Virginia Pastors Take on Planned Parenthood

Group calls abortion provider "unethical, immoral and racist"

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    A group of pastors in Virginia has launched a new campaign against Planned Parenthood.

     

    Some of Virginia's most influential Christian leaders have launched a new campaign against Planned Parenthood.

     

    The Virginia Christian Aliiance is asking Gov. Bob McDonnell to block state funding for the nonprofit because it provides abortions.

    The alliance has presented a petition signed by the Rev. Pat Robertson, the Rev. Jonathan Falwell and dozens of other pastors. It cites what they call the "unethical, immoral and racist practices" of Planned Parenthood, which is the nation's No. 1 abortion provider.

    "Today, this African American pastor is declaring war against Planned Parenthood," said the Rev. Joe Ellison, vice president of the Council on Biblical Principles.

    There are conflicting numbers about how much state funding Planned Parenthood receives.

    According to Del. Robert Marshall, one of the General Assembly's strongest pro-life supporters, Planned Parenthood receives $500,000 a year from the Commonwealth. However, he couldn't say how he came up with that number.

    Planned Parenthood is telling a different story. Lobbyist Jessica Honke says the only state dollars the group recieves is from Medicaid reimbursements for about 1,000 women who receive gynecological care and family planning services.

    Craig Markva, a spokesman for the state Department of Medical Assistance Services, said Virginia Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood from July 1, 2008, through June 31, 2009, totaled $35,006.

    In addition, the state Department of Health had a contract with Planned Parenthood to provide HIV prevention services in juvenile detention centers, for which the organization received more than $28,000 over that same time period, according to former Secretary of Health and Human Resources Secretary Marilyn Tavenner's Jan. 7 response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Family Foundation and provided to The Associated Press.