- (Photo: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/Files)
Reacting to a report from the Guttmacher Institute that claims abortions are at an all-time low since the procedure became legal in 1973, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards says she's "proud" that the organization provides multiple forms of abortion services to its pregnant clients.
"Planned Parenthood is proud to provide abortion services for women who make the deeply personal decision to end a pregnancy, [and] we are proud to fight for a woman's right to make that decision without interference from politicians," said Richards, who once served as deputy chief of staff for House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, and is the daughter of former Democratic governor of Texas Ann Richards.
The Christian Post recently reported that the Guttmacher Institute, a research institute that supports abortion rights, will release a report in March in which it claims that the number of abortions had dropped in 2011 to its lowest point since 1973.
According to the Guttmacher Institute study, between 2011 and 2008, abortions declined by 13 percent; and there were about 1.06 million abortions in 2011, as compared to roughly 1.2 million in 2008.
The abortion rate dropped to 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 in 2011, down from 29.3 in 1981. It's the lowest since 1973 when the rate was 16.3, says the study.
The study also notes that about 239,400 abortions entailing early medication procedures were performed in 2011, representing 23 percent of all non-hospital abortions, an increase from 17 percent in 2008.
Michael J. New, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan–Dearborn and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, believes the Guttmacher study cannot be trusted as being completely accurate.
New wrote in National Review Online that "21 percent of abortion facilities refuse to take part in the survey. And he added that the study doesn't "provide any information about the percentage of abortions that occur after 20 weeks gestation."
Richards of Planned Parenthood claims that one reason for the decline in suction, cutting and evacuation methods of abortion can be attributed to the increasing number of women who seek out abortions early enough to have a medication-induced abortion.
"One important finding in this report is that women who do decide to end a pregnancy are increasingly using medication abortion…," said Richards, who's fighting a Texas law that passed in July that requires abortionists to be present, in-office, each time abortion-inducing drugs are dispensed to their clients.
According to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers that are fighting these new state regulations, it's safer for women to ingest abortion inducing drugs at home, and pass and dispose of the aborted baby by themselves, rather than have the assistance of abortionists and their staff who are required to properly dispose of aborted remains.
The Texas law that was passed in July bans abortion at 20 weeks gestation (except in cases where the mother faces a medical emergency), requires abortionists to follow FDA guidelines for dispensing abortion-inducing drugs, and requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital located within 30 miles in cases of emergency caused by the procedure.
In November Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and other pro-abortion groups appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a Texas district court's injunction that blocked a portion of the law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, citing that it would close a majority of abortion clinics in the state and block women's access to abortion.
The appeal was filed with Justice Antonin Scalia, who referred the issue to the nine-member court, which in a 5-4 decision, allowed Texas' abortion regulations to stand. The majority of the court found that Planned Parenthood, et. al., had not met the requirement for setting aside the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals' order permitting the law to take effect.
Subseqently, the case was argued in January before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, La., which is reviewing the portion of the law that requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital located within 30 miles of the abortion facility where they practice.
Pro-life legislation passes in the House
Last month, one week after the anniversary of the controversial Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a sweeping pro-life bill.
Known as HR 7 or the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," the House voted 227 to 188 in favor of the proposed legislation. HR 7 has multiple components to it that focus on removing government funding of abortion and benefits for abortion coverage.
Introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), HR 7's aims bear resemblance to the Hyde Amendment, which gets renewed every session by Congress. Smith's goal with HR 7 is to make the Hyde Amendment provisions permanent and no longer in need of annual renewal.
In August, the Government Accountability Office also announced that it would be investigating Planned Parenthood's use of taxpayers' dollars amid recent cases against abortion providers who've fraudulently over-billed Medicaid and other family planning programs.
This decision was made after a group of more than 50 members of Congress, including Reps. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Pete Olson (R-Texas) and Senator David Vitter (R-La.), requested a report from the GAO on how taxpayer funding is specifically used by Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform abortions.
"Planned Parenthood performed a record 333,964 abortions last year – almost 1 million in the past three years," Vitter said last February. "At the same time, they also received more federal taxpayer dollars than ever before – a record $542 million, an 11 percent increase over the past two years. Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortions clearly benefit from Uncle Sam, but there's no accounting to prove how they actually use that money. This GAO report would shine a light on how our tax dollars are being spent."
Michael J. Norton, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which has filed lawsuits against Planned Parenthood, told CP that the organization has, during the past few years, released reports to Congress that have identified waste, abuse and potential fraud by Planned Parenthood, state family programs and other organizations, as well as potential fraud by Planned Parenthood affiliates relating to grants from Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
"We have been focusing on Planned Parenthood's waste, abuse and potential fraud, and to identify Planned Parenthood as significantly taking advantage of well-funded, poorly addressed family planning programs in particular," Norton said. "Audits and other reviews of Planned Parenthood affiliates' financial data and practices – as well as 45 audits of state family planning programs and one audit of a family planning organization – found more than $108 million in waste, abuse and potential fraud. Taxpayer money is only supposed to be used responsibly and for the common good."