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What Planned Parenthood Really Does

Updated on February 4, 2019

Planned Parenthood has always been a controversial organization. A large number of people believe that Planned Parenthood primarily performs abortions. So, does Planned Parenthood actually perform abortions? If so, how many?

Before we get into that, we need to know the rough statistics of abortion. According to The CDC (Center for Disease Control), 638,169 legal abortions were reported in 2015. Of these abortions, 91.1% were performed at 13 weeks or less of gestation, 7.6% were performed at 14 to 20 weeks, and 1.3% were performed at 21 weeks or later. 24.6% of these abortions were medically induced rather than surgical at 8 weeks gestation or less.

The Guttmacher Institute conducted a survey of 1,160 women who received abortions in 2004. Of these 1,160 women, 89% gave at least two reasons and 72% gave at least three. They found that the average number of reasons was four, and some women even gave up to eight reasons.

According to this survey 74% of women had abortions because they would dramatically affect their lives, 73% because they were not financially stable, 48% due to having relationship problems or being single, 32% weren't ready, 25% were ashamed or didn't want people knowing, 22% did not feel mature enough, 14% because their husband/partner weren't ready, 13% were because of possible health complications affecting the fetus, 12% because of their own physical health, 6% because of their parents, 1% because they were victims of rape, and less than 0.5% because of incest.

Of these categories, 38% were because it would cause complications with school/work, 32% because of other dependents or children, 42% because they were unmarried, 28% could not afford to care for a baby, 23% could not afford basic necessities, 22% were unemployed, 19% would have to find a new home, 14% did not have enough support from their significant other, 12% because their significant other was unemployed, 8% were on welfare, 19% because they were unsure of their relationship, 12% because they couldn't/didn't want to marry their partner, 11% because they were single, 11% because their relationship may come to an end, and 2% because their significant other was abusive toward them and/or their children.

Since we now know more about abortion itself, let's get to the matter at hand. What services does Planned Parenthood provide? According to their 2017-2018 annual report, 48.7% of the services they provided were STI testing/treatment, 27.1% were contraception, 13.4% were women's health services like PAP smears, 6.3% were cancer screenings, like breast exams, and prevention, 3.4% were abortions, and 1.1% were classified as other. 357 out of over 600 of their health clinics offer medical abortion, which is performed at 9 weeks or less of gestation.

In conclusion, the percentage of abortions provided by Planned Parenthood is incredibly small in comparison to their services that can prevent unwanted pregnancies or even save women's lives.

© 2019 Hope Parsons

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