The Fight Against Planned Parenthood
Jameson Taylor interviews Doug Scott, president of Life Decisions International

Jameson Taylor
August 2001
Reproduced with Permission

JAMESON TAYLOR: Life Decisions International describes itself as "the only fully independent organization in the world that focuses on fighting Planned Parenthood." How was Life Decisions founded and why did you decide to devote your efforts to battling PP?

DOUG SCOTT: While I was at the Christian Action Council I began the Corporate Funding Project, which looked into how corporate America was funding the Culture of Death. When the CAC decided to get out of the public policy arena, I felt it was important that the work I had started continue. It would have been tragic if there were no challenge to the corporate funding of Planned Parenthood. What's more, since Planned Parenthood is the leading abortion advocacy organization in the world and the nation's primary abortion-committing group, I knew it was important to educate people on the empire's agenda and philosophy. So I joined with a colleague, Patricia Pitkus Bainbridge, to found Life Decisions International. That was in 1992.

TAYLOR: How did you, personally, get involved in the pro-life movement?

SCOTT: While a student at Western Washington University, I had to do a paper on a controversial subject of my choice. At the time I was "pro-choice." Since I knew how to defend that side of the issue, I had to study the pro-life position. As I did my research, it became increasingly clear to me that I was no longer able to defend intelligently the pro-abortion arguments. I received three extensions on the paper and eventually submitted a report that was much more neutral than I had originally guessed it would be. The paper still had the usual exceptions such as rape, incest, life of the mother, fetal deformity and so on. But as I continued my study of the issue, all of that changed and my pro-life position became more solidified. Not long after that, I started a student pro-life group at WWU. A short time later, I was asked to join the board of directors of the state's pro-life group and I went from there.

TAYLOR: Life Decisions is known mainly for its boycott list. Why did you decide to target PP in this manner?

SCOTT: Planned Parenthood is the only organization that both advocates for abortion and performs them. It also enjoys great public acceptance due to nationwide ignorance about its agenda and activities. No single entity does more to damage society than does Planned Parenthood. Corporations may choose to support any group they want ... but not with my money!

TAYLOR: What are PP's main sources of funding?

SCOTT: There are five primary sources: 1) corporations; 2) private foundation grants; 3) general fund-raising; 4) the government - which means our tax dollars; and 5) clinic income.

TAYLOR: Has Life Decisions undertaken any efforts to limit the federal funding of PP?

SCOTT: Many. We were the primary organization leading an effort to end Title X funding of Planned Parenthood. The organization receives nearly $50 million from that program alone. Unfortunately, two larger pro-life groups undercut our efforts and our initiative failed by a narrow margin.

TAYLOR: What is PP's relationship to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)?

SCOTT: The primary relationship is philosophical. Key leaders have worked with both groups; and I'm talking about a close relationship since they have virtually indistinguishable philosophies.

TAYLOR: PP claims to be a nonprofit organization, yet PP has a very high profit ratio. Explain for our readers the ramifications of PP's nonprofit status.

SCOTT: It would probably be helpful to give your readers a better understanding of what constitutes a nonprofit organization. As defined by the IRS, a "not for profit" organization is NOT a group that generates or brings in the same amount of money that it spends. Rather, a "not for profit" entity must put all revenues generated back into programs, or into a reserve. On the other hand, a "for profit" entity will take those same "extra" dollars - or "profit" - and give it to stockholders, corporate officers and employees. Even though it has $200 million in reserve and routinely takes in $25-$50 million extra per year, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is regarded as a "nonprofit" because it puts all that "extra" money back into either its programs or its reserve fund.

TAYLOR: As a nonprofit, PP also gets subsidies from the government for services, like pregnancy tests, that it offers. Why is that? How is it that PP is allowed to make such a large profit on its services?

SCOTT: This is possible simply because it is not recognized as a "for-profit" group. The government sees Planned Parenthood like any other entity it pays. These are not "subsidies" as much as it is "payment" for so-called services rendered.

TAYLOR: Do any pro-life groups that you know of receive similar subsidies?

SCOTT: No. None.

TAYLOR: Who are some of the most important corporate donors to PP?

SCOTT: American Express, Small Dog Electronics, American Home Products, Levi Strauss, First Union Bank, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Nationwide Insurance, Sony, Walt Disney and Wachovia. There's a start.

TAYLOR: What criteria must a company meet to be boycotted?

SCOTT: Any corporation that has funded Planned Parenthood, at any level and for any reason, within the past five years may be boycotted. However, corporate officials are given the chance to stop funding the group before ever being listed. They are also given information about Planned Parenthood. We do not track matching-gift programs as these are employee-driven rather than corporate-driven.

TAYLOR: How many companies are currently on The Boycott List?

SCOTT: Forty-eight.

TAYLOR: Were you surprised by the appearance of any of the companies on the list? Walt Disney, for instance?

SCOTT: Not at all, but many people are surprised by Johnson & Johnson. It is not widely known that the company also makes birth control pills and has a very close relationship with Planned Parenthood.

TAYLOR: How does a company get de-listed?

SCOTT: In two ways, primarily. (1) If a company does not fund Planned Parenthood for five years, it is automatically removed from The Boycott List. (2) If a company states that it will not fund Planned Parenthood in the future, it is immediately removed as a boycott target. We are very picky about the rhetoric used. We allow no room for misunderstanding or ambiguity when we deal with corporations.

TAYLOR: How many companies have been de-listed?

SCOTT: Seventy-seven, so far! We estimate that we have cost Planned Parenthood over $2 million to date.

TAYLOR: What do you consider to be your most important victory?

SCOTT: That's a tough question. AT&T was the first big victory, but General Mills and Target are probably the most important. Once corporations realize that this is not a Jesse Jackson boycott - make news for one day and raise a lot of money - they start to deal with us. We are relentless.

TAYLOR: What company is your current priority?

SCOTT: We do not have one. Every corporation is given equal priority.

TAYLOR: What other means does Life Decisions employ, besides the boycott list, to encourage responsible corporate giving?

SCOTT: At the moment, the boycott is the only project we have relating to such giving.

TAYLOR: You mention on your website that PP has recently lost a number of lawsuits. What losses are you referring to? Has Life Decisions been involved in any of these?

SCOTT: No, we are far too small to be involved in lawsuits, but I wish we had so much money that we could keep them in court forever. Our website refers to lawsuits of all kinds brought by its former customers, brought by Planned Parenthood against others, and so forth.

TAYLOR: Switching gears, could you discuss Proctor & Gamble's support for UNICEF?

SCOTT: I'd better explain that UNICEF is an agency of the United Nations that was founded after World War II to help children in war-torn Europe and China. Starting in the 1960s, however, UNICEF changed dramatically from a simple uncontroversial charity that everyone could support into an aggressive provider of contraception and even abortion. UNICEF has even destroyed the innocence of children by promoting these things in schools. Because of this and a number of high-profile corruption scandals, the United States government withdrew its financial support for UNICEF over 10 years ago. The Catholic Church and other major religious and charitable donors have dropped it as well. However, it remains very well funded. UNICEF is notorious for going to refugee camps with enormous quantities of condoms, abortion kits and other tools to stifle and destroy life, even when the people there are in desperately short supply of water, food, shelter, medicine and other tools to save life. In fact, UNICEF is so extreme that in 1974, its current chairman, then a New York senator, voted against declaring that a baby who survived an abortion and was born alive is entitled to the same care as other infants born alive.

Proctor & Gamble was donating funds to a UNICEF program every time someone purchased a specific dishwashing liquid. We objected to this practice and asked our supporters to do the same. We also exposed a similar relationship between UNICEF and CVS Pharmacy, MasterCard, and Rotary International.

TAYLOR: How do you think the introduction of RU-486 - and other technologies that make it possible for women to abort their babies in the privacy of their own homes instead of in a public place, like an abortion clinic - will affect the pro-life movement?

SCOTT: It will make it more difficult to track the killing. It will also be hard to learn who is doing the killing. But at this point, there doesn't seem to be a mad rush to embrace the deadly drug in the United States. This explains why the National Abortion Federation and Feminist Majority Foundation want to advertise RU-486.

TAYLOR: Does Life Decisions have any plans to boycott doctors or companies involved with RU-486? Or abortion, generally?

SCOTT: At the present time, our efforts are limited to Planned Parenthood. This is primarily due to limited resources. We also do not want to overwhelm pro-lifers. At the same time, this matter is always open for discussion.

TAYLOR: What is the "Prayer Project"? I note that in May you prayed for Bill Maher and in June you are praying for Billy Graham and in July for Laura Bush. Why these three people, in particular? Also, how can people join the prayer project?

SCOTT: The Prayer Project is designed to urge prayer for those who are pro-abortion or who are weak in their stated pro-life convictions. Additional information is listed in our newsletter and on our website. Bill Maher is rabidly pro-abortion. Laura Bush opposes the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Billy Graham is becoming increasingly tolerant of abortion. The more he talks, the weaker his position seems to be. In July we are praying for Pat Robertson-because of his defense of the Chinese population control policy.

TAYLOR: Life Decisions has asked other pro-family groups to join the Life Decisions-sponsored boycott of American Express. How are you working with other pro-life groups to defeat the PP agenda?

SCOTT: Unfortunately, few groups are willing to work cooperatively. Such an approach is incredibly shortsighted and demonstrates either ignorance about Planned Parenthood or an inability to see the big picture. When we do join with other groups, it is usually in spreading information. On legislation, there always seems to be one or two dominant groups that sabotage our efforts in favor of their own agendas. It's sad, but true. This is one reason why I appreciate HLI so much. HLI is interested in getting the job done, understands the big picture, and doesn't care who gets the "credit."

TAYLOR: How can pro-life groups better coordinate their efforts to defeat the Culture of Death?

SCOTT: Until ego is put aside, Satan will have his way here. "If it was not my idea, it can't be a good idea," seems to be the usual mantra. "If my group cannot benefit from an idea, it can't be a good idea," would be another. This is sad but true. Too many pro-life leaders are interested in kingdom building. I believe that successes seen by pro-life groups are largely due to the committed people in the local communities-and in spite of the "leadership." I know this sounds cynical, but Life Decisions has earned a reputation for telling the truth-even when the truth is hard to hear. I urge people to fervently pray for pro-life unity.

TAYLOR: What is your advice to pro-life activists around the United States?

SCOTT: Do what you can do. Don't do what you can't do. That's pretty simple. We need to stop making excuses for not doing more. We need to understand our gifts and use them, letting others take the lead in areas where we are not gifted. Most of all, don't get discouraged. There is little that Satan likes more than to see those created in God's image killed in the womb. Let's always stand in his way. If we fail to do so, Satan and his legions on earth will win the hearts, minds and souls of our children and grandchildren. If this isn't reason enough to be motivated, nothing is.

TAYLOR: What is the most important lesson you have learned as a longtime pro-life advocate?

SCOTT: Prayer, persistence and integrity are worth everything.

TAYLOR: What are your plans for Life Decision's future? Where do you think Life Decision will be in the next 5-10 years?

SCOTT: I hope we're out of business ... because the Lord has come again or Planned Parenthood has given up. Short of that, our only plan is to keep the pressure on Planned Parenthood and those who support its work and to educate people about Planned Parenthood's deadly agenda.