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No, US nonprofit Planned Parenthood provides many reproductive health services to women – not just abortion

“We know that the only ‘service’ Planned Parenthood provides is abortion, killing babies daily!” reads a message first posted on Facebook in July 2020.

Planned Parenthood is a US-based nonprofit that provides reproductive healthcare

The message includes a video, captioned: “Planned Parenthood DOES NOT Provide Prenatal Services.” In the video an unidentified woman speaks in what appears to be a lecture hall. “The fact is, Planned Parenthood does not provide prenatal services,” she says.

Planned Parenthood defines prenatal healthcare as “when you get checkups from a doctor, nurse, or midwife throughout your pregnancy. It helps keep you and your future baby healthy.”

The woman claims that an anti-abortion group had called several Planned Parenthood clinics to ask about their prenatal services only to be told that the clinics do not offer the services. 

“In fact, if you look at Planned Parenthood’s own annual reports, 94% of pregnant women who walk into a Planned Parenthood will receive an abortion. This is in their own annual reports.” 

The video resurfaced after a draft US Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade was leaked in early May 2022.

Roe v Wade was a landmark court case that in 1973 legalised access to abortion across the US. The new decision, if final, would allow each US state to individually decide whether to restrict or ban abortion.  

The video has been circulating on Facebook in South Africa and the US. 

Is abortion really the only reproductive health service Planned Parenthood provides? And do the nonprofit’s annual reports show that 94% of pregnant women who walk into their clinics will receive an abortion? We checked.

PlanParen_False

Planned Parenthood clinics provided 8,626 prenatal services in 2019/20

The most recent Planned Parenthood annual report is for the 2019/20 financial year. It provides a detailed breakdown of the services the organisation provided during the year.

According to the report, Planned Parenthood clinics provided 10,374,069 services in total. Of these, 52% were treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted infection. Contraception made up 25% of services provided. Abortions made up 3% of services.

Its clinics also provided 8,626 prenatal services, and 2,667 adoption referral services. 

Only some Planned Parenthood clinics provide prenatal care. Those that don’t refer patients to clinics and other healthcare providers that do. And Planned Parenthood representative Elizabeth Clark reportedly told fact-checking organisation Politifact that the organisation does not record how many pregnant patients are referred to outside health organisations for prenatal care. 

Their report does not state anywhere that “94% of pregnant women who walk [in]…will receive an abortion.”

94% abortion figure from anti-abortion group

In fact, the 94% figure does not come from Planned Parenthood at all.

Instead, it’s from the anti-abortion group Susan B Anthony List. The original factsheet with the figure is no longer available online but was reported by other outlets. 

The organisation took figures from Planned Parenthood’s 2013/14 annual report and compared the number of abortions provided to the number of prenatal services and adoption referral services, grouped under “pregnancy services”. It found that 95% of “pregnancy services” were abortions. 

But this is not true. “Pregnancy services” is not a category that appears in Planned Parenthood’s reports. And their most recent report does not give the number of women who were pregnant and seeking other services. Other services by its clinics include cancer screening and prevention, contraceptive services, pregnancy tests, well-women exams, and treatment for urinary tract infections. 

Planned Parenthood counts each service individually. For example, if a single patient goes to the same clinic for a pregnancy test, contraceptive services and prenatal services, they will be counted three times in the organisation’s annual statistics. 

While not all Planned Parenthood clinics provide prenatal services, the claim that the organisation does not provide prenatal services, and only provides abortions, is false.

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