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Here are the top myths Planned Parenthood peddles that are debunked by information from its own annual report.Abortion is just 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s business
This statistic has been rated false by left-leaning outlets, including Slate and the Washington Post. The claim rests on a deceptive tactic: calculating abortion procedures as a fraction of its “services” — defined by the group as “discrete clinical interactions” — rather than as a fraction of its clients.
Take an example. A woman walks into a Planned Parenthood clinic. She takes a pregnancy test, meets with a counselor, and chooses to have an abortion procedure. While she’s there, she also receives an STI test and a breast exam and is handed birth control on her way out the door. Planned Parenthood would count each of these “discrete interactions” — six in total — as a service, so abortion would be only 16 percent of that woman’s visit.
Applying this method to an entire year of “services,” Planned Parenthood inflates its numbers to make abortion look like a vanishingly small part of what it does. The actual numbers in the report tell a drastically different story.
Look, for instance, at how the 321,384 abortion procedures dwarf adoption referrals (3,889) and prenatal services (7,762). Planned Parenthood performed 83 abortions for every one adoption referral last year. And its prenatal services have dropped steadily every year since 2009, from over 40,000 that year to just under 8,000 last year. Hardly “comprehensive women’s health care.”
What’s more, Planned Parenthood performs about one-third of annual U.S. abortions, making it the single largest abortion provider in the country, by far. As the most expensive procedure provided, abortion underwrites a huge portion of the group’s bottom line. Surely this is why the national organization routinely imposes abortion quotas on its regional affiliates and rewards clinics that exceed their abortion targets.
Planned Parenthood president, Cecile Richards, has inadvertently underscored the group’s repeated attempts to downplay its commitment to abortion. Richards met with Ivanka Trump last year to discuss the group’s future, and Trump suggested that Planned Parenthood split into two financially distinct groups, one of which offered no abortion, allowing it to receive government money without compromising taxpayers’ consciences. Richards refused, calling it naïve and saying that Trump failed to understand how central abortion is to Planned Parenthood’s mission.Millions of women wouldn’t have health care if Planned Parenthood didn’t exist
The report indicates that Planned Parenthood saw 2.4 million clients in the last fiscal year. But, as has been shown by the group’s own figures, it doesn’t provide those clients with very many actual health-care services. According to the report, the only significant services offered, besides abortion, are STI and HIV tests, contraception, and pregnancy tests.
Last year, it provided only 235,000 well-woman exams and 32,000 “family practice services,” despite executives’ repeated claims that the group is an average health-care provider offering a vast selection of regular health-care services.
The report also hints, but doesn’t outright acknowledge, that Planned Parenthood closed dozens of clinics over the last year. Its 2015–16 report cited “nearly 650 health centers,” while this year’s report highlights “more than 600.”
According to American Life League’s annual survey, Planned Parenthood closed 32 clinics last year, leaving the group with just 597 facilities. This means that several states have only a handful of Planned Parenthood centers, and some have as few as one or two. And yet we are supposed to believe that these paltry clinics provide essential care to women who would otherwise have nowhere to go.
In reality, there exist over 13,000 federally qualified health-care centers across the country that offer a wide array of actual health-care procedures, not just a tiny selection of reproductive services. These centers outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities 20 to one. It is beyond absurd to suggest that American women would have nowhere to turn for health care if not to Planned Parenthood.Planned Parenthood both needs and deserves government funding
A plurality of Planned Parenthood’s revenue last year came from government reimbursements and grants, totaling more than half a billion dollars. The group is, understandably, fixated on retaining and expanding that funding — surely in large part for the PR cover it provides. Planned Parenthood’s political-action wing spends millions each year lobbying to increase its federal funding, essentially taking government coin and using it to push for even more.
The group’s executives have recently taken to crusading against the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding from paying for abortion procedures. (The fungibility of money, of course, means that any federal money given to Planned Parenthood aids the group in providing abortions.)
But the group could very easily continue to exist without federal money. For one thing, the Trump administration has been great for business. The group’s private donations went up by nearly $100 million last year, bringing the tally to more than half a billion dollars from wealthy benefactors. If Planned Parenthood were ever actually defunded, you can bet that number would skyrocket even higher.
And there’s no question that Planned Parenthood is rolling in excess cash. Its net assets at the end of last fiscal year totaled more than $1.6 billion, up from $1.5 billion the year before. The group directs more than $174 million annually to management salaries, an ever-increasing number.
Planned Parenthood’s PAC is among the most powerful lobbying groups in American politics, shelling out $40 million last year for “public policy” and investing upwards of $175 million in such nebulous categories as “movement building,” “strengthening and securing Planned Parenthood,” and “engaging communities.”
If the group can manage to scrounge up enough cash for these activities — and continue to sit comfortably on assets in excess of $1 billion — surely it can bear its own operating costs. Given its commitment to abortion, and its lack of commitment to much else in the way of actual health care, it should be required to do just that.
The public square is rife with misinformation and outright lies about what Planned Parenthood does. Its own annual report should end any debate. It is, first and foremost, a corporation that profits from the routine and casual slaughter of unborn children. For the sake of political prudence, it must be defunded. For the sake of justice, it must be shut down.