Sebastian's Point

Sebastian's Point is a weekly column written by one of our members regarding timely events or analysis of relevant ideas, which impact the Culture of Life. All regular members are invited to submit a column for publication at soss.submissions@gmail.com. Columns should be between 800 to 1300 words and comply with the high standards expected in academic writing, including proper citations of authority or assertions referred to in your column. Please see, Submission Requirements for more details.

Planned Parenthood’s Latest Data Reveals its Focus on Abortion

Tessa Longbons  |  12 May 2022

Even though Planned Parenthood is the dominant abortion chain in the United States, the organization characterizes abortion as just one aspect of the broad array of services it offers. When Planned Parenthood’s service numbers are compared to other market leaders, however, it is clear that Planned Parenthood accounts for a negligible portion of the national totals of most of its services. For instance, Planned Parenthood provided approximately 1.4 percent of all HIV tests in 2015 and less than one percent of pap tests.[i] Instead, Planned Parenthood’s dominant service is abortion. In fiscal year 2019, Planned Parenthood performed a record 354,871 abortions, over 40 percent of all reported abortions in the United States.

 

This focus on abortion is reflected in Planned Parenthood’s annual reports over the past decade. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is composed of more than 50 affiliates across the United States.[ii] These affiliates share their financial and service data with PPFA for inclusion in the national organization’s annual reports, with service data typically lagging a year behind the rest of the information in the report. Planned Parenthood’s most recent report was for fiscal year 2020, with service data (including abortion data) for fiscal year 2019.

 

Between 2010 and fiscal year 2019, Planned Parenthood’s total services have fallen 5.7 percent, with a 63 percent drop in cancer screening and prevention (due partially to changing practice guidelines) and a 30 percent decline in contraceptive services.[iii] The number of patients served annually has dropped by 600,000, and the number of centers operated by Planned Parenthood has steadily declined. In contrast, Planned Parenthood abortions have increased, with a sharp uptick starting in 2017. Planned Parenthood has also reported enormous profits, with $1.6 billion in income and more than $2 billion in net assets disclosed in its latest annual report.

 

If one expects Planned Parenthood to continue its timeline for publishing recent reports near the beginning of the year, its 2021 report with service data from FY 2020 can be considered overdue, since it is not yet available online and there is no indication of when it will be published. To allow for a preliminary review of Planned Parenthood services in fiscal year 2020, the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) checked for annual reports from each of Planned Parenthood’s affiliates.

 

CLI identified 27 affiliates that reported the number of patients and/or the number of visits in 2019 and 2020. These affiliates represent approximately 58 percent of total Planned Parenthood locations. Among the affiliates that made data available, patient volume fell by seven percent and visits fell by nine percent in fiscal year 2020. The drop in patients and visits was expected, as stay-at-home orders and concerns about COVID kept many Americans at home and postponed non-emergency health care.

 

However, the decline was not uniform. Even as Planned Parenthood saw fewer patients, and those patients made fewer visits, the number of abortions increased in FY2020. CLI obtained abortion data from 19 affiliates, covering approximately 40 percent of Planned Parenthood centers. In 2020, these affiliates reported 130,927 abortions, an increase of eight percent from the previous year. Some affiliates saw even larger increases; Planned Parenthood Keystone, operating in Pennsylvania, reported that patients declined by 12 percent, while abortions surged 31 percent.

 

Final numbers will possibly shift if and when Planned Parenthood releases an annual report containing data from all its affiliates, but this preliminary review demonstrates that Planned Parenthood continues to focus on abortion to the exclusion of its other services. In fact, a 2018 CLI study indicates that Planned Parenthood has driven up demand for abortion in the United States, with Planned Parenthood abortions increasing even as abortions from other providers decline.[iv] The study suggests that Planned Parenthood contributed to an extra three million abortions between 1995 and 2014, and that number has likely grown in the past few years.

 

Despite a worldwide pandemic that led to shortages of personal protective equipment and a pause on elective procedures, Planned Parenthood was able to not only maintain, but to increase, its abortion volume. As part of its public relations strategy, Planned Parenthood promises “care – no matter what.” As its own reports reveal, though, the abortion chain’s true mission is abortion – no matter what.

Tessa Longbons

Senior Research Associate

Charlotte Lozier Institute

_________________

[i] Donovan CA, Studnicki J. Planned Parenthood: “Irreplaceable” and “life-saving”? Charlotte Lozier Institute. 2017. https://lozierinstitute.org/planned-parenthood-irreplaceable-and-lifesaving/

[ii] See Planned Parenthood. Contact Us. Accessed May 9, 2022. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/contact-us

[iii] Charlotte Lozier Institute. Fact sheet: Planned Parenthood’s 2019-20 annual report. February 23, 2021. Accessed May 9, 2022. https://lozierinstitute.org/fact-sheet-planned-parenthoods-2019-20-annual-report/

[iv] Studnicki J, Fisher J. Planned Parenthood: Supply induced demand for abortion in the US. Open J Prev Med. 2018;8:142-145. https://file.scirp.org/pdf/OJPM_2018042709281274.pdf