The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal taxpayer dollars from funding elective abortions, and Planned Parenthood claims the money – mostly from Medicaid reimbursements and health grants – does not directly fund abortions. Planned Parenthood received over $500 million in taxpayer funding in the 2014-15 fiscal year.
"In the last three years alone, Planned Parenthood has committed nearly one million abortions while receiving a total of $1.5 billion from the American people, against our will. We represent the growing number of Americans who oppose Planned Parenthood's extreme abortion agenda and seek to defund this abortion giant," the pro-life leaders' statement read.
In 2015, undercover videos released by the citizen journalist group Center for Medical Progress showed Planned Parenthood executives discussing the pricing of fetal tissue with actors posing as representatives of tissue procurement companies.
Although Planned Parenthood has not been found breaking the law by multiple congressional investigations, the videos sparked a conversation about the group and its purported mission of being a vital health care provider for women.
"I think it's really important for pro-lifers to keep talking about Planned Parenthood," Hawkins said, noting that the conversation has quieted down in recent months.
"The election's kind of taken some of that wind and steam away from that movement, and I think that's really helped them," she said.
Abby Johnson is a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who quit her job after watching an abortion there on ultrasound. She is the foundress of And Then There Were None, a group which helps abortion clinic workers leave the industry.
She says she saw firsthand the abuses and "deceit" at Planned Parenthood, and expressed her sadness at having worked for them for eight years.
"For 100 years, Planned Parenthood has told women that they aren't strong enough to be mothers or achieve their goals. For 100 years, PP has treated women as commodities and exploited them in order to increase their business revenue," she said in a written statement.
Matt Hadro was the political editor at Catholic News Agency through October 2021. He previously worked as CNA senior D.C. correspondent and as a press secretary for U.S. Congressman Chris Smith.