Planned Parenthood holds a central place in promoting and providing abortion. Anyone investigating the abortion issue should know some basic information about this organization. Most of the information below is from Planned Parenthood’s most recent annual report, which includes figures from 2017-2018.
How Many Abortions does Planned Parenthood Perform Each Year?
In 2017, Planned Parenthood performed 332,757 abortions. In 2016, they performed 321,384 abortions. By comparison, just 10 years before in 2007, Planned Parenthood performed 289,750 abortions. Even as the overall national abortion rate goes down, Planned Parenthood continues to perform more abortions each year.
Aren’t Abortions only a small Percentage of the Services Provided by Planned Parenthood?
While Planned Parenthood officials claim that abortions constitute only 3% percent of their services, this figure is misleading. Out of the 9.6 million individual services they provided in 2017, 332,757 were abortions—roughly 3%. A closer look at Planned Parenthood’s client and income numbers tells a different story. The 3% figure fails to account for the fact that a woman visiting Planned Parenthood for an abortion will receive several services. These include a pregnancy test, some manner of counseling, sedation (often), the abortion itself, contraception counseling, and birth control to take home. Each of these services is counted separately. In reality, of 2.4 million Planned Parenthood clients in 2017, nearly 14% got abortions.
Does Planned Parenthood Provide Safe Abortions?
Since abortion was made legal across the United States in 1973, hundreds of women have been killed as a direct consequence of abortion, many of them at Planned Parenthood facilities. Abortion clinics are not as safe as you might think.
At one Planned Parenthood alone in St. Louis alone, there have been 71 medical emergencies requiring an ambulance in the last 10 years. The most recent 911 call was on January 18, 2019. Another Planned Parenthood affiliate in Chicago called an ambulance in October 2018 for a 19 year-old patient hemorrhaging after an abortion. The call was its 9th 911 call in one year. A Planned Parenthood affiliate in New York has had nearly one dozen 911 calls since 2016. A Columbia, MO Planned Parenthood closed in fall 2018 after moldy, rusty abortion equipment was found during a health inspection. An abortion provider at a Massachusetts Planned Parenthood has been sued for wrongful death in 2017. More stories can be found here.
How is Planned Parenthood Organized?
Planned Parenthood is comprised of a national headquarters–the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA)–and 68 affiliates across the United States. Each Planned Parenthood affiliate operates local facilities in a given state or region. In all, the affiliates operate a total of over 700 individual facilities.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) operates in 12 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. According to their most recent annual report, IPPF has 164 “member associations and collaborative partners.” From their report, their main goals include expansion of contraception use and abortion access, mainstreaming gender ideology, dismantling traditional sexual norms, an championing politically liberal causes.
Finally, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund Political Action Committee (PPAF) lobbies on behalf of Planned Parenthood’s agenda in the halls of government. PPAF opposes all abortion restrictions, lobbies for funding for Planned Parenthood affiliates, and supports only 100% pro-choice candidates.
Planned Parenthood’s Money
Show Me the MoneyPlanned Parenthood’s annual report does not say how much of its revenue comes from abortions. However, abortion accounts for at least $166,000,000 of Planned Parenthood’s income. How do we figure? Let’s first consider the average cost of a first trimester abortion, since ~91% of abortions occur in the first trimester.
An abortion pill can cost up to $1,000, according to Planned Parenthood’s website. A first trimester abortion can cost up to $1,500. Costs from several Planned Parenthood affiliates in Kentucky and Indiana estimated $600 for either a medication or first trimester surgical abortion. Another source listed a national average of roughly $500 for a first trimester surgical abortion at any abortion clinic, Planned Parenthood or not. Sedation for an abortion costs extra.
Doesn’t Planned Parenthood Refer for Adoptions as well as Offering Abortion?
Planned Parenthood lists adoption referrals as one of the services they provide. Evidence from their own internal reporting reveals that adoption is a very low priority to them. In 2017, Planned Parenthood reported only one adoption referral for every 117 abortions.
Where does Planned Parenthood Stand on Abstinence Education?
Planned Parenthood actually opposes all abstinence education programs, citing their ineffectiveness. They ignore growing evidence supporting the effectiveness of a form of abstinence education called Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA). Planned Parenthood actively opposes any program endorsing the message that sex should be reserved for marriage. Through their “comprehensive sex education” programs, they insist that premarital sex, contraception, masturbation, homosexuality, and abortion must be presented are personal choices without any inherent moral character.
While Planned Parenthood prides itself on its sexually transmitted infection education, each year’s annual report shows more STI-related services than the year before. Rates of STIs amongst American young people are at an all-time high and still on the rise. Such a disconnect begs the question: when will Planned Parenthood’s approach change?
Planned Parenthood opposes laws requiring parental involvement in minor girls’ abortions, though such laws are supported by 70% of the American public. Though parental approval is required for a minor girl to get her ears pierced or take an aspirin dispensed by the school nurse, Planned Parenthood opposes any law requesting parental notification or parental consent for a minor’s abortion.
Does Planned Parenthood Shelter Child Predators?
Planned Parenthood was quick to support the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. They forgot to mention that the notorious Harvey Weinstein was a longtime Planned Parenthood supporter. Regrettably, they have also forgotten their own affiliates’ failure to report sexual abuse of underage girls who came to their clinics for abortions.
In 2018, pro life organization Live Action released a docuseries called Aiding Abusers: Exposing Planned Parenthood’s Coverup of Child Sexual Abuse. The docuseries included police and news reports, state records, court cases, testimonies of abuse victims, testimonies of former Planned Parenthood employees, and testimonies of individuals involved with sex abuse litigation. One example from the docuseries included a teenage girl raped repeatedly by her father over seven years. The father took the girl to Planned Parenthood three times during that period for abortions resulting from those rapes. Despite the girl being underage for each one, law enforcement was never contacted.
Planned Parenthood officials frequently claim that they want to reduce abortion by increasing use of contraceptives. The belief that making contraceptives widely available will unequivocally reduce abortion is unfortunately not supported by facts. Pro-choice states with increased contraception access do not have markedly lower rates of abortion than pro-choice states. Analysis of the data suggest that abortion restrictions in law have a higher correlation to abortion rates than contraception access.
Research furthermore suggests that over time among teenagers in particular, increased access to contraception correlates with increased sexual activity and eventually increased rates of pregnancy and abortions in the long term.
Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood clinic director and 2009 Employee of the Year, talks at length about the connection between contraception and abortion here.
Birth Control Backup
In a Guttmacher Institute study, over half of the women who experienced an unintended pregnancy were on birth control in the month they became pregnant. This is consistent with earlier research also done by the Guttmacher Institute.
Even with consistent, correct use of the most reliable kinds of contraception, birth control sometimes fails. And when it does, abortion advocates believe as Ann Furedi of the British Pregnany Advisory Service does, that “ Family planning is contraception and abortion. Abortion is birth control that women need when their regular method lets them down.”
Is it True that Planned Parenthood’s Founder Promoted Racist Views?
The Birth Control-Eugenics Alliance
Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, was a strong advocate of eugenics–the policy of preventing certain races, classes or groups from procreating in order to “improve” the genetic stock of society. Sanger admirer and researcher Jean H. Baker wrote in her biography Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion (2011),
Tentatively….and then wholeheartedly in the 1920s, Margaret Sanger became a fellow traveler and then a promoter of the eugenics movement. For the most part her acceptance of the movement was a calculated, pragmatic tactic. She needed allies, and eugenics- the expert qualifications of its proponents, the scientific trappings of its evidence, its expanding networks of journals and associations, its general acceptance among America, and even its international connections- represented an opportunity to find friends and join a popular movement. (p. 146)
In her 1932 “Plan for Peace,” Sanger stated that the U.S. should “keep the doors of immigration closed to the entrance of certain aliens whose condition is known to be detrimental to the stamina of the race.”
Dr Clarence Gamble (an heir to Procter & Gamble’s fortune) was medical field director of Sanger’s Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau. In 1937, with her support, Dr Gamble established voluntary sterilization clinics in Puerto Rico to decrease birthrates amongst the “unambitious and unintelligent groups.” (Ibid., p. 249)
Sanger wrote about the need to control the population of blacks and other minorities through contraception and sterilization. In 1926, Sanger spoke at a Ku Klux Klan gathering in Silver Lake, New Jersey. Sanger biographer Jean H. Baker viewed Sanger as at times a pragmatist who worked with any person or organization that would listen to her birth control crusade (including the Ku Klux Klan). On the other hand, Sanger did not hide her hatred for the Catholic Church for its opposition to contraception.
Responding to claims that Sanger was a racist, Baker wrote that “Sanger did not openly challenge southern health officers…. on their exclusion of blacks from public clinics,” (p. 251) but that she was “certainly more racially tolerant than most Americans” (p. 252) given her eventual support of integration and her invitations to African American doctors to attend her birth control meetings.
Sources: Sanger, Margaret. 1932. Plan for Peace. Birth Control Review 16, Number 4: 107-108.
Sanger, Margaret. 2004. Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography, 366-367. Kessinger Publishing.
Does Planned Parenthood Share Sanger’s Views on Race?
While Planned Parenthood today denounces racism, they continue to disproportionately target minority populations for their services. While blacks comprise only 13% of the population, 36% of women in the United States having abortions are black. As of 2010, 79% of Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinics were within walking distance of primarily African American or Hispanic neighborhoods. In fact, more blacks are killed in the womb at Planned Parenthood facilities in three days than were lynched by the Ku Klux Klan in their entire history.
Sources: Guttmacher Institute. Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html.
Zangrando, Robert L. 1991. Lynching. In The Reader’s Companion to American History, ed. John A. Garraty and Eric Foner, 684-686. Houghton Mifflin.
Is Planned Parenthood’s Image Struggling?
A 2018 New York Times article reported allegations of discrimination towards pregnant employees at Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country. Employees reported being pressured to return to work early from maternity leave, and being discouraged from taking doctor-ordered breaks at work while pregnant. One employee reported going into labor six weeks early after she was not allowed to take recommended rest periods at her Planned Parenthood job.
Planned Parenthood has also faced numerous allegations over the years of handling money badly. A 2017 review of publicly available audits suggested that Planned Parenthood affiliates overbilled Medicaid and other federally-funded family planning programs for tens of millions of dollars. In Nebraska, federal funds were illegally used to fund abortions.
Additionally, Planned Parenthood has come under fire for misrepresenting their services. Most famously, politicians and celebrities crusading for Planned Parenthood have mentioned their life-saving mammogram services. In fact, Planned Parenthood does not perform mammograms.