A few days ago, we published this article about a claim that Planned Parenthood performs an abortion every 96 seconds. We alleged that the claim was false. We were wrong and we were called out on it, and for that, we are grateful because it allowed us to place the statistic in perspective.
Planned Parenthood does perform an abortion about every 96 seconds (based on a 24 hour/365 day calendar), which sounds horrific, until you realize that across the country, a woman receives an abortion every 26 seconds (also based on 24/365). Note that that statistic comes directly from an anti-choice site, but verified through the Guttmacher Institute. The Center for Disease Control places that number at closer to every 38 seconds. Either way, Planned Parenthood is doing their job – they are preventing abortions.
The rebuttal to our article goes on to say that Planned Parenthood performs abortions on 11% of their patients. Again, this statistic is rather remarkable, since nationwide, it’s estimated that 28% of women have had abortions.
What about the claim that Planned Parenthood performs 27% of all American abortions? Thanks to legislation and threats of physical violence, abortion providers have been driven out by droves, leaving few providers BUT Planned Parenthood, still, in 2008, there were about 1,800 abortion providers. The majority of abortions were performed in hospitals and doctor’s offices. There are 879 Planned Parenthood clinics and affiliates, meaning that Planned Parenthood makes up about half of the abortion providers, despite performing only about 1/4 the abortions.
Then, our friends acknowledge the fact that only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortions, but counter that for every adoption referral that Planned Parenthood makes, they perform 391 abortions. Their calculations are true, but statistics show that there are only about 140,000 children adopted in the US annually. The fact is that pregnant women simply aren’t choosing adoption and there are various reasons, beginning with the most basic, they are not in a situation where even going through a pregnancy is a viable option. Adoption referrals are on Planned Parenthood’s menu of services. They offer literature. They offer to speak to their patients about adoption. It’s not their fault that their patients aren’t taking them up on it.
The final claim that our friends make is that despite the fact that only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortions, abortions make up 15% of their revenue. They don’t dispute the fact that NONE of that revenue comes from federal taxes. To their claim, the answer is simple and obvious. Abortions are expensive compared to their main services, which are preventing unintended pregnancies and maintaining the health of both men and women, for which they have spectacular results:
- Every year, Planned Parenthood prevents about 584,000 pregnancies, many of which would have undoubtedly ended in abortion.
- 76% of their patients are poor
- 76% of their patients visit Planned Parenthood to prevent pregnancies
- 80% of their patients are 20 or older
Anti-choice advocates would have you believe that banning abortions would make abortions disappear. Facts disprove this. Before Roe v. Wade, in 1973, the Supreme Court Decision that made abortions legal, there were almost as many if not as many (the US population in 1970 was estimated at about 200,000,000. It is now over 300,000,000.) abortions performed every year, although illegally and often without medical supervision. Perhaps more importantly, the safety of abortions has dramatically increased.
No one in this country is “pro-abortion.” It’s always been the motto of those who believe that a woman should be able to choose her own fate (as do men), that abortions should be safe, legal and rare. Planned Parenthood takes that motto very seriously and it is only through further support of the institution, that we can even further drive down the rate of abortion in this country.