FACT CHECK: Did Planned Parenthood Perform More Abortions Last Year Than Any Year Since 2011-2012?

Aryssa Damron | Fact Check Reporter

Alexandra DeSanctis, a staff writer at National Review, claimed Jan. 21 that last year, Planned Parenthood performed more abortions than any year since 2011-2012.

Verdict: True

Planned Parenthood performed 332,757 abortions in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, a small increase over the past few years. The number of abortion procedures was last higher in 2011-2012, when Planned Parenthood performed 333,964 abortions.

Fact Check:

Every year, Planned Parenthood releases an annual report that details the services provided by the organization. These services include STI tests and treatments, emergency contraception, abortions, adoption referrals and cancer screenings.

Abortion is the most controversial service provided by Planned Parenthood. Dr. Leana Wen, the new president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), said recently that its “core mission is providing, protecting and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care.”

Data published by Planned Parenthood show that the number of abortions performed in the 2017-2018 fiscal year was the highest since 2011-2012.

Planned Parenthood performed 332,757 abortions during 2017-2018 – 11,373 more abortions than were performed in the previous year. Growth has been largely flat over the past six years.

Planned Parenthood offers two types of abortions: in-clinic abortion and the abortion pill.

The abortion rate in the U.S. reached a historic low in 2014, according to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute. The organization estimates that 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 were performed, down from 16.3 in 1973 and a record high of 29.3 in the early 1980s. Approximately 926,200 abortions were performed in 2014, according to Guttmacher, down from 1.1 million in 2011.

While abortion procedures performed by Planned Parenthood have been roughly flat in recent years, the total number of services provided by Planned Parenthood has declined. The organization provided 10.9 million services in 2011-2012, compared to 9.7 million in 2017-2018.

Cancer screening and prevention services – which include breast exams and pap tests – have fallen sharply. In 2011-2012, 1.3 million services were provided. About 600,000 were provided in 2017-2018, a 53 percent decline over the six-year period.

Breast exams and pap tests are performed to detect early signs of breast and cervical cancer, respectively. More than 70,000 women had cancer or abnormalities detected due to these screenings in 2017, according to Planned Parenthood. The organization does not perform mammograms, which are x-ray examinations that help find small lumps in the breast.

Planned Parenthood also provides contraception, though these services have fallen in recent years as well. In the 2017-18 fiscal year, the organization provided 2.6 million contraceptive services, such as birth control pills, emergency contraceptive kits and vasectomies.

That figure is down from 3.4 million services provided in 2011-2012.

Not all services have fallen in recent years. The number of STI tests and treatments has risen 5 percent over the six-year period, and adoption referrals have risen 23 percent.

Planned Parenthood service numbers vary from year to year for a variety of reasons,” a spokesperson for PPFA told The Daily Caller. “Some of this variation is due to changes in clinical recommendations, but some is just natural fluctuation in what our patients need.”

An estimated 60 million abortions have been performed nationally since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.

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Aryssa Damron

Fact Check Reporter