Written by Rebekah Durham, 2L, Univ. of Cincinnati College of Law
Planned Parenthood recently released its 2019-2020 annual report, containing information and statistics about the organization’s work between late 2018 and 2020. Although the report talks at length about the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the data reported is from the previous fiscal year. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Abortion Still Dominates Pregnancy Services.
The report begins by detailing the medical services, including birth control, STI testing, and cancer testing services, that were provided by Planned Parenthood from October 2018 to September 2019.
Within Planned Parenthood’s medical services, the organization reported 354,871 abortions done in the 2018-19 fiscal year, nearly half of all abortions done in the United States that year. This number formed by far the biggest category of pregnancy resolution services, far higher than adoption referrals (2,667), prenatal services (8,626), or miscarriage care (2,110).
2. Planned Parenthood is Going Digital and Global.
The report noted several initiatives prompted by the pandemic, including a focus on telehealth appointments, mobile apps for information and communication, and funding of the organization’s affiliates. Planned Parenthood has developed and launched at-home sex education programming in multiple languages and an online Abortion Service Locator that tells users how and where to obtain an abortion.
Planned Parenthood Global continues its focus on Africa and Latin America. In both regions, social media and online initiatives were emphasized. This fits with last year’s report which laid out an initiative targeting Spanish-speaking women here in the United States. This year’s report noted that globally, 45 “laws, policies, or regulations” were added or changed.
3. Keep Watching the Courts.
In the United States, the report discussed Planned Parenthood’s role in litigation and the courts. First, it celebrated the striking down of Louisiana’s hospital-admission privilege requirement for abortion doctors, which it termed “medically unnecessary targeted regulation.” Looking forward, the report mentioned “approximately three dozen” cases that Planned Parenthood and its affiliates are actively litigating, seeking to overturn various state and federal regulation of abortions. Lastly, it discussed Planned Parenthood’s efforts to prevent enforcement of the Trump administration’s rule that prevented Title X funding from going to organizations that gave abortion referrals. The Supreme Court just granted certiorari on several of the Title X cases and will hear oral arguments this spring.
4. Abortion is Big Business.
Planned Parenthood reported revenue of $295 million for itself and almost $1.5 billion for its affiliates. Of that $1.5 billion going to affiliates, $618 million was reported as government funding. Out of a total of $1.57 billion in expenses between Planned Parenthood and its affiliates, by far the largest expense reported was “medical services,” which accounted for $966 million. Other expenses included sexuality education, public policy, advocacy, and health care support.
Overall, the biggest focus of the report was on digital and virtual initiatives, particularly targeted at young people. Both globally and domestically, significant efforts were made to reach young people and push for pro-abortion awareness and advocacy through social media campaigns. These initiatives, as well as virtual access to contraception and abortion services, are emphasized both through 2020 and looking into the future.
Abortion is not healthcare. Women should be empowered and supported, not told that they need abortion to live fulfilled lives.