By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. Wednesday’s look back at what appeared a year ago in NRL News Today reminds us that occasionally—not often but occasionally—Big Media actually practices journalism when reporting on Planned Parenthood.
In addition to being very pro-abortion and very liberal, what does the Washington Post Fact checker and Slate magazine have in common?
They actually practiced journalism when investigating some of Planned Parenthood’s most egregious lies, falsehoods, and misrepresentation.
In WaPo’s case, “For Planned Parenthood abortion stats, ‘3 percent’ and ’94 percent’ are both misleading.” Slate headlined their debunking, “The Most Meaningless Abortion Statistic Ever.”
So, in light of that, how does USA Today’s fact checker come up with this dozy? In investigating a 2019 post, Haley BeMiller concedes, yes, “Planned Parenthood is still the largest provider of abortions in the United States,” but “to call it an abortion business is a stretch, as the organization provides other services far more often.”
This description is “partly false” –aka “an exaggeration”—because, she writes, “to call Planned Parenthood an abortion business, when abortions make up a small portion of the services offered.” *
In truth, PPFA has retreated in a serious way from providing real medical services at the same time they pursue abortion with a single-minded (and lucrative) fanaticism. There is no debate over this—you find it by simply comparing Planned Parenthood’s annual reports.
Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, NRL’s Director of Education & Research, has plowed this territory—abortion is such a “small” fraction of what PPFA does—a dozen times. Here are just a few of many, many points that could be made in rebuttal to Ms. BeMiller’s conclusion.
In analyzing Planned Parenthood’s 2018-2019 annual report, Dr. O’Bannon wrote
Every time someone challenges their mission or (especially) funding, Planned Parenthood likes to talk about all the lives they potentially save providing cancer screenings. But the number of those services has fallen every year since at least 2005.
At one time, over two million a year (2,011,637 in 2005), all Planned Parenthood’s “cancer screenings and prevention” services barely totaled half a million (566,186) in 2018. This represents a whopping fall of more than 71.8% in just 14 years!
And those are just simple things such Pap smears and manual breast exams. Despite what you may have heard, Planned Parenthood does not and has never provided mammograms.
What about contraception, Planned Parenthood’s “signature product”? That “continued to decline for the sixth year in a row,” Dr. O’Bannon explains. “At 2,556,413 in 2018, birth control services are down nearly 36% of what they were just twelve years earlier.”
Abortions? More and more and more, which is pivotal to the bottom line of this $1.6 billion “non-profit.” In their latest annual report, they tell us that PPFA performed 345,672 abortions—over 40% of all abortions—a remarkable figure when you consider that the number of abortions has been thankfully declining for years to under 900,000, according to Guttmacher.
Moreover, as Dr. O’Bannon wrote, “Though the number of Planned Parenthood clinics offering surgical abortions declined in the past ten years, more and more of those surgical clinics that remain are offering later abortions. In 2010 just under half, 80, advertised that they performed abortions at 14 weeks gestations, but in 2020, 110, more than two thirds, said they do so.”
We could go on and on to demonstrate why the slogan, “When you think Planned Parenthood, think abortion,” is so accurate. But perhaps the best observation comes from Dr. Leana Wen who was sacked by PPFA after less than one year into her presidency for insufficient abortion militancy. She tweeted
First, our core mission is providing, protecting and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care.”
*The first half of her post has to do with Planned Parenthood’s state and federal funding, which is a separate question which we’ll assume she just misunderstands. But that’s a topic for another day.