Is Planned Parenthood Stalling U.S. Abortion Rate Decline?

An article in a peer-reviewed journal suggests that 3 million persons would not have been aborted had Planned Parenthood followed the overall trend of decline in the abortion industry.

(photo: Unsplash. )

Where would the declining U.S. abortion rate be without Planned Parenthood’s network of centers sprawling coast-to-coast, and providing minimal sexual health services and abortion? According to Planned Parenthood, the answer is up.

But according to new peer-reviewed research, evidence indicates the answer is in fact, down. In other words, without Planned Parenthood, the abortion rate would be lower than the reported 14.6 aborted children per 1,000 women ages 15-44.

New research published online by James Studnicki, Charlotte Lozier Institute Vice President and Director of Data Analytics, and John Fisher, in the peer-reviewed Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, finds evidence to support the not-at-all-counterintuitive conclusion that Planned Parenthood does not provide abortion and sexual health services in order to destroy its own business model. The organization increasingly depends on its abortion business model for substantial financial revenue.

The article posits instead that Planned Parenthood has engaged in “supply induced demand,” where the demand for a particular service is created by those who supply the service. With Planned Parenthood, it means effectively propping up the abortion rate against an overall trend of abortion rate decline seen over the past 30 years. The authors look at data from Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) annual reports for 1995-2014, and Guttmacher Institute reports of abortion rates and volumes for 1973-2014, and found that while non-Planned Parenthood abortions followed the national trend, declining more than 50%, Planned Parenthood abortions increased by 142%.

During this time frame, Planned Parenthood tripled its share of the U.S. abortion market (accounting for 35% of all abortions by 2014). Had Planned Parenthood followed the non-Planned Parenthood trends, the authors estimate three million U.S. persons would not have been aborted.

Further studies will likely be needed to conclusively determine whether Planned Parenthood’s abortion business is a case of “supply induced demand,” or whether independent abortion practices are seeing their decline from losing clients to Planned Parenthood, which has poured tens of millions into promoting their brand and having a robust digital presence for people searching on their smart devices.

Charlotte Lozier Institute argues the evidence should support public policy to deprive Planned Parenthood of federal funding — a goal of pro-life groups who argue that money should be funneled to ethical alternatives.

Despite having control of the White House and Congress, Republicans have failed repeatedly to fulfill their pledges to defund Planned Parenthood. In the most recent $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, Republicans kept half a billion dollars in federal money flowing to Planned Parenthood. The GOP mainly pointed to its success in guaranteeing more funding to the military — not exactly a model of fiscal discipline, having dedicated $1.5 trillion to Lockheed-Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a project plagued with serious design flaws that limit its ability to fly and defend the nation in anything other than good weather. 

Pro-life groups are looking to the government, particularly the Trump administration to try to find ways to disentangle taxpayer money from paying for abortion.

Meanwhile, I have already reported for the Register, Planned Parenthood is positioning itself to no longer depend on government assistance thanks to private philanthropy. Once that happens, pro-life groups may realize the only sure way to put Planned Parenthood out of business is to maximize the blessings of the free market, and pour substantial financial resources into competitive — and professional — pro-life health care alternatives that can compete patient for patient, and life for life.


Read the study: “Planned Parenthood: Supply Induced Demand for Abortion in the US.”