Planned Parenthood affiliate in Vermont netted millions thru Paycheck Protection Program

Small Business Administration, lawmakers say affiliates don’t qualify for program meant to help struggling small businesses, they want $$ returned

By Guy Page

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) has received between $2 million and $5 million through the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to Small Business Administration data released by the Trump administration yesterday. 

An SBA spreadsheet shows a PPP payment to PPNNE within the $2-5 million range was deposited into People’s United Bank on April 5. The SBA does not provide exact dollar amounts, but uses ranges (including $2-5 million) instead. 

The Small Business Administration, the Trump administration, and many Republican members of Congress want the money granted to PPNNE and other Planned Parenthood affiliates returned. PPP regulations were established to help small businesses coping with pandemic-related revenue challenges and exclude funding for affiliates of national organizations. PPNNE states on its website it is an affiliate of the national Planned Parenthood Federation of America: “Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) is a three-state Planned Parenthood affiliate.” 

Many health care providers receiving PPP funds were required to stop operations during the pandemic. Elective surgeries ground to a halt. But abortions were permitted to continue by the State of Vermont. The PPNNE website claims, “We know that your sexual and reproductive health care can’t wait. That’s why we remain open.” Planned Parenthood performed abortions without regulatory interruption throughout the pandemic. 

A May 19 letter from the Small Business Administration to the Washington D.C. Planned Parenthood affiliate states it “is ineligible for a Paycheck Protection loan under the applicable affiliation rules.” It describes in detail the national organization’s ongoing certification and oversight process. Yet by then Planned Parenthood affiliates, including PPNNE, had already applied for and received the money. They won’t give it back. They argue that they have their own leadership and fundraising efforts, and thus are sufficiently independent from the national organization. 

When contacted by Vermont Daily in May, PPNNE leader Lucy Leriche would not say whether her organization had received PPP funding. Further efforts to contact her were not returned. Nationwide, PP and its affiliates received an estimated $150 million of all Paycheck Protection Program funding, which totals $670 billion.