National Rifle Association national spokesperson Dana Loesch thinks that, instead of addressing gun violence by talking about guns, America should stop reimbursing Planned Parenthood for providing medical care. Doing so, she claimed, would magically free up $500 million for the federal government to pay for the NRA’s dream of prison-like schools with metal detectors and armed guards everywhere. It would not.
Days after Santa Fe, Texas became the latest community to see a mass school shooting, Loesch told Fox & Friends on Tuesday that the way to keep kids safe is to put armed security officers in every public school. She made no mention of the fact that two armed security guards were present at Santa Fe High School and still at least 10 students and teachers were shot and killed last Friday.
Her proposal to pay for these guards: defund Planned Parenthood.
“How about we take the half a billion dollars from Planned Parenthood and redirect that into making sure schools are secure and that we have armed security and that we have metal detectors?” she suggested. “We are protecting our sporting events and concerts more.”
This is not the first time Loesch, whose organization claims to be focused on gun rights, has used her Fox News appearances to target the non-profit health care provider.
But Loesch’s comments indicate that she still does not understand how Planned Parenthood’s funding works. The $500 million-plus the organization receives each year is not some sort of gift the federal government just sends in appreciation of its work to provide cancer screenings, HIV tests, and affordable health care services to patients. It comes mostly from Medicaid reimbursement — health care money that goes to pay Planned Parenthood’s health providers back for the services they provide. The remainder is largely Title X Family Planning grants. By law, almost none of that money goes to pay for abortions and none of it goes to political advocacy.
While many Planned Parenthood critics have suggested that the patients who rely on its clinics for their medical care could simply go to other community clinics, those already overburdened facilities would also be eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. So eliminating federal funding for Planned Parenthood would either mean sending that $500 million to other medical providers — which would not in fact free up money for school security — or simply taking away medical care from hundreds of thousands of people.
UPDATE: Loesch tweeted the same proposal later Tuesday morning.
We give a half a billion taxpayer dollars a year to Planned Parenthood, a for profit business that donates those dollars almost exclusively to Democrats. Don’t say school security to PROTECT kids is too expensive when you’re cool funding this.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) May 22, 2018
Once again, she falsely claimed that these reimbursement payments are “donated almost exclusively to Democrats.” Not one penny of that money goes to the organization’s political action committee, as per federal law.