At Planned Parenthood, 'women's health' often does not include prenatal care

By Matt Hadro

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Scalding new charges from a pro-life investigative group say that despite Planned Parenthood’s claims to be a premier women’s health care provider, the organization generally does not offer prenatal care.

“Planned Parenthood says it’s a champion of women’s health care, yet prenatal care, which is an essential service for expectant mothers, is virtually nonexistent,” said Lila Rose, president and founder of the group Live Action.

The group released a video Tuesday morning that it says will be the first in an “Abortion Corporation” series of reports investigating Planned Parenthood.

The video features audio of clinic workers allegedly telling Live Action representatives posing as potential clients that, contrary to advertisement, the clinics do not provide prenatal care.

“No, we don’t do prenatal services. I mean, it’s called ‘Planned Parenthood,’ I know it’s kind of deceiving,” one clinic worker at a Merrillville, Ind. clinic allegedly told Live Action.

“No, see, we don’t see pregnant women as a way of giving prenatal care. We see pregnant women, um, you know, if they are considering other options,” a Santa Fe, N.M. clinic worker allegedly told the group.

The report was conducted through phone calls, undercover visits to clinics, and investigations from the Live Action team. Inquiries were made of 97 clinics at 41 Planned Parenthood affiliates around the country. Only five of them said they offered prenatal care.

“We found that at all these facilities that prenatal care is virtually non-existent for mothers,” Rose stated.  

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion organization, performing around 330,000 abortions annually. The group also offers contraceptives and abortifacients to clients, and on a much smaller scale, performs other services like cancer screenings and pap smears.

Despite the group’s claims, Planned Parenthood does not primarily offer “women’s health care,” but is rather a lobby for “abortion on-demand,” opposing even partial-birth abortion bans, Rose charged.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, said in 2011 that “prenatal care” was part of “the kinds of services that folks depend on Planned Parenthood for.”

Yet as the group Americans United for Life noted in 2015, the number of prenatal services Planned Parenthood claimed to have offered fell drastically from 2009 to 2013, according to its annual reports. The organization reported offering 40,489 prenatal services in 2009, but only 18,684 in 2013.

And Richards has stopped touting the organization’s record on prenatal services in her interviews on why Planned Parenthood should continue receiving federal funding. Speaking with the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah last week, Richards discussed the services Planned Parenthood offers as including “well-woman visits,” “cancer screenings,” and STI/STD testing and treatment, but made no mention of prenatal care.

The organization has been at the center of controversy in recent years. A previous Live Action investigation showed clinics in six different states failing to report suspicious cases of statutory rape of minors seeking abortions.

Another investigation by the Charlotte Lozier Institute and Alliance Defending Freedom showed that, according to federal and state audits, taxpayer dollars were funding abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics, despite federal regulations which forbid federal funding of abortion.  

And in 2015, the Center for Medical Progress aired a series of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors discussing prices of fetal tissue from aborted babies with investigators posing as representatives of a tissue procurement company.

A movement is underway in Congress to strip the organization of federal funding and redirect the money to community health centers that do not perform abortions. President Donald Trump has voiced his support for such a measure.

Planned Parenthood claims that abortions account for only three percent of the total services they provide, although fact-checkers – at the Washington Post among others – have taken issue with that claim, pointing out that Planned Parenthood counts each small procedure like a pregnancy test or a pap smear as a service provided, but abortion accounts for much greater cost and revenue for the organization.

And while the organization performs only two percent of cancer screenings in the U.S. and one percent of pap smear tests, it performs 30 percent of abortions in the country, Live Action says.

“Our investigators who wanted to keep their babies were turned away by 92 out of 97 Planned Parenthood centers. It’s clear that despite its claims, abortion is the priority and the only option for pregnant women that visit Planned Parenthood,” Rose said.

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