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Who performs the majority of abortions in the US?7 min read

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I had a (somewhat heated) discussion with a liberal friend of mine who, when I retorted that Planned Parenthood was bad because they were the leading abortion provider in the us, told me that I did not know what I was talking about, that Planned Parenthood does not do abortions, and that I should 'get my facts straight!'

Needless to say, her confidence in what she was saying made me go check it out.  Turns out, she was partially right, but mostly wrong.  Here's what I was surprised to find out.

Getting the Numbers

I downloaded the latest Planned Parenthood Annual Report to see where THEY said their moneys went – not that I trust them, but at least I could see what they are telling the IRS – I am sure they are not telling the feds, however

Abortion was found to be related to an increased risk for a variety of mental health problems (panic attacks, panic disorder, agoraphobia, PTSD, bipolar disorder, major depression with and without hierarchy), and substance abuse disorders after statistical controls were instituted for a wide range of personal, situational, and demographic variables.

The number of cases of mental health issues rose by as much as 17 percent in women having abortions compared to those who did not have one and the risks of each particular mental health problem rose as much as 145% for post-abortive women.

On that last note, perhaps they should add post-abortion PTSD counseling to their 2009 budget request to Uncle Sam.  Oh wait, they can't admit to the trauma of abortion, so they can't care about the mental health of the girls AFTER the abortion, only BEFORE when the SOLUTION is abortion.  What convenient kindness.

I mention these other issues, not to get us off track, but to remind us that their numbers may not be trustworthy.

What Percent of PPFA's Business is Abortion?

Taking them at their word, what do THEY say about their abortion revenues, and the proportion of their services taken up by abortion?

According to the Annual Report

  • Abortions made up 3% of their services in 2007

Well, that sounds innocuous enough.  Maybe my friend was right.  But as British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli said:

    There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Chart1 A Closer Look at the Numbers

While it is true that, by their numbers, 3% of the services they provided were listed as abortions, most girls that visited used multiple services.  When you count the number of abortions per patients seen, the number of abortions per patient is actually 10% (305,310 of 3,020,651).

However, a better question is, what percentage of abortions done in the US is that 305K?

The last year we have total number of abortions calculated for is 2005 – the 'research arm of Planned Parenthood,' the Guttmacher Institute, reported that 2005 abortions performed were 1.2M in the U.S.

Although abortion has been dropping since 2000, for the sake of argument, let's use the 1.2M number (it's probably lower).  That would mean that in 2007 Planned Parenthood performed AT LEAST 25% of all abortions in the US.

Now, that's with THEIR numbers, and I have to mention that the Guttmacher Institute is not an unbiased source.  Some, like Steven Mosher of Penn State's Population Research Institute, have accused the Institute of playing fast and loose with the stats.  

But is that all the resources they spent on abortion?

Actually, though I don't have time to find out, let me clue you in on what they did with some of their over a BILLION dollars in revenue:

A list of all organizations that received contributions from PPFA during the year…may be obtained by writing…

What?!? Who are they GIVING money AWAY to?  Besides giving money to politicians (again, our tax money that they obviously don't need), who is to say that they aren't supporting even MORE abortions at non-PPFA clinics, numbers that they don't have to report?  I'll keep digging on that one, but needless to say, that may be another loophole through which even more abortions can be linked to PPFA.

So What Do These Numbers Mean?

They mean that:

  • Planned Parenthood actually performs more than 25% of abortions in America
  • The fact that this only represents a small portion of their activities does NOT mean that they somehow favor all of their preventative measures – it just means that beyond performing abortions as generously as possible and in increasing numbers year over year,
  • they are GARGANTUAN in size.  It's not that they do 'very few abortions'.  Sure, as a subset of the BILLIONS they receive from our tax dollars it may be small. 
  • But are the deaths of 305,000 unborn children insignificant in number?  Not on your life (actually, it's on theirs, since it was taken).

Abortion for Profit

What's even worse is the gross amount of MONEY they make off of our tax dollars and abortions.  For example:

  • In 2007 they made a NET $114M profit (that's after expenses).  Perhaps they should have given back that portion of the tax dollars the US Govt gave them.
  • Estimates are that they charge, on average, $413 per abortion.  That means that in 2007, abortion generated at least $126M of gross revenue for them.  Now, perhaps their margins are as low (they are 'non-profit ;), but of course, they deduct the huge abortionist salaries and other nicely paid staff expenses. so a good proportion of their 'expenses' ends up in their Doctor's bank accounts.

The Bottom Line

My friend is right – as a proportion of their business, abortion isn't, at least on paper, their main activity. 

But as my examination showed, they still own a lion's share of the total abortions done annually, may contribute to many more through 'donations' to other organizations, and even as total number of abortions go down, their number of abortions provided have gone UP.

To say that Planned Parenthood is not in the abortion business is a self-deception, if not a blatant spin on the data – and at worst, a lie to cover up the fact that PPFA most certainly does to a significant portion of abortions in the US, and those abortions just happen to be good business, even if it does 'terminate a non-person.'  Can you say 'conflict of interest?'