The NDSU Planned Parenthood Partnership Hides Bias

Warren Albrecht | @drw_albrecht

North Dakota State University (NDSU) has a partnership with Planned Parenthood to provide classes with college credit using federal dollars and paying PP to provide instructor and class outline. North Dakota (ND) is one of a few states with an abortion clinic but no Planned Parenthood (PP) clinics. To some, this is an innocent agreement between two entities.

If you understand the abortion research game, you understand this partnership conceals the proliferation of biased propaganda. To understand the game you must know how Planned parenthood places the pieces on the board to win the narrative, and how NDSU is just one of those pieces.

NDSU as a Planned Parenthood Tool

North Dakota destroys the narrative that without Planned Parenthood, women’s health would be worse than otherwise; the state currently has no Planned Parenthood clinics, yet the quality of women’s healthcare is still very high. If PP can influence information distribution within the state, possible research and public opinion, then the opening of a PP clinic would be an obvious outcome.

NDSU received about $250,000 in federal dollars in 2017. It gave PP $165,000 including $1,000 for Safe Spaces Classes.

In a letter to concerned North Dakota legislators, NDSU President Dean Bresciani wrote,

The goal of the programs targeting youth in North Dakota is to provide medically accurate, culturally responsive, evidence-based sexuality education and adulthood preparation instruction grounded in healthy youth development to diverse, high-risk vulnerable youth.”

In a Bismarck Tribune article, Bresciani continues,

If we attempted to control research, particularly in response to political pressure, then NDSU could be violating accreditation standards, which require academic freedom and political autonomy…”

But North Dakota legislators worry, “This isn’t research; this is outreach!”

The Planned Parenthood Research Game

While reading an Atlantic article pertaining to the Trump Administration’s decisions on Title X, I noticed that the narrative is that Planned Parenthood will close its doors without Title X funding and women will suffer.  Could it be too much competition, mismanagement or the sign of the times?

It uses a reference to a Kaiser Foundation article which in turn uses mostly references from the Kaiser or Guttmacher Institutes. These two foundations routinely support government programs and the abortion industry. Within the Atlantic article, it points to a “Federal Requirement” that “States must allow “any willing provider” to participate in the Medicaid program”, And stating correctly that this provision is not specific to family planning, the policy means that states cannot bar providers from the program simply because they provide abortion services.”

States in a Jam

But this “Federal Requirement” is a decision letter similar to the Trump administration’s own recent Title X rule. It is from the then Director of CMS for Medicaid under Obama, Vikki Wachino. In this letter, she clarifies the “free choice of provider” after several paragraphs of government “speak” about proper providers who can be chosen by Medicaid participants. A state cannot “deny qualification”, “solely because they separately provide family planning services or the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care, including abortion services.”

The article does put in parenthesis that federal dollars would not fund abortions. Therefore, this says to states: do not take money away from Planned Parenthood or there will be consequences. Reuters and Planned Parenthood had the same interpretation on the letter, saying, “The letter made it “abundantly clear that recent efforts to prevent patients who rely on Medicaid from coming to Planned Parenthood or other providers for essential preventative services are illegal”.

Vikki Wachino, who sent the letter to clarify the fact that it was illegal to defund Planned Parenthood, previously worked for The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.

Pieces of the Game

The Atlantic article quotes a Kaiser foundation article using the Wachino letter as documentation; this is not law but a letter of clarification. When a Title X rule allows family planning clinics to discuss or refer patients for abortion, then it is a federal law. If not, then it is a rule.

Abortion type articles will use the same organizations of expertise like Kaiser. The Kaiser article does have a reference to an article from The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

Planned Parenthood Bias in Medical Literature

The NEJM found that the exclusion of Planned Parenthood from the state-funded program for family planning funding affected low-income women adversely. The authors say that from one year to another, data shows a decrease in the number of women getting birth control in the small number of counties Planned Parenthood has clinics (PP) versus counties without planned parenthood (WPP) (my labeling for ease). Therefore, without Planned Parenthood, women are worse off, according to the findings.

I looked at this data. There are ten times as many WWP counties as PP ones, therefore almost ten times the land coverage. They studied 300,000 fewer women in the WPP counties, despite having the same number of women without insurance. The WWP counties had a greater number of family planning clinics and handed out more birth control. There are many variables in this NEJM article which would undo the Kaiser foundation conclusion. Could it be skewed, the interpretation biased?

The Susan T. Buffett Foundation

The research for the NEJM article was funded by the Susan T. Buffett Foundation. Susan Buffett, Warren’s wife, who died in 2004, was the former president. Some insight is present in this Inside Philanthropy article.

The foundation focused mainly on the couple’s shared concerns about reproductive rights and population control. Big gifts were made annually to a relatively small number of groups, including Planned Parenthood and International Projects Assistance Services.

Tracy Weitz is the “domestic” director for the foundation She has worked for Planned Parenthood and from the University of California in San Francisco. Information in the same article includes the following:

Dr. Weitz’s passion is for those aspects of women’s health which are marginalized either for ideological reasons or because the populations affected lack the means or mechanisms to have their concerns raised. Her current research focuses on innovative strategies to expand abortion provision in the U.S. Included in her research portfolio is a demonstration project of the use of nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants as providers of abortion care in California, several studies of abortion regulation, and a national strategic plan to secure access to later abortion care

David Callahan, who wrote the article, has no right-leaning or pro-life articles at this site. He does say in the article about Tracy Weitz,

Sounds like the right person to be heading up STBF’s domestic work, which has long taken the foundation into the heart of the abortion battle.

So a strong abortion advocate organization funded the NEJM article. The real data supports the fact that North Dakota does not need a PP clinic. Local healthcare clinics do just fine.

The Guttmacher

Many have called the Guttmacher Institute (GI) the backbone of the reproductive health community. The Guttmacher Institute formed in 1968 as the Center for Family Planning Program Development. The Center was originally part of the corporate structure of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA).

With the formation of the institute, Planned Parenthood now had a research arm. Then studies, data and numbers, and information about aspects of abortion and family planning would release and appear substantiated. This supports the process of fundraising and obtaining federal funding. Dr. Alan Guttmacher formed this bond. His credentials include former president of Planned Parenthood and vice president of the American Eugenics Society.

Givin the world view of the population exploitation, Guttmacher equated the threat of over-population with the nuclear threat and stressed that the problem is assuming such proportions that governments may have to act officially to limit families. “It may be taken out of the voluntary category,” Dr. Guttmacher said.

A Questionable Institution

The GI gets accolades from many.

The Institute is one of the few non-university organizations to receive a grant from the prestigious Population Center program and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In the US, the Institute has been the sole source of complete data on abortion since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 and regularly produces data on unintended pregnancy at the national and state levels.

Think about that statement “ the sole source of complete data on abortion”. From all the governmental offices and departments, including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Population Affairs, which oversees Title X specifically to research population statistics, the United States government asks the Guttmacher for information help: the one institute that Planned Parenthood formed and funded and got support from eugenicists and overpopulation theorists. The Guttmacher is now a self-sustaining entity with revenue of around $62 million. When the United States Congressional Budget Office needs information, where does it turn? The Guttmacher Institute.

Evidence from the Guttmacher Institute helped to get the NDSU Planned Parenthood grant.

Garbage In Is Garbage Out

There is a saying for research, bad information into research will give bad interpretations.  Data and numbers do not have to be false, but findings are just created using bad information. Several articles support this and raise the eyebrow to the data. FiveThirtyEight discusses the difficulty of the numbers the CDC and GI use. The Washington Post has had two articles; they explain what problems form if the numbers are not accurate and the fact that media relies heavily on the results.

The Federalist writes an excellent article detailing a data error. One of the issues is the way the CDC defines unintentional pregnancies. From a small change in data, this article shows the narrative of the GI is really something else.

“The media stories should be “unintended pregnancy rates for poor women finally dropping to where they were in the ‘90s, before things got really bad in 2001,” and “more competition needed among providers of healthcare for poor women,” not “unintended pregnancies are finally dropping because our liberal policies are working.”

NDSU President Dean Bresciani is concerned about the image of restricting research and accreditation at NDSU. Planned Parenthood provides nothing short of bias in all of its research.

Trust No Abortion Research

Methodology is the way scientists collect data to use for research. The GI does not use any hard numbers. Honestly, since 1970, the Office of Population Affairs has not kept any. It uses the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG).

The NSFG is just numbers from a questionnaire. In the 1915-1917 cycle, they interviewed 10,094 people between the ages of 15-44. They each earned $40, which is against true ethical research. Only 5,554 were women; the rest were men. The response rate overall was 66.7%. Over 30% did not completely respond. The teenager response rate (ages 15-17) was 65.6%.

The variables are limitless to shoot holes in any results from this data. A survey similar to this helped NDSU obtain the federal dollars to support Planned Parenthood.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

The National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) is jointly planned and funded by the Office of Population Affairs and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. For a child health organization, they help fund contraception research like the HER Salt Lake Initiative and Dr. David Turok, MD, MPH. This initiative has major sponsors including the University of Utah and Planned Parenthood of Utah. ClinicalTrials.gov lists the ages of the trial at 16-45. The number of children in the study under the age of 18 is unknown. Essentially, a child health organization funds research not knowing how many children participating.

Another article specifically supports the narrative that established or new family practice organizations can’t do the job of Planned Parenthood. Both the Susan T. Buffett Foundation and the Eunice Shriver Institute supported this. This is the exact outreach Planned Parenthood is using in North Dakota. As a so-called independent organization, they use federal dollars to fund their program and use NDSU as a cover.

North Dakota as a Game Piece

People from the Democratic Presidential candidates to the mainstream media talking heads use particular terms and particular organizations as experts to fabricate a narrative when it comes to abortion. This NDSU  Planned Parenthood partnership is another chess piece in the game of abortion “research”.

You would actually need evidenced-based medically accurate data from the state of North Dakota to know whether hundreds of thousands of dollars are actually going to benefit vulnerable youth in the state. But the NDSU Planned Parenthood partnership will be happy to provide North Dakota with all the numbers the narrative needs.


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