The Problem with Planned Parenthood

By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRL-ETF Director of Education & Research

PPFAlogoWhy do so many people, in and out of office, have a problem with Planned Parenthood? Why do pro-life legislators both in Congress and in various states want to cut off public funds from Planned Parenthood?

Planned Parenthood talks as if these efforts are all about opposition to contraception or attacks on “women’s health care,” yet nothing in these bills would curtail any of these programs.  No, the key issue in these bills and in the hearts and minds of so many taxpayers, men and women, is Planned Parenthood’s relentless promotion and performance of abortion.

Though they soft pedal it and don’t often come right out and say it, abortion is at the very core of who Planned Parenthood is and what it does.  And all the evidence indicates that an absolute commitment to abortion is one the group considers non-negotiable.

Planned Parenthood likes to say that abortion represents only 3% of its total services, but this relies on a very sketchy mathematics that counts every box of condoms, every packet of birth control pills, every pregnancy test, every test for STDs (or STIs as they now call them, for sexually transmitted infections) as a separate service.  But to see how dear abortion really is to Planned Parenthood and its bottom line, let’s look at the data in terms of this four-part test: clients, revenues, organization and agenda.

Planned Parenthood performed 333,964 abortions in 2011, an all-time record. That is easily a quarter of all abortions performed in the U.S. and if recent national trends hold, could already be approaching 30%. In this regard, Planned Parenthood is without peer: it is easily the nation’s largest abortion chain and the biggest player in the abortion industry.

We already know, from their own statistics, that 11% of the clients walking through PPFA’s door obtain abortion.  It is virtually certain that a significant additional percentage visited Planned Parenthood because they feared they were pregnant and were considering abortion.

An abortion brings in a lot more money than a packet of birth control pills or a pregnancy test.  At going rates for a standard surgical abortion at 10 weeks, the 333,964 abortions performed in 2011 represented about $150.6 million.   That could hardly be called a minor sideline of the business.

This explains why the organization mandated that every affiliate have at least one abortion performing clinic by the end of 2012 and why so many of its “health centers” have been adding chemical abortions to their offerings.  It explains why so many of their centers that do not perform abortions have been closed.   It also explains why so many affiliates have been building giant new abortion-performing megaclinics and why organizations all over the country are looking at the “web-cam abortion” model being pioneered by Planned Parenthood’s massive PP of the Heartland affiliate.

This unyielding devotion to expanding the number of abortions also explains why Planned Parenthood spends millions every year lobbying federal and state legislatures to support pro-abortion legislation and oppose pro-life legislation, and millions more fighting pro-life legislation in the courts, and why their political arm spends yet millions more trying to elect defenders of abortion to political office.

The organization took in nearly $1.2 billion in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012. $542.4 million (45%) came in “Government Health Services Grants and Reimbursements.” 

Thanks to the Hyde amendment, federal funds under Medicaid cannot be used to pay for elective abortions or elective-abortion covering insurance. However, about a third of the states do fund such abortions for Medicaid eligible women, so a considerable portion of this more than half a billion dollars are funds going from taxpayer pockets to abortion.

Planned Parenthood would have the public believe that women’s health and breast exams and cancer screenings is what PPFA is really all about. We are told over and over that abortion isn’t that big a part of the business. But nothing could be further from the truth.

If Planned Parenthood continues on its present course—the nation’s largest abortion provider which kills a third of a million unborn babies every year, relentlessly expands its abortion operations, defends abortion in the courts, and pushes unceasingly for more public funding of abortion–even those who’ve previously bought the spin will have to acknowledge where Planned Parenthood’s priorities really lie.

And that’s the problem with Planned Parenthood.          

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