Planned Parenthood Is Furious Republicans Want to Claw Back Their Bailout Money

The $2 million coronavirus relief loan Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida received from the federal government was a lifeline. The Planned Parenthood affiliate, which operates 10 health clinics in the region, had been pulverized by the coronavirus pandemic, and CEO Stephanie Fraim had spent days agonizing over whether she’d have to lay off…

Planned Parenthood Is Furious Republicans Want to Claw Back Their Bailout Money

The $2 million coronavirus relief loan Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida received from the federal government was a lifeline. The Planned Parenthood affiliate, which operates 10 health clinics in the region, had been pulverized by the coronavirus pandemic, and CEO Stephanie Fraim had spent days agonizing over whether she’d have to lay off employees. The loan, Fraim knew, would help people keep their jobs. It would help Floridians keep their healthcare. Then, only a few weeks later, a Fox News report came out: The U.S. government wanted to claw back the money it’d given to Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country. And it might even levy penalties. Within hours, Republican senators piled on, calling for an investigation into the report’s claims that 37 Planned Parenthood affiliates collectively received more than $80 million in federal funds earmarked for small businesses crippled by the pandemic. But Planned Parenthood says this is part of a larger, targeted attack on reproductive rights. “It was crystal-clear that we met every single criteria that they had set out for applying to this loan,” Fraim said. “At the time that we were getting this loan, the economic uncertainty and our outlook was grim. All U.S. businesses and healthcare providers especially were facing — it was happening so rapidly, businesses were closing so rapidly. That moment was treacherous. And this loan came along at an important time.” Fraim estimates that she’s already spent about half the money to stay afloat. Planned Parenthood has nearly 50 affiliates scattered across the country, all of which are incorporated as separate 501(c)(3)s and operate independently of the mothership organization, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Each affiliate has its own leaders and board, files its own tax documents, and oversees its own health centers within a geographic region. READ: Trump’s anti-abortion policies are hurting coronavirus vaccine research Many also employ fewer than 500 people — the cutoff level for receiving loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, which is intended to quickly infuse organizations with the cash they need to cover payroll and keep the lights on through the pandemic. But anti-abortion Republicans are not sympathetic to that plight. “Planned Parenthood is not a small business. It is a multibillion-dollar company,” Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican and die-hard abortion opponent, wrote in a letter to the head of the Small Business Administration on Wednesday. He added, “It is
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