My colleagues over at Americans United For Life released a very thorough report yesterday providing a glut of information about Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the nation's largest abortion provider. I most highly encourage anyone interested in protecting life to take the time to read through this report.

It might seem a bit daunting at 174 pages, but the actual report is really only the first 31 pages, followed by a number of wonderful appendices, including Planned Parenthood's financial statements from 1988-present, PPFA's service reports from this same period of time, lawsuits against the abortion giant, and more. The report also gives excellent information on Medicaid fraud and how this relates to PPFA.

For any concerned citizen who really wants to do their part in defunding the abortion giant, I encourage them to read this new report in conjunction with a few paragraphs from our own FRC brochure, "Planned Parenthood--What Every Parent, Teacher, Woman, Community Leader and Elected Official Needs to Know."

"It is very likely that your local Planned Parenthood receives federal, state and/or local government funding. We are frequently asked by people who want to protect their children and the unborn what they can do to combat the Planned Parenthood message in their community. While every situation is unique, we would suggest the following steps.

a. Information Gathering. Do you have a local affiliate? A simple internet search will reveal any local Planned Parenthood affiliate. Find out its name and the leaders of the organization so that you are more aware of their local influence and whether they are on the local school board, hold public office, own businesses, etc. Not all Planned Parenthood affiliates perform abortions. Some offer only medical abortion (RU-486), others might also perform suction aspiration abortions, and dilation and evacuation (D & E) abortions. Some might refer patients to abortion clinics in the area. If they dont perform abortions, find out where they refer patients to. Ask if they perform abortions every day of the week. In some instances doctors fly in from out of state and abortions are performed only once a week. The more information you can find out, the better. It isnt difficult to obtain this information.

b. Funding. You have many options to learn more about your local affiliates funding. Knowledge is power. The more you know, the more you can do something to protect life. A good place to start is with your states health department. You can look on their website to see what family planning services and groups are funded through the state and find out which perform abortions.

i. As previously indicated, we suggest looking at federal funding streams to learn more about Planned Parenthood finances, as well. One good source is the previously listed site for HHS grants. You can also look through the HHS Family Planning Database to find who is a recipient of Title X (family planning project) funding in your state or local area. http://www.opaclearinghouse.org/db_search.asp.

ii. IRS 990 tax forms are public information, and can be relatively easily accessed. Request your local affiliates 990 form to see how much money they have made, where it is coming from, how much they invest, etc. Another way of accessing this information is through Guidestar. http://www2.guidestar.org/

iii. Check city, county and state budgets. In situations where grant or contract recipients are not listed, we strongly encourage you to ask and keep asking until you obtain a listing of the actual names of the groups providing the services mentioned in this booklet.

c. Familiarize yourself with and befriend city council members and state legislators to identify pro-life champions. Be active in your community. Networking, being knowledgeable about the groups in your local area, and having relationships with leaders in your community is critical in this process. One citizen was actively involved in a local coalition of health organizations, of which Planned Parenthood was a part. She knew that the coalition received significant county funding, but was unable to ascertain if Planned Parenthood was receiving part of that money. After seeing the annual report and finding the recipients were not listed, she began asking more questions of her local elected officials. At this point, having a friend who was equally concerned and had a relationship with a local elected official was important and helpful. In the end, she learned that Planned Parenthood was receiving a significant amount of county funding and helped to ensure that it was ultimately defunded.

d. Legislation. Call upon your state and local elected officials to pass legislation that will protect life and force transparency for Planned Parenthood. Americans United for Life have a variety of draft legislation here.

e. Sonogram. Offering free sonograms across the street from abortion clinics has sometimes led to their eventual closing. Sonograms are a wonderful tool in promoting the truth about the dignity of the unborn. Click here for more information. The provision of sonograms constitutes the practice of medicine and should always be used under the direction and supervision of a licensed physician. For more information on the provision of sonograms click here.

Pray and peacefully protest outside of your local Planned Parenthood. In the words of former Planned Parenthood director, Abby Johnson, Having a vigil outside an abortion clinic is vital...having people out there...praying, pricks the conscience of everyone walking in. Any time you brought a member of the clergy that was particularly effective."