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The Susan G. Komen Foundation, the nation’s largest breast cancer charity, has  cut its funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of abortions. The move by Komen has enraged pro-abortion advocates and sparked a renewed debate about what Planned Parenthood actually does.

Setting aside the undercover operations and insider testimonies which have revealed that Planned Parenthood at its worst is an aggressive promoter of abortion that turns a blind eye to sex trafficking and abuse, let’s simply examine the oft repeated claim that abortions only account for 3% of Planned Parenthood services. The chart reproduced by the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein seems to settle the matter. Abortion is only a tiny sliver of Planned Parenthood’s overall  program. Most of what they do focuses on testing, contraception, and prevention. Right?

As if often the case with statistics, the devil is in the details. Klein’s chart comes directly from numbers furnished by Planned Parenthood itself. You’ll notice that Planned Parenthood lists 11 million total services, of which more than 300,000 were abortions, roughly 3 percent. But earlier in the report we read that these 11 million services were performed for not quite 3 million people. That means most people coming to Planned Parenthood received multiple services. A woman might come in for a pregnancy test, get tested for an STD, have abortion, and leave with contraceptives. Four services, one abortion.  A closer look at the numbers, then, reveals that 1 in 9 people serviced by Planned Parenthood received an abortion. And no doubt the number is much higher if you were to look simply at those women who came in pregnant looking for help.

Just looking at their own numbers, there are more reasons to take the 3 percent claim with a generous grain of salt.

  • Planned Parentood provided almost 1.5 million “emergency contraceptive kits.” This is a euphemism for the morning after pill, which works, in part, by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.
  • With more than 300,000 abortions in 2010, Planned Parenthood accounted for 25% of abortions in the U.S., hardly a minor player in the abortion industry.
  • In 2010 Planned Parenthood reported performing 329,445 abortions. Only 3% of total services, as everyone seems to know. But compare that number with the other options one might offer pregnant women. In that same year Planned Parenthood listed only 31,098 “prenatal services” and a meager 841 “adoption referals to other agencies.” Which means that if you walk into Planned Parenthood with an unborn baby you are 10 times more likely to get an abortion than prenatal screening and almost 400 times more likely to be offered an abortion than given an adoption referral. So a different pie chart might look like this.

So for whatever useful purposes they may serve on ocassion, I’m not ashamed to admit that of all the things I don’t trust in the world two of them at the top of the list are statistics and Planned Parenthood.

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48 thoughts on “Is Planned Parenthood Really Not About Abortion?”

  1. Ralph says:

    So, because you so mistrust statistics that are offered as spin, you offer statistics with your own spin? Why then should someone trust your point of view? Which, I get, is your point about stats…..but how does that really advance any conversation? People who trust PP’s veracity will trust them despite the stats, and people will trust you before they read your take. So………what?

  2. Andrew Michelson says:

    I was directed to your blog through David Brooks’ column this morning and I found your postings to be thoughtful, detailed, and free of partisanship. As you admit, Planned Parenthood does indeed provide valuable services to many woman. But, what you fail to realize is that in this case, the controversy is about woman’s health, not abortion. This is made the case eloquently by Jill Lepore in the New Yorker: “The women’s-health movement, which began in the nineteen-seventies, tried to explain that women’s bodies are not parts, but bodies… This week’s dissolution of a bond between the nation’s largest funder of breast-cancer research and one of the largest providers of women’s health services suggests just how dismally that effort has failed.” Planned Parenthood provides valuable health care to many woman who can’t afford it otherwise. That is why this week’s news is so troubling.
    Link to New Yorker column:

  3. Tom Strode says:

    Thank you for taking time as a gospel-centered pastor to point out the truth about Planned Parenthood’s use of statistics to deflect attention from the fact it is America’s No. 1 abortion provider. An organization that received $487 million in government grants, contracts and reimbursements in the most recent fiscal year hardly needs less than $700,000 from a breast cancer charity, especially when Planned Parenthood centers do not do mammograms. Komen’s decision is a great encouragement to many Christians in this country. Planned Parenthood’s abortion business is a gospel issue. Its employees who push abortion instead of adoption to women in crisis, those women and others who want them to have abortions, and the babies need to be rescued from sin and/or death. Your blog is a regular encouragement to me. Thank you for speaking the truth winsomely and boldly once again.

  4. Dan Stanley says:

    Another item to note is that, while they record 329,445 abortion services in 2010, they do not associated the corresponding expenditures to the services. How much of their $700 million spent on medical services was towards abortion services? Additionally, does the tests and maybe saving of lives through their tests justify the murder of 329,445?

  5. donsands says:

    PP doesn’t seem to be too concerned about killing babies. Sad. How can you trust those who make lots of money killing humans?

    Thanks for the good word Kevin. Lord bless your Lord’s Day, and the worship and Word. May He fill you, and your congregation with His wonderful joy, and blessed peace.

  6. mel says:

    What people don’t comprehend is how much they push abortion. Those of us that have been there know. The more vulnerable situation you are in then the harder they push. Why? Could it be that they are “judging” who is fit to have children and who is not.
    Another number that isn’t included is how many referrals they make to abortion clinics when they don’t have one of their own in the area. I think the way Kevin broke down the numbers makes a lot of sense. Some people just don’t want it examined and will slander anyone that tries.

  7. eMatters says:

    Abby Johnson is a former PP clinic director who wrote a book called “Unplanned . . .” She’s noted the pressure they had to increase abortions.

    And their executives don’t make $200k and higher each because they give away condoms. They get them for selling abortions.

  8. Christy Keyton says:

    Thank you for your stand on this latest news. We discussed this in my women’s Bible study this week. I stopped supporting Susan G. Komen several years ago when I learned that some of their funds went to Planned Parenthood. In my mind, the point is this. Abortion is the killing of human life – the Bible calls that murder. I do not want to support with my time or funds any organization that promotes it, no matter how much or how little. Even one abortion, one life taken, is too much.

  9. kpolo says:

    btw Komen has succumbed to pressure and will now continue funding. Breaking news.

  10. Doyle says:

    Margaret Sanger, founder of planned parenthood, in her own words:

    “The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.” Margaret Sanger, Women and the New Race (Eugenics Publ. Co., 1920, 1923)

    On blacks, immigrants and indigents:
    “…human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ‘spawning… human beings who never should have been born.” Margaret Sanger, Pivot of Civilization, referring to immigrants and poor people

    On sterilization & racial purification:
    Sanger believed that, for the purpose of racial “purification,” couples should be rewarded who chose sterilization. Birth Control in America, The Career of Margaret Sanger, by David Kennedy, p. 117, quoting a 1923 Sanger speech.

    On the right of married couples to bear children:
    Couples should be required to submit applications to have a child, she wrote in her “Plan for Peace.” Birth Control Review, April 1932

    On the purpose of birth control:
    The purpose in promoting birth control was “to create a race of thoroughbreds,” she wrote in the Birth Control Review, Nov. 1921 (p. 2)

    On the rights of the handicapped and mentally ill, and racial minorities:
    “More children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the chief aim of birth control.” Birth Control Review, May 1919, p. 12

    On religious convictions regarding sex outside of marriage:
    “This book aims to answer the needs expressed in thousands on thousands of letters to me in the solution of marriage problems… Knowledge of sex truths frankly and plainly presented cannot possibly injure healthy, normal, young minds. Concealment, suppression, futile attempts to veil the unveilable – these work injury, as they seldom succeed and only render those who indulge in them ridiculous. For myself, I have full confidence in the cleanliness, the open-mindedness, the promise of the younger generation.” Margaret Sanger, Happiness in Marriage (Bretano’s, New York, 1927)

    On the extermination of blacks:
    “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,” she said, “if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America, by Linda Gordon

    On respecting the rights of the mentally ill:
    In her “Plan for Peace,” Sanger outlined her strategy for eradication of those she deemed “feebleminded.” Among the steps included in her evil scheme were immigration restrictions; compulsory sterilization; segregation to a lifetime of farm work; etc. Birth Control Review, April 1932, p. 107

    On adultery:
    A woman’s physical satisfaction was more important than any marriage vow, Sanger believed. Birth Control in America, p. 11

    On marital sex:
    “The marriage bed is the most degenerating influence in the social order,” Sanger said. (p. 23) [Quite the opposite of God’s view on the matter: “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4)

    On abortion:
    “Criminal’ abortions arise from a perverted sex relationship under the stress of economic necessity, and their greatest frequency is among married women.” The Woman Rebel – No Gods, No Masters, May 1914, Vol. 1, No. 3.

    On eradicating ‘bad stocks':
    The goal of eugenicists is “to prevent the multiplication of bad stocks,” wrote Dr. Ernst Rudin in the April 1933 Birth Control Review (of which Sanger was editor). Another article exhorted Americans to “restrict the propagation of those physically, mentally and socially inadequate.”

    On the YMCA and YWCA:
    “…brothels of the Spirit and morgues of Freedom!”), The Woman Rebel – No Gods, No Masters, May 1914, Vol. 1, No. 3.

    On the Catholic Church’s view of contraception:
    “…enforce SUBJUGATION by TURNING WOMAN INTO A MERE INCUBATOR.” The Woman Rebel – No Gods, No Masters, May 1914, Vol. 1, No. 3.

    On motherhood:
    “I cannot refrain from saying that women must come to recognize there is some function of womanhood other than being a child-bearing machine.” What Every Girl Should Know, by Margaret Sanger (Max Maisel, Publisher, 1915) [Jesus said: “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep… for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed (happy) are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the breasts which never gave suck.” (Luke 23:24)]

  11. Nate Archer says:

    As if 329,445 lives isn’t a big deal.

  12. Winnie dell melanoma says:

    seems to me that it”s murder ; whether inside or outside the womb. We must protect the innocent, not the murderers.

  13. Kathleen says:

    Totally agree with you on this. Abortion is murder. Every single mother that kills their babies should be imprisoned for life or killed. That ought to stop abortion. At least we know that it works for other crime, right? Wrong is wrong. The women need to be punished and to fear the law and the law of God.

    In His grace

  14. Ralph says:

    Assuming that Kathleen’s comment is ironic. Hoping, actually. ” imprisoned for life or killed.” How far is that from sharia? Kill the killer. That will stop the killing. History proves that right. Pffffffttttttt

  15. Kathleen says:

    ok Ralph, you tell me, if abortion is wrong and should be illegal, what consequences should there be for the woman who does this abomination to her child and body? every other crime and thing that is ilegal has consequences, jail or death penalty. If you kill someone you go to jail or get the chair. So lets make abortion illegal but then lets not do anthyhing as a consequence?

  16. Brittany says:

    Love this blog post.
    Thank you so very much for this Kevin!

  17. DA says:

    Kathleen, I think you’re on to something. Since this a premeditated act of murder, but the “health professional” actually kills the child, maybe the “health professional” should go to the chair and the woman only charged as an accomplice. Since you “totally agree with this”, why don’t you pursue the death penalty. As a woman yourself, you would add credibility to your argument.

    After you’ve accomplished that, then you could start speaking out for the children.

  18. Isabella says:

    This article is horribly misleading. For one thing, this article assumes that Planned Parenthood is all about abortion, which is totally wrong. Its main purpose is to provide public health care and reproductive/sexual education. It is a one-stop shop that provides all different kinds of services, from STI tests to birth control to breast cancer screening. In fact, the money that the Komen foundation donated to Planned Parenthood went towards mammograms. They are also well known to provide these services to the underprivileged population. Take that away from them, and where else will they get such services?

    Also, this article does its fair share of distorting information to support the anti-abortion agenda.

    “Planned Parentood provided almost 1.5 million “emergency contraceptive kits.” This is a euphemism for the morning after pill, which works, in part, by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.” The keyword is PREVENTING. Pregnancy is first measured from the time the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus. A woman might have taken it if the person forgot to use other forms of contraception or the contraception fails for some reason. In any case the woman is not pregnant. How can a woman abort if she isn’t even pregnant?

    “But earlier in the report we read that these 11 million services were performed for not quite 3 million people. That means most people coming to Planned Parenthood received multiple services. A woman might come in for a pregnancy test, get tested for an STD, have abortion, and leave with contraceptives. Four services, one abortion. ”
    That combination is VERY unlikely. As a one-stop shop, and if I’m following what Planned Parenthood states in the PDF, a woman could get a STI test, breast exam, pap smear and order contraception. Four services without getting an abortion.

    “In that same year Planned Parenthood listed only 31,098 “prenatal services” and a meager 841 “adoption referals to other agencies.” Which means that if you walk into Planned Parenthood with an unborn baby you are 10 times more likely to get an abortion than prenatal screening and almost 400 times more likely to be offered an abortion than given an adoption referral.”
    Usually when people go to Planned Parenthood, the pregnant person has already made up her mind as to what to do with the embryo/fetus. If she had chosen adoption or to raise the baby then she wouldn’t have been in there in the first place! If you want to place the blame on someone blame the pregnant person, not the agency. And as for the abortion, I would rather have a person have an abortion done at a safe place, with little or no risk to the mother.

    I’m speaking for the other 97% who use Planned Parenthood for reasons other than abortion, especially for what it gives to the community.

  19. Mike says:

    Why is the author feels the need to inflate the number using his own little calculation to “prove” his point? One abortion is too many. Does the author knows that lying is also a sin and all sins are rebellion against God?

  20. Ralph says:

    Kathleen. Come now. If “thou shalt not kill” is absolute, then you do not kill in order to stop killing. Imprison? Are you really going to pay for that with your tax dollars? Or would you rather just kill and get it over with? If I steal, should my hand be cut off? If I lust, should my eyes be plucked out? What if You decree that it is wrong to believe in Allah, or practice witchcraft? Should I be put to death? Please, let’s be sane. And please dont speak of killing and sign a note “in his grace.”. There is no grace in your thinking. Smh

  21. Kk says:

    I agree with Isabella in the fact that most likely if a pregnant woman is walking in planned parenthood they most likely are there for a reason…No one can seriously believe that they PUSH abortions! I took one of my friends to a PP agency when she was pregnant..they not only did not PUSH abortion on her but they simply mentioned an abortion clinic and urged her to speak with their counselor about adoption!! She went in feeling like abortion was her only option and came out with 3 adoption referral agencies! That is hardly PUSHing for an abortion! Bottom was her choice..

  22. Kathleen says:

    DA, you have it the other way around, the “health professional” is the accomplice, the woman the criminal. She is the one going to the clinic, she is the one giving permission, she is the one willingly being sedated, she is the one making the decision. The “health professional” is only doing her bidding, nothing more.

    The clear consequence is that you have to kill the woman. She committed murder in the face of God and must be punished according to His law!

    Don’t people read the bible anymore?

  23. Dale G says:

    I sometimes wonder if the need for places like PP is us, as Christians dropping the ball on our responsibilities to reach out to the young women in need of help.

  24. Ralph says:

    Kathleen, hmmm let me follow this logic. Remember where Jesus says that one who hates has as good as committed murder in his heart, or likewise with adultery? So, shouldnt we just kill every woman who thinks of having an abortion? Your vision of the world is as far fom grace as imaginable. It must be ironic. Its nit possible to be on the level

  25. John Adkins says:

    This has really been bugging me.

    We conservatives are very quick to hate planned parenthood and abortion, but certainly we are not know for high adoption rates among us. We claim to hate abortion yet we do not adopt kids.

    We conservatives call abortioners murderers for killing innocent babies yet we do not have any problems electing people that drop bombs on innocent babies in Iraq, Afghanistan and soon Iran.

    Unless we adopt and takes care of poor struggling mothers, I really dont believe that we should call ourselves “pro-life” because being pro-life is so much more then just being anti-abortion.

  26. Dale G says:

    Thank you John. That was very well put. Jesus died for our sins.

  27. S Kalvala says:

    These “statistics” could be just as unreliable as who you are accusing. Regardless of what these numbers show, they still indicate PP is giving money for STD testing, cancer screenings and other valuable resources. A cut in their funding means a cut in important services. Find another organization that offers free/low cost cancer screenings, STD testings, etc. and then you’ve got an argument. Till then, PP does more good than harm. Before you call yourselfs “pro-life” learn what that actually means. PP saves lives.

  28. John says:

    Here are my thoughts about the ” … only 3% … ” canard: a much more accurate assessment of “the numbers” should be based on what the number of ACTUAL pregnancies PP dealt with in the 2009 stats.

    From their own data for the year, they acknowledge 322K abortions.

    And from that data, you could also extrapolate (from the number of “other women’s health care services including pre-natal care”) that another 80K COULD HAVE BEEN actual pregnancies.

    So, you get 400K pregnancies and 322K abortions. Doing the math in my head, that could mean that upwards of 80% of cases at PP involving a pregnancy ended –indirectly or directly– in the patient having an abortion.

    As always, the devil is in the details!

  29. James M. says:

    To borrow a line from friends over at STR: “If the unborn is not a human being, no justification for abortion is necessary. However, if the unborn is a human being, no justification for abortion is adequate.”

    With respect to the point being made in the post, if one is O.K. with PP being responsible for over 1/4 of the abortions in this country, then of course they will push back when someone questions their numbers. But while some strain their gnats, may the church continue to rise against this injustice on its various fronts.

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  31. Samuel James says:

    PP and abortion advocates consistently refuse to have the debate about personhood, because they have lost and will lose it again. The only reason abortion is legal in this country is because spin doctors have sold the image of pro lifers as patriarchal oppressors of women (a product proudly offered by our President). There is no legitimate philosophical, religious, or societal argument in favor of abortion. Only fear mongering and straw man.

  32. Melody says:

    Any woman that has gone into PP pregnant, ME, knows that they are about abortion. If you are in high school you get tremendous pressure to get an abortion. SO this garbage about how it is about women’s health is spin for don’t take away my option of getting rid of a problem child couched in language that makes it sound like someone cares about more than that.

    We have health care now remember? It’s a bogus argument, an obsolete argument. PP has been satan’s tool for too long and I am absolutely sick to death of seeing people who claim to believe in God as the author of life being okay with destroying that life.

    I recently read a report on a clinic written up for not referring patients when their ultrasounds for abortions showed shadows of other things going on or when they had dangerously high blood pressure. They are not about womens health.

  33. Allie says:

    “Planned Parentood provided almost 1.5 million “emergency contraceptive kits.” This is a euphemism for the morning after pill, which works, in part, by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.”

    … And? If a fertilized egg failing to implant bothers you that much, then I have some bad news for you about how often that happens naturally.

  34. David says:

    I couldn’t get the chart link to work. Thank you for the article, that’s actually something I was looking for after hearing PP statistics that they released. Thankful you addressed it.

  35. Kelsey says:

    Very good read. Where did you get your numbers and statistics?

  36. The link for the chart yields a 403 forbidden. It’s the catholicvote dot org link. Is anyone else having trouble seeing it? Thanks Kevin for the detail and journalism on this article. It gives me ample information to produce an informed dialog for the church.

  37. j marshall says:

    My Bible focuses on Love not hate. Many women in rural areas have no healthcare. Planned Parenthood is the only option they have. instead of crucifying the women or those who are trying to help we need to improve medical care for all women and Men
    My Jesus is about loving not hating. In many rural areas there is no health care available in the community. Planned Parenthood is the only option some women have. Instead of crucifying the women and the people trying to help these people need access to health care in their community.

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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