(Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
With the 40th anniversary of the landmark abortion ruling of Roe v. Wade on Tuesday, activists on both sides of the debate are celebrating. Proponents of abortion on demand are praising the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized the procedure, while pro-life activists are celebrating that abortions in the U.S. have decreased. But what's making the issue confusing is the percentage of abortions making up the total business of the nation's leading abortion provider.
The latest numbers released in Planned Parenthood's annual report show it performed a total of 995,687 abortions from 2009 through 2011. The breakdown is as follows: 333,964 abortions in 2011, 329,445 in 2010 and 332,278 in 2009.
In addition, the abortion giant reported it received approximately $542.4 million in funds and grants from federal, state and local governments in 2012. This is an increase over the past two years. Its total government income in 2011 was $538.5 million and $487.4 million in 2010.
Planned Parenthood claims abortions are only three percent of its total business and that no government funds are used for abortions. According to Abby Johnson, a former clinic director for PP now turned pro-life activist and author of Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader's Eye-Opening Journey Across the Line, the three percent number is misleading. In a column Johnson wrote for The Hill in 2011, she outlines how PP skews these numbers to obtain more government funding. While the article was written over a year ago, Johnson maintains her information is current.
"Though 98 percent of Planned Parenthood's services to pregnant women are abortion, Planned Parenthood and its political allies have sworn up and down that taxpayer dollars do not go to pay for abortion. But of course they do," wrote Johnson.
"Planned Parenthood gets one-third of its entire budget from taxpayer funding and performed more than 650,000 abortions between 2008 and 2009. An abortion is expensive. Its cost includes pay for the doctor, supporting medical staff, their health benefits packages and malpractice insurance. As clinic director, I saw how money affiliate clinics receive from several sources is combined into one pot, not set aside for specific services."
Johnson continued: "Planned Parenthood's claim that abortions make up just 3 percent of its services is also a gimmick. That number is actually closer to 12 percent, but strategically skewed by unbundling family planning services so that each patient shows anywhere from five to 20 'visits' per appointment (i.e., 12 packs of birth control equals 12 visits) and doing the opposite with abortion visits, bundling them together so that each appointment equals one visit. The resulting difference between family planning and abortion 'visits' is striking."
Furthermore, Johnson maintains that PP's objective is not to reduce the number of abortions, but to increase the number performed at each clinic and that every clinic performs abortions.
Marjorie Dannenfelser of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List is calling on Congress and other governmental agencies to defund PP for several reasons, including the fact that their "other" services, such as cancer screening, mammograms and contraceptive care services, have decreased over the past three years while government funding has increased.
"It is equally disturbing that while Planned Parenthood is performing a record number of abortions, their cancer screenings have dropped by 29 percent, and contraceptive services by 12 percent over the past three years," wrote Dannenfelser in an op-ed in Tuesday's edition of The Washington Times. "These numbers do not jibe with the public relations campaign Planned Parenthood has employed over the last few years, enrobing itself in 'breast cancer prevention pink' and promoting slogans like, 'Don't take away my cancer screenings.'"
But two other numbers that may be giving PP even more sleepless nights are the decrease in their donor base and the number of affiliates associated with the organization. Since 2007, the number of individuals and organizations that contribute to the abortion giant are down 27 percent and the number of affiliates is down 57 percent. Still, its profit in 2012 was $87.4 million and has exceeded $1.2 billion over the last four years.
As for total abortion numbers, reports say that 57 million babies have been aborted in the last 40 years and there are now fewer abortions and fewer clinics that perform abortions. Overall, abortions are down 25 percent from 1.6 million in 1990 to 1.2 million since 2005. According to Susan Sullenger of Operation Rescue, the reasons for the decline include malpractice lawsuits, clinic health code violations and criminal prosecutions of either the abortionist or the clinic.