Q: How much of Planned Parenthood’s services are dedicated to abortions? Does the federal government fund those procedures?
A: Abortions represent 3 percent of total services provided by Planned Parenthood, and roughly 10 percent of its clients received an abortion. The group does receive federal funding, but the money cannot be used for abortions by law.
We received several questions on this topic during the recent budget debate in Congress, after Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl claimed this month on the Senate floor that "well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does" is provide abortion services. That figure was wildly incorrect. Planned Parenthood says only 3 percent of its total services in 2009 were abortions. The other 97 percent of services were for contraception, treatment and tests for sexually transmitted diseases, cancer screenings, and other women’s health services.
Here’s a chart from a March 2011 fact sheet, which reported that the group performed about 11.4 million total services.
Kyl’s far-off claim was mocked by comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and Kyl’s office later walked back the statement, telling CNN that "[h]is remark was not intended to be a factual statement but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, an organization that receives millions in taxpayer dollars, does subsidize abortions." That statement, too, prompted ribbing by Stewart and Colbert. But the comedic clips apparently did not make it to the inboxes of many of our readers, who sent us questions about whether or not Planned Parenthood does little more than provide abortions, and whether or not taxpayer money goes to pay for them.
Planned Parenthood’s chart shows that abortions made up 3 percent of its total services. Another way to measure the group’s abortion services, however, is to divide the total number of abortions by the number of clients. For example, Planned Parenthood said that it “provided nearly 11.4 million medical services for 3 million people” in 2009. Its 2011 fact sheet says it performed 332,278 abortion procedures in 2009. That would mean that roughly one out of every 10 clients received an abortion.
Planned Parenthood’s 2008-2009 annual report states that it received $363.2 million in "Government Grants and Contracts." (See page 29.) That’s about one-third of its total revenues for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009.
However, not all of that money is from the federal government. Planned Parenthood’s government funding comes from two sources: the Title X Family Planning Program and Medicaid. About $70 million is Title X funding, Planned Parenthood spokesman Tait Sye told us. The rest — about $293 million — is Medicaid funding, which includes both federal and state money.
But Planned Parenthood cannot use the money it receives from the federal government for abortions anyway. According to the Department of Health and Human Service’s website, "by law, Title X funds may not be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning." Medicaid funding is restricted by the Hyde Amendment to only abortion cases involving rape, incest or endangerment to the life of the mother. Some states use their own funds under Medicaid to go beyond that. Seventeen states and, until recently, the District of Columbia pay for "medically necessary" abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The federal budget deal now bans Washington, D.C., from using its funds to pay for abortions.
– Lori Robertson and Michael Morse
Planned Parenthood. Annual Report 2008-2009.
Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood Services. Fact Sheet. Mar 2011.
"CNN Newsroom." Transcript. CNN. 8 Apr 2011.
Guttmacher Institute. State Funding of Abortion Under Medicaid. Policy Brief. 1 Apr 2011.
DeBonis, Mike. "D.C. abortion funding: the facts." The Washington Post. 11 Apr 2011.