By Dave Andrusko
After his research, Politifact Wisconsin’s Dave Umhoefer concludes the assertion that “Planned Parenthood is the biggest abortion provider in the country” is “one of those truisms that is basically, well, True.”
I suppose I shouldn’t start out by grousing about the “basically” true conclusion, so I’ll just let it ride so as to detail what’s very useful in Umhoefer’s post.
BTW, Politifact Wisconsin describes itself as being “in partnership with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,” a publication that is relentlessly pro-abortion.
The setting was a statement by Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wi.) made at an April 30 town hall meeting in which he defended defunding Planned Parenthood. Among other things he said (according to Umhoefer) is, “Planned Parenthood is the biggest abortion provider in the country.”
Umhoefer starts out by stating (as if it were in question) that PPFA does things other than perform abortions–“323,999 for the year ending September 30, 2015.”
But consider the takeaway from this sentence: “[I]n a one-year period from 2014 to 2015, 87 percent of patients visited Planned Parenthood clinics for services other than abortion.”
Which means, as NRLC has explained countless times, one in eight “patients” (almost all of whom are women) come to PPFA for an abortion. It’s not part of this particular question, but Umhoefer could have mentioned (since he checked with NRLC)
* For a non-profit health care organization, Planned Parenthood seems to have a lot of spare cash lying around. In its last six annual reports spanning financials from fiscal years ending in 2010 through 2015, Planned Parenthood not only averaged over $1.2 billion a year in revenues, but had a total $505.5 million in “excess of revenue over expenses.” (Non-profits can’t technically count them as “profits,” hence the awkward description.) And
* At going rates for the most basic surgical abortion, Planned Parenthood’s revenues from 323,999 abortions would exceed $150 million. Because they also advertise and perform chemical abortions and later surgical abortions, which cost considerably more, that figure is probably a significant underestimate. Even so, at approximately $150 million, that would represent more revenue in 2014 than all that Planned Parenthood brought in (if current market rates prevail there) from reversible contraceptives , breast exams, and cervical “cancer screenings” or pap tests, and pregnancy tests combined.
Umhoefer talked with the Guttmacher Institute whom he disingenuously describes as “a research and advocacy organization whose survey-based data on abortions is widely quoted by both sides in the abortion debate.” That’s true. What is also true, and missing, is that Guttmacher is the former research arm of Planned Parenthood currently existing as a pro-abortion think-tank. But Guttmacher affirms that PPFA performed “35% of the 926,200 U.S. abortions estimated for calendar year 2014.”
Two other useful points Umhoefer made along the way.
#1. “Planned Parenthood’s abortion services grew rapidly between 2000 and 2015, rising by 127,000 procedures at a time when the total number of abortions nationwide was falling significantly.” Writing for NRL News Today, Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, NRLC’s director of Research and Education, has placed that remarkable constant in context.
He noted that between 2009 and 2014, “cancer screenings” at PPFA dropped by 2/3rds. “Revenues went up during that time from just over $1 billion dollars a year to right at $1.3 billion. Other services like contraception and prenatal care saw some decline, but one offering stayed fairly steady – abortion.”
Note: even while Planned Parenthood clinics were closing and abortions were dropping everywhere else across the U.S., the number of abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics held fairly steady, generally between 320,000 and 330,000 a year,
If cancer screenings fell because of the 179 clinics Planned Parenthood closed between 2010 and 2015, then why didn’t the number of abortions? The obvious answer would be that Planned Parenthood kept the clinics performing abortions open, but not those performing just the cancer screenings and other less profitable services.
Which brings us to
#2. “The agency operates some 660 centers across the country,” Umhoefer wrote. “About half offer abortions, according to agency spokeswoman Beth Lynk.” The number of PPFA clinics is declining as is the number of abortions; the number of non-abortion services is shrinking; yet the revenue stays the same.
Here’s Dr. O’Bannon’s question:
So what exactly are “non-profit” Planned Parenthood’s priorities? How dedicated are they to “cancer screenings” if they chose not to maintain the levels of five years ago, even with increased government funding? (FY 2010 $487.4 million vs. FY 2015 $553.7 million).
Their “priority” is, was, and always will be abortion. Which is why Rep. Grothman’s assertion is, was, and always will be true.
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