By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRL Director of Education & Research
To pro-lifers, the overturning of Roe was one of the best things that ever happened to this country. To Planned Parenthood, it was the worst.
The opening text of the inside cover of Planned Parenthood’s 2021-2022 Annual Report says it directly:
This was the year the worst happened.
We knew it was coming. We were prepared.
We had to be.
Losing the constitutional right to abortion was still heartbreaking — for patients, for providers, for the communities we serve.
But we’ve faced challenges before, and we’ve never given up. We won’t start now.
If it wasn’t clear from its plastering on the front and back covers and more than a dozen pages of the 40-page report, “RELENTLESS” is the theme of the latest Planned Parenthood annual report.
The clear message that Planned Parenthood wants to send? They’re not going anywhere. They’re not closing their clinics. They’re not altering their agenda. They’re not giving up their position as the nation’s largest abortion chain. And they’re going to continue to perform, to fight for abortion at the clinics, in the courts, in the halls of Congress, and around the globe.
Planned Parenthood affiliates performed 374,155 abortions in 2021.* In that same year, it offered prenatal services just 6,244 times. It made 1,803 adoption referrals.
The number of abortions was down slightly from the previous year’s record high of 383,460, but otherwise still high enough to make Planned Parenthood responsible for what is expected to be more than 40% of the abortions performed in the U.S.
To make Planned Parenthood’s priorities plain, that’s more than a thousand abortions a day and about sixty for every woman they gave prenatal care. More than 207 babies die from Planned Parenthood’s “services” for every mother they refer for adoption.
It isn’t just the disparity of numbers of abortions versus the numbers offered prenatal care that illustrates this unbalanced agenda. It’s the fact that prenatal care is rarely available at Planned Parenthood while abortion has been and is ubiquitous.
Planned Parenthood doesn’t tell us in this report the numbers offering each of these services, but a count from 2020 found nearly two thirds of its clinics (63% in this case) advertising abortion. (NRL News, April 10, 2020 here.)
No such numbers are available for prenatal care, but Planned Parenthood admits that “Only a small number of Planned Parenthood health centers offer the full range of prenatal care services” (www.plannedparenthood.org/blog/does-planned-parenthood-do-prenatal-care, accessed 4/27/23).
The overall number of patients increased, as well and the numbers of patients receiving contraceptives, “morning after pills,” “cancer screenings” (like Pap smears, colposcopy, breast exams – but not mammograms, which Planned Parenthood does not offer), but still not to levels regularly seen ten years ago or more. It suggests the organization is still having issues maintaining its market share for non-abortion services.
A very lucrative “non-profit”
Planned Parenthood pulled in record revenues this year, and abortion was clearly a part of that.
The organization reported nearly $2 billion in revenues this past year * – $1,906,700,000. About 35% of that, or $670.4 million, came from taxpayers, or “Government Health Services Reimbursements & Grants.” Just slightly more, 36%, or $694.9 million, came from “Private Contributions & Bequests.” All are the highest figures that have been reported in at least the past 15 years (probably ever – this only references the records we have immediately on hand).
“Non-Government Health Services Revenue” held steady at $360.9 million and “Other Operating Revenues” clocked in at $187.8 million.
Most of this money is spent on “Medical Services” at $1.0524 billion. Another $52.4 million goes to “Sex Education” and a healthy $38.6 million to “Public Policy” and another $61.6 million to “Advocacy.” Other expenses include “Health Care Support” at $107.1 million, “Engage Communities” $16.1 million, and “Research” at $2.9 million.
A lot of salaries are covered under “Management & General” at $266.1 million and “Fundraising” expenses check in at $114.1 million. There are some other smaller line items, but all told, revenues exceeded expenses at Planned Parenthood by a whopping $204.7 million.
Abortion continues to be a big money maker at Planned Parenthood. While Planned Parenthood does not quantify how much it makes from abortion in this report and does not break down here the numbers of abortion it performs by gestational weeks or the method used, it does tell us elsewhere that the average cost of chemical abortions at Planned Parenthood is about $580 and the average cost of first-trimester surgical abortions is around $600.
Even if we assumed that all abortions at Planned Parenthood were either first-trimester surgical or chemical abortions –even though we know that Planned Parenthood advertises and performs much later, more expensive abortions at many of its affiliates–at about $590 each, that still means at least $220 million in revenues a year or more!
Ready for Roe’s fall
While clearly unhappy with the fall of Roe, the organization wants people to know that “Planned Parenthood has been preparing for this moment since 2017, and had plans in place to maximize the number of patients who could get care, and to get people information they needed as access to abortion changed rapidly.”
One of the ways they say that they have done this is through “medication abortion via telehealth” – where women can skip the clinic, chat with the prescriber online or on a cellphone, and have abortion pills shipped to their homes.
The report says this is now available in 21 states and that “PPFA is focused on supporting affiliates in states with favorable policy environments to sustainably expand telehealth abortion access and increase their capacity as patients travel from states where abortion access is restricted.”
Planned Parenthood was busy in the courts, as always. “This year,” the report declares, “PPFA attorneys managed a docket of approximately 40 cases challenging abortion bans and other harmful restrictions on access to sexual and reproductive health and education.”
Before Dobbs, Planned Parenthood says it was able to block about two-thirds of these cases, keeping abortion “access” available.
Many states had “trigger laws” or laws on the books that offered protection to unborn children once the Supreme Court overruled Roe. Planned Parenthood challenged many of these (the report specifically mentions a successful challenge of Michigan’s ban), trying to prevent them from going into effect.
Abortion at Planned Parenthood after Dobbs
It doesn’t say in its report how many of its clinics stopped offering abortions after Dobbs, but it does say that they have taken steps to make sure women from states where abortion is now illegal can still go elsewhere and get them.
Without ever directly explaining precisely what this means, Planned Parenthood says “To help patients seeking abortion care in a chaotic and confusing environment, affiliates expanded patient navigation services.”
News stories from 2022 considering the impact of Texas’ “heartbeat bill” and the anticipated overturning of Roe provided a bit more detail. While the New York Times talked vaguely about “Groups offering financial and logistical support” to meet the “challenges of travel” over the “longer distances” women have to travel for abortions (NY Times, 3/6/22), Reuters spelled things out more directly. It called Planned Parenthood’s navigators “a role dedicated to helping women find abortion appointments and secure money to cover medical, travel and childcare costs” (Reuters, 6/13/22). Reuters later made clear that many of these abortion appointments are in other states.
Though also not mentioned in the report, other recent news reports show Planned Parenthood has taken steps to try to bring abortion as close as possible to women in states where the killing of unborn children is banned.
Last year, shortly after the Supreme Court announced its decision in Dobbs, Planned Parenthood Columbia-Willamette announced that they had leased office space in Ontario, Oregon, a small town just across the Idaho border. With Idaho on the cusp of passing protections for unborn children in that state, Planned Parenthood was setting up an abortion clinic just about an hour away from Boise, where most abortions in the state had previously been performed (Oregon Public Broadcasting, 7/27/22).
In October of 2022, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri announced that it would be setting up a mobile abortion clinic in Southeastern Illinois specifically to “serve patients along the southern border of Illinois, an area surrounded by states that have banned or severely restricted abortion access” (PPSLRSWMO Release, 10/3/22).
The abortion giant may have shut down abortion operations in a few states, but it clearly intends to relentlessly pursue the babies of any troubled mother the law may have tried to put beyond its grasp.
*Planned Parenthood’s written report covers events in both 2021 and 2022, so there is much discussion in the text of the report of Dobbs‘ impact in overturning Roe. But the service figures (abortions, prenatal visits, adoption referrals, etc.) in this report generally come from 2021, or more precisely from the period of October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021.
Financial figures on revenues and expenses, on the other hand, are from Planned Parenthood’s latest fiscal year, July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. Obviously, most of that money was collected and spent before Dobbs, but some of that might have come in either after the Dobbs decision was leaked in early May of 2022 or in the week following the Supreme Court’s official announcement of the decision on June 24th, 2022.
Both the leak and the decision were used as key elements of many abortion advocates’ fundraising appeals at that time.