Is Planned Parenthood a critical source of women’s health care for our state and our country? Would defunding Planned Parenthood hurt our American women, and deny them the services they need?
To answer this, there are three important things we need to consider:
1. Where do most women obtain their health care services?
There are about 63 million women of reproductive age (15-44) living in the United States, according to the Guttmacher Institute. As stated on their website, Planned Parenthood serves about 2.7 million men and women annually. This means that about 4.3% of American women go to Planned Parenthood.
In Illinois, there are about 2.6 million women of child-bearing age, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Illinois Planned Parenthood states on their website that they serve 60,000 men and women per year. This means that 2.3% of Illinois women use Planned Parenthood’s services.
So where do the other 97% of women in Illinois and 95% of women nationally go to receive health care?
Community care centers, federally qualified health centers, and other women’s clinics.
It seems to be that a large majority of women look outside Planned Parenthood for their health care needs.
2. Where do women receive the best quality of care?
A quality health care provider knows that women are more than just their ovaries. They treat the entire woman, including but not limited to their reproductive systems. They’ll provide her with comprehensive, safe, and honest services that address her most essential needs, as well as a variety of others.
According to Mayo Clinic, the top causes of death for women are heart disease, stroke, and cancer. To treat these major concerns, community care centers and federally qualified health centers provide women with mammograms, immunizations, heart screenings, and osteoporosis and diabetes care. They also offer comprehensive reproductive services and a variety of other amenities to meet their needs.
So what does Planned Parenthood provide?
Planned Parenthood provides abortion and other reproductive services. Contrary to popular thought, they do not provide mammograms.
The figure below shows a list of the services provided by federally qualified health centers compared to Planned Parenthood’s services.
Charted below are the services offered by federally qualified health centers compared to Planned Parenthood’s services. The information was taken from the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and compiled by the Alliance Defending Freedom.
|Healthcare Service Provided||Planned Parenthood||Federally Qualified Health Centers|
|Emergency First Responder Care||√|
|Diabetes and Glaucoma Screenings||√|
|Pediatric Eye, Ear, Dental Screenings||√|
|Cardiovascular Blood Tests||√|
|Bone Mass Measurement||√|
|Nurse on Staff||√|
|Manual Breast Exams||√||√|
At the same time, no Illinois Planned Parenthood is licensed by the state, according to the Department of Public Health. Planned Parenthood’s unlicensed abortion providers insert surgical tools into women’s bodies, and yet their facilities have not received a health and safety inspection in 16 years.
In addition, a recent report by the Alliance Defending Freedom has found $12.6 million in waste, abuse, and potentially fraudulent overbilling by Planned Parenthood in nine states. Illinois Planned Parenthood has also been accused by the state of overbilling $387,000. Planned Parenthood of Illinois repaid the state $367,000 to settle the findings of overbilling and failure to document services.
Should a health center with inadequate services, questionable safety standards, and a track record of mishandling money, be supported by our federal dollars?
3. What will happen if Planned Parenthood is defunded?
There are 700 Planned Parenthood facilities in the United States. Meanwhile, there are 13,540 other comprehensive care clinics located around the country, according to a study by the Alliance Defending Freedom. That means there are 20 comprehensive care clinics for every Planned Parenthood facility, nationwide.
In Illinois, there are 16 Planned Parenthood facilities. There are also 670 alternative care clinics located throughout the state. This means that for every Planned Parenthood facility in Illinois, there are about 41 alternatives.
So what if Planned Parenthood disappeared? In this video, Students for Life of America shows us what would happen:
If Planned Parenthood was suddenly eliminated, community care centers and federally qualified health centers would provide women with numerous alternatives. This would spark growth and development for other women’s health care centers as well.
Now, do we need Planned Parenthood?
Based on the facts, it’s pretty fair to say that our state and our country will not suffer if federal funding is taken away from Planned Parenthood. A vast majority of American women do not go to Planned Parenthood, but seek outside care. Planned Parenthood also does not provide the quality, holistic health care services which other federally qualified women’s clinics do.
Furthermore, Planned Parenthood is not “critical to women’s health care.” Women have hundreds of alternative options that are widely available throughout the country. Shouldn’t women be able to decide with their own money which health centers stay open, rather than having one particular chain (Planned Parenthood) reinforced by the federal government?
It seems to be clear – Illinois does not need Planned Parenthood.