Planned Parenthood to close four Iowa clinics

Proving yet again that it’s not about women’s health, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland will close four of its clinics in Iowa beginning this summer. According to Reuters, the announcement comes after Iowa’s state legislature passed and Governor Terry Branstad signed into law a measure restricting abortion providers from receiving state Medicaid funds:

Health centers in Burlington, Keokuk and Sioux City will close on June 30 and one in Quad Cities soon after as a result of losing $2 million in funds under the new measure, said Susan Allen, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. The four clinics served 14,676 patients in the last three years, she said, including many rural and poor women.

Of course the pink-hat crowd will decry the fate of those nearly 15,000 rural and poor women without reading this paragraph later in the same story:

“The pro-life movement is making tremendous strides in changing the hearts and minds, to return to a culture that once again respects human life,” said Ben Hammes, a spokesman for Branstad, who said there were 2,400 doctors, nurses and clinics around the state for family planning that do not provide abortions.

So the truth is that this move will not take away women’s access to healthcare, as Medicaid family planning funds wills still be available – just not to providers who perform abortions. But there is a greater truth at play here – the fact that despite all its bluster about women’s health, Planned Parenthood makes its decisions based on two things:

ABORTION and MONEY.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has two options that would allow it to continue receiving state Medicaid funds in Iowa.

First, if PP truly wanted to keep those Iowa clinics open – if it was truly interested in providing quality healthcare to those 15,000 rural and poor women – it would simply stop performing abortions. One simple move, and suddenly that lost funding comes back to PPH.

Second, the national Planned Parenthood of America could make up that lost $2 million with the stroke of a pen. In case you missed them in the PPH story I wrote a few weeks ago, here are a few financial facts about Planned Parenthood that they’d probably prefer you didn’t know:

  • $200 million invested in securities
  • Endowment fund balance of $101 million
  • An “annual gala” which resulted in a $226,000 loss
  • A $5400 grant to the Congressional Black Caucus
  • A $12,500 grant to the National Association of Black Journalists
  • A $4.5 million grant to Planned Parenthood Action Fund, as well as another $22 million is other disbursements to PPAF
  • A grant of more than $728,000 to Planned Parenthood of the Heartland – the group which operates the Iowa clinics
  • Total salary for President Cecile Richards of more than a half-million dollars, and retirement contributions totaling nearly $100,000

So once again, those reading between the lines can see that Planned Parenthood doesn’t really care about those 15,000 rural and poor women. They care only about killing babies and the money that killing brings in.

Kudos to Governor Branstad and the Iowa legislature on the move to deny Medicaid funding to the single worst killer in the state of Iowa, leading to the closure of one-third of its abortion mills in the state.

Postscript:  This move will cost the state of Iowa $3 million, because to accomplish it the state had to set up its own apparatus for distributing Medicaid funds rather than continue participation in a federal program. And while conservatives disdain spending additional tax revenue, the taxpayers of Iowa should ask themselves this question before criticizing the expenditure:

How many of the more than 3,000 children murdered in Planned Parenthood clinics statewide each year would have to be saved for it to be worth your $3 million?

Iowa Abortion Lawsuit Exposes Planned Parenthood’s Agenda

Planned Parenthood likes to claim it is “a trusted healthcare provider”, that abortion is a tiny part of what it does, and that it “is creating a healthier world for everyone”.

Of course everyone includes only those fortunate enough to have actually breached the womb in one piece. Otherwise, your health is irrelevant. But that’s another topic for another time.

Today’s topic is the law – specifically, the fact that in order to present the strongest case possible, parties in legal disputes frequently have to reveal information they don’t typically broadcast to the rest of the world.

Such is the case with Planned Parenthood and its attempt to invalidate The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. In addition to other restrictions, that act – signed into law by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad on Friday – bans abortion after 20 weeks, and requires a 3-day waiting period.

The act went in to effect immediately, and before the ink was dry on Branstad’s signature, the State Supreme Court had imposed a temporary injunction on the waiting period provision. The court is set to begin considering today (Monday) whether that injunction will be lifted or made permanent. The high court intervened after an initial injunction request was denied by a District Court judge.

The remaining provisions of the law seem to be safe, at least for now.

The most interesting aspects of this story are in the details. Very few people will ever actually read the action filed by Planned Parenthood to stop this law – but it truly is a MUST READ, because in that action Planned Parenthood reveals information that runs contrary to its public image.

See, in order to prove that it actually has a dog in this hunt – which is Georgian for “has legal standing to seek an injunction” – Planned Parenthood has to show that it is adversely affected by this new law. Here’s how it makes that case:

  • “[Planned Parenthood of the Heartland] provides medication and surgical abortion at two health centers in Iowa … and medication abortion at six additional Iowa health centers”.
  • “Over the past year (April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017), PPH provided over 2,100 medication abortions and over 1,200 surgical abortions in Iowa.”
  • “PPH would have to add staff or extend hours … And it certainly could not absorb the additional cost without charging patients more for an abortion.” The rub here for PPH is that 3-day waiting period, which would require a patient make a second clinic visit before obtaining an abortion.

Now think for a moment about what Planned Parenthood is saying here. First, they admit that they actually provide abortions, not just referrals for abortion. Second, they admit to having performed 3,300 abortions in Iowa in a year. That’s more than the number who died in the 9-11 terror attacks and nearly as many as at Pearl Harbor. Considering that there were an estimated 4,000 total abortions in Iowa during that year, Planned Parenthood itself was directly responsible for more than 80% of them.

Those facts alone are enough to contradict what PP would have us believe. But the most telling point is the last one, for it is in that point that PP’s true motives come to the fore. Remember that the purpose of including this point in the suit is to provide evidence that Planned Parenthood will be adversely affected by the law in question. To that end, PP claims that “it certainly could not absorb the additional cost without charging patients more for an abortion.”

Why is that point so telling? Because here we have a supposedly non-profit entity – one which receives hundreds of millions of dollars (yes that’s HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS) from federal taxpayers each year – claiming that it cannot absorb the additional costs associated with having patients in this one state come back for a second visit prior to obtaining an abortion.

This is the same non-profit entity which in FY2013 showed $278 million in net assets or fund balances – an increase of $43 million over the prior year. In fact, that 2013 tax information shows a number of other bothersome little facts that PP would probably prefer the average American didn’t know.

Among them:

– $200 million invested in securities

– Endowment fund balance of $101 million

– An “annual gala” which resulted in a $226,000 loss

– A $5400 grant to the Congressional Black Caucus

– A $12,500 grant to the National Association of Black Journalists

– A $4.5 million grant to Planned Parenthood Action Fund – which works during elections to “promote political candidates” – as well as another $22 million in other disbursements to PPAF

– A grant of more than $728,000 to Planned Parenthood of the Heartland – the group which operates the Iowa clinics

– Total salary for President Cecile Richards of more than a half-million dollars, and retirement contributions totaling nearly $100,000

And this is the organization – or its parent, at least – that cannot absorb the additional costs associated with requiring patients to return for a second visit before undergoing an abortion.

As a side note, one must wonder if PP would apply the same logic to pre-surgical consults for other more innocuous procedures such as gall bladder removal or tonsillectomy.

The truth is that Planned Parenthood knows a huge number of women who abort experience a macabre form of buyer’s remorse, and that given 72 hours to consider what they’re about to do, many will not return for the procedure. And as noted in this action, that would result in lost time and revenue.

And that is something that Planned Parenthood simply cannot allow.

In Iowa, Obamacare Is Repealing Itself

Adam Smith continues to have more success repealing Obamacare than the House GOP.

Iowa, which has seen a steady departure of insurance carriers is on the cusp of losing its final major insurance provider, Medica.  The Minnesota based insurer announced that it will not offer individual policies in Iowa for 2018.

According the Des Moines Register, this move would leave over 70,000 Iowans with zero available options for 2018.  Zero.  Even at the nadir of the Cold War, Soviets still had at least one car company.  Iowans won’t even be able to stand in line for a “Lada” class insurance plan next year.

Its hard to imagine a more perfect picture of left wing economics than being fined for not purchasing a product which regulations have made unavailable to you.

Obamacare “essential benefits” mandates, along with community rating rules,  were supposed to make sure that everyone had top notch insurance.  But in the real world, that means that the government has made it illegal to offer a cheaper plan which doesn’t cover birth control, drug addiction, and syphillis screenings, even if that’s what the consumer wants.

First Aetna, then Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield, and now Medica have seen the world created by Obamacare, at least in Iowa, and they want no part of it.  The market has decided that Obamacare needs to die.  Hopefully Congressional Republicans will get that memo too.

 

 

DR Radio

Dead Reckoning Radio: “No Crime” Clinton, Police Shootings, and Pastoral Censorship

  • What is going on with Hillary “extremely careless” Clinton?
  • What’s up with the shootings of black men by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota?
  • Something coming from Iowa has us worried about censorship of pastors.

    Listen in!

In this episode, Hadley, Brian, and Jay discuss the FBI’s decision to not charge Hillary Clinton, the recent shootings of black me by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, the regulations on speech and bathrooms in Iowa, and more. For the full show notes check out our website.

Iowa Sucked, Bernie Won, Blame Microsoft

I worked with the Decision Desk HQ crew Monday night to help assemble Iowa caucus data*. I can tell you that the Microsoft application deployed to handle both parties caucuses, to use a technical term, sucked.

It was buggy, inconsistent (different people had different updates of the same data using the same application), prone to crashing, browser killing (we tried Firefox, Chrome and Safari and all of them at some point stopped responding), and surprisingly difficult to use. For a company with Microsoft’s pedigree, I expected more.

The biggest problem I saw was that the Democrats didn’t report vote counts. I now know that this is by design.

Discrepancies can occur in official elections, and caucuses are not even official election events run by the secretary of state’s office, noted Dennis Goldford, a Drake University professor who closely studies the Iowa caucuses.

“The caucus system isn’t built to bear the weight placed on it,” he said. “There aren’t even paper ballots (in the Democratic caucuses) to use for a recount in case something doesn’t add up.”

By contrast, the Republican caucuses were a dream, although hampered by the same terrible Microsoft app. In fact, the Des Moines Register results page crashed throughout the night using Microsoft’s “API” (application program interface) data feed. DD used manual input and beat the automated AP results most of the night. That’s how bad the Microsoft “solution” was.

We’ve got two competing stories as to who really won Iowa on the Democrat side (I’m not even going to touch Trump’s call for a do-over). Quin Hillyer at National Review reported that Sanders really won, because Hillary’s six coin flip wins (the odds of that being 63:1) for county delegates gave her an edge in “delegate equivalents.”

But I’ve seen nobody point out what should be obvious: If “delegate equivalents” are supposed to fairly represent the actual voting behavior of caucus attendees, even down to narrow fractions, then in terms of actual votes, Sanders slightly defeated Clinton. The final count of delegates to the state [county] convention (aside from the seven won by Martin O’Malley) was Clinton 699, Sanders 695. But by actual voter decisions, the count was Sanders 695, Clinton 693, and six ties.

CNN disputes this.

The Iowa Democratic Party does not have comprehensive records on how many coin flips/games of chance were held Monday evening. However, they do have partial records.

More than half of the 1,681 Democratic caucuses held Monday night used a new Microsoft reporting app. Of those, there were exactly seven county delegates determined by coin flip. The remaining precincts did not use the Microsoft app, and instead used traditional phone-line reporting to transmit results. In these precincts, there no are records of how many coin flips occurred. There’s only anecdotal information on these precincts.

In most endeavors of life, such a situation would be known as (what the military calls) a “Charlie-Foxtrot.” Or a fustercluck.

But barring the opaque mysteries of Democratic Party religious rites and oaths, Clinton and Sanders ended in a tie, which means Sanders won. Hillary can declare victory all she wants, but she didn’t win. The big loser in all this is Microsoft, which should be barred for all eternity from handling election data.

I like the caucus system because it forces voters to take a bit more effort and participate in actual candidate selection, versus a drive-by early vote on the way to Wendy’s. But if caucuses are like the one held Monday in Iowa, let’s stick to primaries and let the state and county election officials, who know their ass from a hole in the ground (generally at least), deal with the results.

*Decision Desk called the GOP race at 9:41 p.m., nearly an hour before anyone else. Check them out for the NH primary. I volunteer for them, so my gushing is really based on believing in the project, not financial gain.

The Iowa Caucuses (And Iowa’s Relevance) Are Dead

The Iowa caucuses are finit. Dead. Never to rise again. And with them, probably Iowa too.

The first hammer blow was last summer, when the Iowa Straw Poll was cancelled because it conflicted with the RedState Gathering. Actually Erick went to great lengths to deconflict the events, but Iowa snubbed him and scheduled theirs for the same weekend. Then they ended up cancelling because the candidates all wanted to be in Georgia.

And now, nobody is happy after the last Iowa caucus—well, nobody except Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

Donald Trump went–as expected–completely orbital in calling for invalidating the entire affair, accusing Cruz of fraud.

I’m sure this will keep the media in frenzy for at least one or two news cycles. And Bernie Sanders refused to concede the caucus to Hillary, because the Democrats purposely hid their vote counts to hand the race to her. Yes, the Iowa caucus 2016, despite having the highest turnout in history, was an unmitigated catastrophe.

Earlier in the day, Sanders called on the Iowa Democratic Party to release the raw vote total of caucus-goers who supported each candidate. The party only reports how many delegates each candidates won, which is determined by a complex mathematical formula, not raw support. It’s theoretically possible for a candidate to have more supporters but lose on delegates, which are what helps determine who gets the nomination.

The Democratic Party quickly batted down the idea of releasing the raw vote. “The Iowa Democratic Caucuses are not a primary – candidates are awarded delegates, not raw votes. In fact, because of our realignment process, raw vote totals are not recorded. As we have always done, and as we have always told the campaigns we would do, we have released state delegate equivalents earned by each candidate,” Iowa Democratic Party spokesperson Sam Lau said in a statement to MSNBC.

So besides the award of a few delegates, the repudiation of bowing to King Corn, and the spectacle of Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee bowing before Zod, Iowa has self-vaporized like matter meeting antimatter in an instantaneous and permanent release of energy.

Even worse, the famous Selzer/Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll was disastrously wrong, as it tends to be, leaving the pundits to always explain exactly how and why it was so wrong. It’s like watching the same accident tape over and over again and having to explain why the driver was texting while driving the wrong way on the Interstate and how that’s a bad idea.

On caucus night, the unprecedented turnout (about half again as many as showed up in 2012) included a show-rate for evangelicals of 64% in the CNN entrance poll, which was beyond anything in recent memory and what anyone might have speculated, I would guess. Obviously, had we tested that scenario, we would have seen a Cruz victory. We knew Cruz had invested in an aggressive get-out-the-vote effort, with door-knockers and phone-bankers making tens of thousands of late-race contacts. This is probably the biggest reason Cruz prevailed.

Obviously.

Beyond the Iowa Straw Poll and the Iowa caucuses, a state with a fairly homogenous voter base, a one-issue industry (corn) towering above the rest, and a penchant for twisty endings, probably doesn’t need to be the bellwether of election predictions and momentum in America. Of course, if you live in Iowa, you probably disagree.

But the networks and parties will probably keep the dead caucuses around for an infinity of elections because they love surprises, and as Selzer notes, “The caucuses are, after all, designed for surprising twists.”

Drop Out Bingo: Iowa Edition

Back in early January, I made a prediction about the Iowa contest.

But one interesting fact is that Iowa is actually a good predictor of who might win the nomination in the next contested election. Bush 41 won it in 1980 and became the nominee in 1988. Bob Dole won in 1988 and became the nominee in 1996. And Huckabee won in 2008, setting himself up for 2012, but didn’t run. Erick predicted (for different reasons) that Huckabee would have been the 2012 nominee had he run. Winning Iowa is important to Cruz, who has several more runs at the White House left in him. For Trump, it’s all or nothing.  Either way, the only candidates who might exit the race after Iowa are ones who don’t matter at this point.

Prediction: After Iowa, Huckabee will exit gracefully. Santorum should join him, but probably won’t. Paul should also go, but he’ll stay in.

There you have it. Huckabee exited, albeit not so gracefully after kneeling before Zod (apologies to Erick but that was too good to not use). Santorum hasn’t announced–he should, but my guess is he won’t for some reason known only to him and the 1,727 voters who joined him in Iowa.

Gilmore will forever be famous for receiving less votes (12) than “other” (148). Everyone under 2 percent should consider their chances to be somewhere between astronomically small and asymptotic to zero. In other words: Slim, fat and none, and Slim went to breakfast.

That includes Fiorina, Kasich, and Christie. But they’ll all likely stay in for New Hampshire, where Kasich has essentially lived for months, earning the endorsement of every liberal within 100 miles. Christie received the coveted Union Leader endorsement. We will probably have to wait until Feb. 10 for any of these to leave the race.

As for Ted Cruz, he’s proved his mettle against the bête noire of the conservative movement. It would be nice to see some alignment of lower-end candidates behind Cruz, but that’s probably asking too much.

After Seemingly 87 Years of Foreplay, Campaign 2016 Gets Ready for Political Netflix and Chill

It seems like it has been over eighty-seven years since the heavy petting began between candidates and voters. The dating has seemingly been longer and more expensive than prior Presidential campaigns.

Today in Iowa, the first votes finally begin for Campaign 2016. This does not bring about the end of Campaign 2016, but the actual beginning when voters have their say. Tonight, at 7pm CT, voters for both parties will enter caucus rooms with other voters, hear pitches from candidates, then vote. Republicans will do it by a closed ballot and Democrats by an open ballot.

Iowa tends to throw curveballs. The polling tends to be wrong. In fact, Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012 were surprises. For the Democrats, Howard Dean’s collapse in favor of John Kerry was a surprise and Barack Obama’s win in 2008 was not something people saw coming till the end.

The polling out of Iowa tends to be less accurate because caucuses tend to be more involved. There is no floating in and out of the polls on caucus day. Instead, voters show up at night. They must be in the room by 7pm CT and the doors are closed. The caucuses can take an hour or longer. Voters need to arrange childcare, they may worry about the weather, and they may need drivers too.

Most of the campaigns rent out 15 passenger vans and coordinate logistics to drive their voters to the caucuses and get them safely home. Snow is going to be a factor on Monday, though right now forecasts project the snow will come late and the temperature will stay above freezing.

By midnight eastern time, if all goes according plan, we will know who has won Iowa. I suspect we are in for a few surprises in outcome, but I predict Ted Cruz wins given his ground game operation.