Very few issues stir up such feverish debate as abortion. One that does, though, is whether taxpayer money should be use for abortions. That makes Planned Parenthood a favorite to rallying around on both sides of the argument.
Planned Parenthood claims that abortions are a slight fraction of all of the services they provide to their clients. In their 2009-2010 Annual Report, Planned Parenthood says that their number one service in 2010 was STI/STD testing and treatment at 38 percent. Abortion ranked fifth with three percent of their total services, after contraception, cancer screening and prevention and the general category of other women’s health services.
Pro-life advocates use Planned Parenthood’s self-reported figures against them. LifeNews.com broke down the services Planned Parenthood provided in the same annual report and categorized abortion as a “pregnancy related service” and compared it to prenatal services and adoption referrals performed over the same period. From this angle, abortions made up 91.2 percent of all pregnancy related services, prenatal services accounted for 8.6 percent and the remaining 0.2 percent was adoption referrals.
LifeNews.com also pointed out that in Planned Parenthood’s annual report, 46 percent of their budget is in the form of government funding. In the same article, there is no mention of any of the other services that Planned Parenthood offers.
Nine months prior to LifeNews.com’s article, Arizona United States Senator Jon Kyl had made similar statements. On April 8, 2011, Kyl spoke on the Senate floor saying abortion is 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does. Later that same day, Kyl’s office released a statement to CNN stating that his “90 percent” comment was not meant to be factual and just to point out that Planned Parenthood performs abortions and receives funds from the federal government.
Factcheck.org looked at the issue of what percent of Planned Parenthood’s services are abortions and whether government dollars are paying for them. They verified Kyl misspoke. They also reported that federal law prohibits the Title X funds to be used for family planning programs involving abortion and that the Hyde Amendment only allow Medicaid money for abortions related to rape, incest or endangerment to the life of the mother.
The one problem with all these figures is that they are based on Planned Parenthood’s self-reporting. While there is no reason to doubt the accuracy of the numbers as a whole, there will always be doubt from pro-life critics that cannot be easily disproven, either.