O'Reilly's Accidental Support For Planned Parenthood Funding

While decrying federal funding of Planned Parenthood, Fox's Bill O'Reilly wished that the women's health organization were privately financed “like Catholic charities” are -- yet federal funding is also a primary revenue source for Catholic charities.

During Fox's The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he believed the government should defund Planned Parenthood. Rather than receiving taxpayer funds, O'Reilly declared, Planned Parenthood should “be funded like Catholic charities, by individuals who believe in Planned Parenthood's mission.” O'Reilly explained that he didn't want his tax money given to organizations with which he has differing views.

O'Reilly didn't pick the best example to back up his claims. Like Planned Parenthood, Catholic charities also receive millions of dollars from the federal government. Under the Obama administration, Catholic religious charities have received more than $650 million in federal funds. And Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), a nationwide association of Catholic charities, receives over half its revenue from taxpayer money. As The New York Times detailed in December 2011:

Catholic Charities is one of the nation's most extensive social service networks, serving more than 10 million poor adults and children of many faiths across the country. It is made up of local affiliates that answer to local bishops and dioceses, but much of its revenue comes from the government. Catholic Charities affiliates received a total of nearly $2.9 billion a year from the government in 2010, about 62 percent of its annual revenue of $4.67 billion.

CCUSA's 2011 financial disclosure statement calls “government grants” a “primary” source of funding. Indeed, in a document on its website, CCUSA featured this graph showing its income sources for 2010:

CCUSA funding

During the O'Reilly Factor segment, Stephanopoulos also pointed out to O'Reilly that “a majority of the public supports the funding of Planned Parenthood.” O'Reilly denied that, saying, “I don't think they do,” though he admitted that he “could be wrong on that.”

O'Reilly is wrong. A number of polls in 2011 showed that a majority of Americans support continuing federal funding of Planned Parenthood. A Harris Interactive poll from 2011, for example, found that 55 percent of those polled believed Planned Parenthood should receive federal funds; only one-third of respondents said federal funding should be eliminated.