As the 2012 budget battles began, Clare Coleman, CEO of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, took to the pages of the Washington Post. In a piece called “Five Myths about Planned Parenthood,” she argued that defunding the organization was an ignoble goal for members of Congress looking to cut the bloated federal budget.
She said she wanted to address “misperceptions” about the abortion-industry giant. She was joined in her goal on the front page of the Washington Post by reporter Sandhya Somashekhar, who painted a picture of Planned Parenthood that minimized the role abortion plays at the organization’s health-care affiliates.
In presenting Planned Parenthood as mainly focused on prevention, Ms. Coleman neglects to mention several statistics, gleaned from the organization’s own annual reports and fact sheets, that illustrate its heavy (and increasing) involvement in abortion, as well as its practices that routinely place women’s health and safety secondary to its own bottom line.
While the Washington Post declined to present an alternative to the Planned Parenthood way of thinking, there are a multitude of other facts to consider. To add to the discussion of whether Planned Parenthood should continue to be funded, let’s consider five truths about an industry that receives more than $360 million in taxpayer subsidies annually.
1. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider, performing (and profiting from) one out of every four abortions in the United States.
In 2009, abortion was a “service” that Planned Parenthood provided to 12 percent of its patients overall, and to 97.6 percent of its patients who reported themselves pregnant. It performed 332,278 abortions in that one year alone. That is an average of 910 abortions each and every day.
Since the average cost of an early surgical abortion was $451 (according to the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s former “special affiliate”), abortion accounted for approximately 37 percent of Planned Parenthood’s health-care-center income in 2009. And that figure — nearly $150 million in revenue from abortion — is a low estimate, considering that Planned Parenthood also performs later and more expensive abortions.
In terms of time, money, and unduplicated patients — rather than the bloated “services” rhetoric — abortion contributes significantly more than the 3 percent Ms. Coleman implies to Planned Parenthood’s bottom line.
2. Planned Parenthood increases its abortion numbers with each passing year, bucking the nearly 20-year national trend of a decreasing abortion rate.
Today, Planned Parenthood performs nearly double the number of abortions it did in 1999. And over the last twelve years — during which the amount of taxpayer funding Planned Parenthood receives has, coincidentally, also doubled — it has dramatically reduced the other pregnancy-related services it provides. In 2009, Planned Parenthood made referrals for only 997 adoptions, in contrast to the 2,999 referrals it made in 1999. Similarly, Planned Parenthood’s clients for prenatal care dropped from 18,878 to only 7,021.
Abby Johnson, the former director of Planned Parenthood’s clinic in Bryan, Texas, reports that, in 2009, her clinic was given an increased abortion quota in order to raise revenue. (According to Mrs. Johnson, “the assigned budget always included a line for client goals under abortion services.”) Mrs. Johnson has said that her superiors gave her “the clear and distinct understanding that I was to get my priorities straight, that abortion was where my priorities needed to be because that’s where the revenue was.”
The latest annual report for the affiliate Ms. Coleman headed before she assumed her current post, Planned Parenthood of Mid-Hudson Valley (PPMHV), seems to corroborate Mrs. Johnson’s claim that Planned Parenthood is increasing abortion services with an eye toward increased revenue. PPMHV is relocating its consolidated clinics to open larger and more “modern” facilities, which, notably, have “the addition of surgical abortion services.” The PPMHV report “anticipates” that these new centers will lead to “increasing our revenue and sustainability.”
Planned Parenthood’s new use of Skype to dispense abortion-inducing drugs and its mandate that all affiliates provide abortion services by 2013 also indicate that the organization wants its abortion-increasing trend to continue.