Lessons from the PPFA Annual Report, and Other Events
By Jim Sedlak
As we returned from the Memorial Day holiday last week, we were greeted with the much-awaited release of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s 2015-2016 Annual Report. This report had been delayed for five months as it was rewritten to reflect the fact that Trump won the election—not Hillary as Planned Parenthood assumed.
When these reports arrive, everyone first looks at the numbers. What kind of year was it for Planned Parenthood? Did it expand or retract? How many babies did it kill through medication and surgical abortions? How much taxpayer money did it get?
We are no different from others, and, in a matter of a couple hours, we were the first to issue a press release to make the basic information available to the general public. The story was the same as it has been for years: Planned Parenthood killed more babies and received more taxpayer money while losing 100,000 customers and performing less so-called health services in just about every category. You can read all the statistics here. (NOTE: Although the financial numbers in the PPFA Annual Report were from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, the service numbers were from October 1, 2014, to September 30, 2015.)
One statistic immediately jumped out at us. Last year, the number of manual breast exams (Planned Parenthood does not do mammograms) had been reduced so much that the number of abortions (328,348) was actually greater than the number of breast exams (321,700). This is incredible. Looking at just the last 10 years, breast exams have gone from 882,000 down to 321,000, and PAP tests have plummeted from 1.07 million to just 294,000. Remember, this is the organization that portrays itself as one helping women detect cancer. As my friends in New York would say, what chutzpah!
Cause of the decline
In looking at the new data and comparing it to previous years, we see an underlying cause of the drop in Planned Parenthood’s overall services. This cause does not pop out at you when looking at just a year or two of comparisons, but it becomes obvious when examining things over a 10- or 20-year period. Planned Parenthood’s so-called health services are falling because the organization is simply operating fewer and fewer medical facilities.
Ten years ago when it was doing almost two million cancer screenings, PP operated 817 medical facilities and saw an average of 3,844 unique clients at each facility. In 2015, Planned Parenthood still saw an average of 3,721 unique clients at each of its medical facilities, but it only had 645 facilities. It stands to reason that when you close 172 facilities and don’t attract more people to your still existing facilities, your services will go down dramatically.
Why abortions at PP are not declining
On the other side of the coin, 10 years ago Planned Parenthood committed abortions at 232 of its facilities and did an average of 1,249 abortions at each of those facilities. In 2015, the average number of abortions at each abortion facility fell to 922, but Planned Parenthood increased the number of abortion facilities to 356. Even though the abortions are decreasing across the nation, Planned Parenthood clearly figured out it could offset the decline of abortion clients at each location by opening more abortion locations. It was during these years that PPFA headquarters issued an edict that every affiliate had to have at least one facility that committed abortions.
Unlike so-called health services, Planned Parenthood is dedicated to growing its abortion business. Ten years ago, 28 percent of Planned Parenthood facilities committed abortions. In 2015, that number increased to 55 percent.
Necessary but not sufficient
As we examine the latest annual report, we must ask: How do we put an end to Planned Parenthood, once and for all?
Many groups, including ALL, are currently focusing on the taxpayer funding of the organization. According to this latest report, PP receives $554.6 million of its $1.354 billion total income from the American taxpayer. That is 41 percent of its income. Putting an end to this gravy train will certainly hurt the organization, but it is probably not sufficient to close it down.
First of all, Planned Parenthood reports it has $1.8 billion in total assets and $1.5 billion in net assets. Clearly, with careful management and judicious spending decisions, Planned Parenthood could survive until the next presidential election—and perhaps beyond.
Second, Planned Parenthood has been able to attract, and hold onto, the support of the wealthiest of the wealthy—Gates, Turner, Buffet, Bloomberg—and many of Hollywood’s rich and famous. So there are sources of funding for the near term.
Planned Parenthood reports that it added 164,000 individual contributors over the last year. While many of these may be short-term donors, this speaks to the power of Planned Parenthood’s public relations machine to ward off undercover videos, congressional hearings, referrals to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution by both the House and Senate committees, and much more.
Finally, in a weird turn of events, Planned Parenthood is blaming many of its latest clinic closings on Obamacare and its low reimbursement rates for PP customers who used to be self-pay and who are now covered by mandatory insurance. The current Congress is actively trying to do away with much of Obamacare and especially its forced insurance. Although this will help individual Americans, it could also inadvertently reduce PP’s financial pressure.
As we look at Planned Parenthood’s current position and what has been successful in lowering its influence, it is obvious that we must continue our efforts to take all taxpayer money from the organization—at the federal, state, and local levels. We also must continue to take the action needed to close Planned Parenthood’s medical facilities—especially its medication and surgical abortion facilities.
While our political groups and elected officials take care of the defunding of Planned Parenthood, the majority of local people need to focus on closing the local Planned Parenthood.
Necessary and sufficient
After fighting Planned Parenthood for over 30 years and seeing some success, American Life League understands that the most important part of any local fight against Planned Parenthood is prayer. A solid base of prayer, faith in God, and a willingness to put that prayer into action are the foundations of successful efforts against Planned Parenthood.
I’ve previously written about how to close down Planned Parenthood facilities (see the Wednesday STOPP Report from 4-05-2017 at stopp.org/wsr.php) and the absolute need for prayer. That truth was driven home for me again last week as I learned of the closing of three Planned Parenthood abortion facilities in California. Including these three, the total number of abortion facilities to close in California after a prayerful visit of the Missionary Image is now at four.
When talking with a dedicated pro-lifer in California after the closing, I asked what she thought caused them. She told me:
Last year I was praying and I asked the Blessed Mother why there are so many abortion facilities in California. Her answer (as I felt it) was that there are not enough people praying. So we brought the image to all the facilities, even those where no one was praying, and the closures have begun. These closures in California are very significant as Planned Parenthood reports 17 percent of its facilities are in that state and these facilities see 35 percent of all Planned Parenthood unique customers.
As the recent annual report from Planned Parenthood shows, when local Planned Parenthood clinics close, women, especially teens, are spared the lies of the organization. Customer numbers drop and facilities close. As a result of prayers and action, Planned Parenthood has no medical facilities in North Dakota and Wyoming. Only 48 states left to go.
So let’s be encouraged by the latest PP annual report. Despite a small increase in abortions, Planned Parenthood is dwindling in numbers of facilities, and, most importantly, in its number of clients. Let’s continue our intense praying and our education of all who will listen. With our action and the help of God, Planned Parenthood will soon close all of its facilities.
Jim Sedlak is executive director of American Life League, founder of STOPP International, and host of a weekly radio talk show on RadioMaria.US. He has been fighting Planned Parenthood since 1985.