the SBA shows that two Planned Parenthood affiliates in Pennsylvania and New York were approved for PPP loans on April 21 and April 27. 

Planned Parenthood Keystone, in Warminster, Pennsylvania, was approved for a PPP loan in the amount of $853,975 on April 21. On April 27, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, Inc. in New York City was approved for a PPP loan of $10 million - the maximum loan amount under the program.

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“This is unacceptable,” the Republican senators wrote. “As members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, we expect transparency and cooperation with requests for information from your agency.”

Earlier in 2021, a group of 25 Republican senators sent a letter to the SBA administrator on March 25, demanding an investigation into why Planned Parenthood affiliates were continuing to receive PPP loans. 

Other affiliates which received PPP loans in 2021 include Planned Parenthood of the Columbia Willamette, Inc. in Portland, Oregon, which was approved for a $2 million loan on Feb. 25. Planned Parenthood of Maryland in Baltimore, and Intermountain Planned Parenthood in Billings, Montana, were each approved for PPP loans on March 15; their loan amounts were more than $1.6 million and more than $1.2 million, respectively. 

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