The number of abortions has been steadily declining in the United States — yet business is booming for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation's largest and most aggressive abortion chain.
According to its most recent annual report, Planned Parenthood performed 182,854 abortions in 1999, its highest total ever and an increase of 8% over the previous year. That comes as no surprise. Steadily increasing its share of a shrinking market is a top goal of the organization, and ensuring and expanding “access to abortion services” remains the norm.
The theme of Planned Parenthood's slick 1999-2000 Annual Report is “Behind every choice is a story.” The corners of many pages are adorned with excerpts from grateful women “telling their stories” about their abortion experiences. But a careful reading of the numbers found in the annual report tells its own, quite different, story, as do the details of a recent botched abortion in San Francisco.
Since 1990 the annual number of abortions in the U.S. has dropped 17%, to 1.3 million. This welcome decline is due largely to a multi-pronged pro-life effort that included the passage of protective legislation, a well-conceived educational outreach and the saintly work of under-funded crisis-pregnancy centers.
By contrast, money is never a problem at Planned Parenthood. With media support to die for, abundant access to government money and tens of thousands of clients, it's always a bull market for Planned Parenthood. For 1999, the organization brought in an impressive $627.2 million. Nearly a third — $187.3 million — comes from government, slightly more than the $174.9 million Planned Parenthood takes in from “Private Contributions and Bequests.”
And, as the annual report confirms, the organization's largest revenue stream is “Clinic Income” — at $222.2 million. As its most common “surgical procedure,” abortion garnered Planned Parenthood at least $54 million in 1999, based on an estimated average price of $296 for a first-trimester abortion. That is a very conservative estimate, because we know some of those 182,854 abortions are the more expensive, later abortions which some clinics perform. Thus, at a minimum, aborting unborn babies accounted for nearly one-quarter of Planned Parenthood's lucrative clinic business.
Planned Parenthood's rhetoric, parroted in the annual report, would have you believe that the organization offers a broad range of medical services. Yet in 1999 it saw only about one-tenth as many prenatal clients (19,281) as abortion clients — and made only 2,999 adoption referrals. These huge disparities proved once again that Planned Parenthood's plans don't typically involve parenthood.
Where does all this money go? Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Planned Parenthood's 1999-2000 budget was spent on “Medical Services” ($367.5 million), with the rest of its domestic expenses going to “Sexuality Education” ($31.8 million), “Public Policy” ($20.9 million), “Services to Affiliates” ($15.8 million) and “Services to the Field of Family Planning” ($15.8 million).
The huge disparities in profitability between various 'services’ prove that Planned Parenthood's plans don't typically involve parenthood.
The annual report also indicates that Planned Parenthood spent $5.6 million on “International Family Planning Programs.” This funds the Family Planning International Assistance program, which “supports organizations that are committed to providing underserved populations” with, among other services, “safe abortion services for unintended pregnancies.” Planned Parenthood says its International Assistance programs performed 1,305 abortions in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 2,908 abortions in Africa.
Planned Parenthood's annual report even solicits responses on a detachable postcard: “Tell us your story … make it count!” women are instructed.
However, some of the most important details of Planned Parenthood's “stories” are left out of the picture painted by the publication. For instance, when detailing its efforts to derail Nebraska's ban on partial-birth abortions (eventually struck down by the Supreme Court), Planned Parenthood never talks about the partial-birth abortions. The omission is not surprising, since these abortions are so stomach-turning even hardened proabortionists blanch.
The annual report also discusses Planned Parenthood's support of fetal-tissue research. While the organization may be excused for leaving out news of the devastating side effects from fetal stem-cell transplants, widely reported in the mainstream press, there is no excuse for failing to mention the fact that some of its clinics have a vested financial interest in fetal-tissue research. They collect “rent” from fetal-tissue collectors who set up shop on Planned Parenthood premises and use aborted babies supplied by Planned Parenthood.
Death and Dismemberment Deleted
One woman's story is sure to be left out of next year's annual report. Known only as “J.B.,” a California woman won a $672,610 settlement last February for a botched 1997 abortion that left one of her twin unborn children alive. The second mutilated baby was aborted more than two months later, when — after repeatedly being told that everything was normal — the 28-year-old mother discovered she was still pregnant. J.B. had undergone an abortion at the Planned Parenthood Golden Gate clinic in San Francisco. When she returned for a checkup, she was told that “she was fine, there were no complications,” her attorney, Chris Dolan, told the Washington Times .
Still feeling pregnant, J.B. called the clinic several times. She demanded a pregnancy test, the San Francisco Examiner reported and, on February 18, 1998, a urine test showed there was still an unborn baby in her womb.
Since the pregnancy was now well into the second trimester, Planned Parenthood Golden Gate gave J.B. a list of late-term abortion providers, made an apology, “and shooed her out the door,” Dolan told the Examiner . At Buena Vista Women's Center, a sonogram showed J.B. that her second baby was still alive. But one arm and one leg had been sliced off during the first abortion, the one that took the life of the twin's sibling.
Dolan told the Washington Times that J.B. had been thinking of keeping the second baby until she saw the sonogram. “She sees the ultrasound and has an emotional collapse,” said Dolan, according to the Examiner . “She has to go through a three-day procedure to terminate the fetus’ life, something that absolutely wrecks her.”
"It's definitely going to be appealed,” Lynn Stocker, attorney for the abortion clinic, told the Examiner . “Planned Parenthood disagrees with the verdict, and we will be appealing.”
Whether or not she receives the money, J.B. will need a long time to recover from her ordeal. Dolan said that since the abortions she “has been haunted by visions of babies being killed, has contemplated suicide, and cries uncontrollably at the sight of young children — especially twins.”
The pages of Planned Parenthood's annual report are peppered with the images of celebrities happy to lend their support. Here are actresses Kathleen Turner and Blythe Danner; there's comedian Al Franken. On another page, it's R&B singer Ginuwine, then author John Irving, creator of the pro-abortion paean The Cider House Rules . No doubt the idea was to imbue Planned Parenthood's cause and activities with an aura of hipness and glamour.
Yet no amount of glitz and glamour, no amount of spin or stories, can change this basic fact: Planned Parenthood is American's leading promoter and performer of the destruction of innocent human life.
Randall K. O'Bannon is education director for National Right to Life.
Dave Andrusko is editor of National Right to LifeNews .