7 ways Planned Parenthood misleads women through deceptive marketing

Pro-abortion state Attorneys General (AGs) are suing pro-life pregnancy centers for “false and deceptive” marketing in places like New Jersey, New York, and California. City council ordinances have targeted pregnancy help centers as well, parroting the claims mouthed by a slew of pro-abortion organizations. They claim that these centers (which offer most, if not all, services for free, including baby items, parenting classes, and more) are lying to women, tricking them into keeping their babies, and deceiving them by connecting them with doctors who offer progesterone in an effort to counteract the effects of mifepristone (the first drug in the abortion pill regimen) — a treatment often referred to as “abortion pill reversal.”

At the same time, Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities have, for decades, openly targeted girls and women for abortion using deceptive marketing.

Live Action’s past undercover investigations revealed medically inaccurate abortion counseling was taking place at several abortion facilities, including Planned Parenthood. One Planned Parenthood client/actor was told that, at 6-8 weeks pregnant, her baby had “no arms, no legs, no heart, no head, no brain,” as well as no “identifiable parts.” Instead, it was just “fetal matter.”

Yet, materials published by the National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood regarding prenatal development reveal identifiable body parts, even after a baby has been dismembered by abortion.

So, what are some of the main ways Planned Parenthood deceives women and girls? Here are seven of them.

Deception #1: Redefining when life begins

Planned Parenthood deliberately avoids using humanizing terms for preborn children when selling abortion, despite referring to the preborn human as a “baby” as far back as 1952.

This was years before Planned Parenthood decided to commit abortions.

Planned Parenthood abortionists know and even sometimes admit they are ending the life of a living human being, so why do they deceptively hide this from their clients by referring to the child in the womb as “the pregnancy”?

A preborn baby’s life begins when sperm and egg join in a process known as fertilization, but Big Abortion (through propagandist organizations like the pro-abortion American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or ACOG) has redefined the beginning of life as “implantation” to suit their deceptive marketing ends — and their bottom lines.

Planned Parenthood has also changed the definition of the beginning of life, and today, claims online that “Pregnancy begins when the ball of cells attaches to the lining of your uterus. This is called implantation.” Yet, Planned Parenthood’s white supremacist founder, Margaret Sanger, once admitted in her book, “Family Limitation,” that “Any attempt to interfere with the development of the fertilized ovum is called an abortion.”

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger in Family Limitation fertilized ovum

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger in Family Limitation fertilized ovum

And Planned Parenthood’s 1951 “The Gift of Life” booklet tells readers “If one of the male sperm meets and unites with an egg cell, a new life begins.”

Planned Parenthood booklet Gift of Life

Planned Parenthood booklet Gift of Life

In 1965, Dr. Alan F. Guttmacher, who led Planned Parenthood to commit abortion, co-published a book with one of Planned Parenthood’s VPs, Frederick Jaffe, titled “Planning your Family.” On page 36, after Guttmacher and Jaffe explain the process of fertilization, they write, “Fertilization, then, has taken place; a baby has been conceived. After conception occurs, the egg attaches itself to the wall of the womb where it grows nine months until the baby is ready to be born.”

In Guttmacher’s 1947 book, “The Story of Human Birth,” he wrote, “The life of the foetus begins at the moment of fertilization, when a single cell of the male… fuses with a single cell of the female…”

Despite the scientific fact that life begins at the moment of fertilization, 12 years later, Guttmacher dismissed the humanity of the preborn child. In a panel discussion moderated by Richard D. Lamm in 1969, Guttmacher squared off with psychiatrist Frank Ayd Jr., and falsely claimed that “a fetus is until birth is a potential.”

Deception #2: Changing terminology depending on the ‘wantedness’ of the preborn child

On Planned Parenthood’s “How Pregnancy Happens” webpage, the corporation’s video clearly shows the embryo inside the pregnant mother.

Planned Parenthood pregnancy video shows the embryo 3

Planned Parenthood pregnancy video shows the embryo 3

But when marketing abortion, illustrations of a human embryo or fetus disappear — and Planned Parenthood instead refers to the preborn child as the “pregnancy.”

“Abortion is a medical procedure that ends a pregnancy,” according to Planned Parenthood’s website. And while technically this is true, birth also ‘ends a pregnancy’. So what, then, is the difference between birth and abortion if they both end a pregnancy? Planned Parenthood never states that abortion ends a pregnancy by intentionally and directly killing a growing, living, human being in the womb.

Cleveland Clinic’s website defines a pregnancy as “when a fetus grows inside your uterus. Pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks and is split into three trimesters that each last around 13 weeks. Getting prenatal care is essential to a healthy pregnancy.” They go on to write, “Pregnancy refers to a time when you have a fetus (or more than one) developing in your uterus.”

Cleveland Clinic website pregnancy definition

Cleveland Clinic website pregnancy definition

Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, does not simply refer to pregnancy as a state of being, or a time in which one has a preborn child or “fetus” growing in the uterus. Instead, Planned Parenthood’s medication abortion and in-clinic or surgical abortion web pages both refer to the child in the womb as “the pregnancy.” This is a deceptive euphemism.

As you can see from the screenshots below, Planned Parenthood states that abortion “ends a pregnancy” (using “pregnancy” to denote the state of having a fetus in one’s womb) and then states in the next paragraph that abortion “works by using suction to take a pregnancy out of your uterus” (using “pregnancy” to denote the fetus itself). Repeatedly, Planned Parenthood alternately uses “pregnancy” in both ways on its website. A woman cannot be pregnant with a “pregnancy,” and this is clearly a euphemism meant to deceive women and dehumanize the human being that is in the womb.

Planned Parenthood defines pregnancy using deceptive marketing

Planned Parenthood defines pregnancy using deceptive marketing

Planned Parenthood’s “Information about your abortion appointment” form repeatedly used this same deceptive marketing language:

  • “how the pregnancy passes”
  • “when the pregnancy comes out”
  • “The pregnancy is very small”
  • “Depending on how many weeks the pregnancy is”
  • “After you pass the pregnancy”
  • “the gestational age of the pregnancy”

As Live Action News previously documented, former Planned Parenthood worker Pam Sandoval claimed employees called wanted preborn children “babies,” but when women came in seeking abortions, “Employees would call the babies ‘blobs,’ ‘cells,’ ‘clusters,’ ’tissues,’ ‘sacs’ and “’its,’ but never ‘babies’ or ‘children.’”

Former Planned Parenthood worker Catherine Anthony Adair told the Clinic Quotes blog, “The baby was referred to as the ‘contents of the uterus’ or a ‘clump of cells.’”

This language isn’t just limited to Planned Parenthood. National abortion training curricula have long advised abortion “counselors” to use the term “pregnancy” to refer to the preborn child. This deception has received little to no pushback from state AGs; none have threatened lawsuits for use of ‘false and deceptive’ language like they are doing to pro-life centers who advertise “abortion pill reversal.”

ANSIRH’s Early Abortion Training Workbook, which has been around for several years, suggested avoiding the word “baby,” and using the term “fetus” or “pregnancy.” Here’s a screenshot:

ABortion Training fetus baby

The latest published edition (7th edition/2022 – see below) of the Training in Early Abortion for Comprehensive Healthcare (TEACH) curriculum also recommends using “pregnancy” instead of “baby.”

TEACH abortion training use pregnancy not Baby 7th edition 2022, this is deceptive marketing

TEACH abortion training use pregnancy not Baby 7th edition 2022 (deceptive marketing)

The TEACH manual is published by UCSF’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, and credits abortion pill manufacturers Danco and GenBioPro for partially funding the curriculum. It also acknowledges Planned Parenthood, IBIS Reproductive Health, Gynuity Health Projects, the National Abortion Federation, Society of Family Planning (SFP), and others for their “support” or “collaboration.”

TEACH abortion training curriculum 7th edition 2022 funded by Danco and GenBioPro

TEACH abortion training curriculum7th edition 2022 funded by Danco and GenBioPro

Deception #3: Seeing the embryo in a miscarriage vs. during a chemical abortion

When experiencing a miscarriage (something the abortion lobby conflates with abortion), Planned Parenthood’s “How do I know if I’m having a miscarriage?” website says women might see the “embryo.”

If the pregnancy is 8 weeks or more, you may see the embryo. At 8 weeks, the length of the embryo is about 1/4 inch (7mm) to 1/2 inch (14 mm). The embryo develops into a fetus after 10 weeks. At 10 weeks, fetus length is about 1 inch (21 mm) to 1.5 inches (40 mm),” they write (emphasis added).

Yet, the organization’s marketing of the abortion pill is different, telling potential clients, “It’s normal to see large blood clots (up to the size of a lemon) or clumps of tissue during the abortion. But the pregnancy itself is very small — at 8 weeks, an embryo is about ¼ to ½ inch long. You may not see it when it comes out, especially if you’re less than 8 weeks pregnant” (emphasis added).

Planned Parenthood deceptive description of seeing the baby or embryo miscarriage v abortion pill

Planned Parenthood deceptive description of seeing the baby or embryo miscarriage v abortion pill

Deception #4: Depicting a preborn child inaccurately as a blob or “dot”

Planned Parenthood’s abortion videos show how deceptive the abortion industry can be in their portrayals of the preborn child, especially Planned Parenthood’s medication abortion video still located online.

“The Abortion Pill” section of Planned Parenthood’s website has depicted the growing human embryo as a dot (image below, left), though in a separate section of its website where abortion is not marketed (image below, right) the preborn baby from 7 to 8 weeks is described as follows:

  • The embryo is 1/4 to 1/2 inch (7–14 mm) long.
  • The heart forms.
  • Webbed fingers and toes develop.
  • The arms bend at the elbows.
  • External ears, eyes, eyelids, liver, and upper lip begin forming.
  • The sex organs are the same — neither female nor male — in all embryos until the 7th or 8th week…

This is far different from the “dot” deceptively shown to abortion clients.

False and Deceptive Marketing: Planned Parenthood vid shows baby as a dot verses PP fetal development

False and Deceptive Marketing: Planned Parenthood vid shows baby as a dot verses PP fetal development

Planned Parenthood has indicated that 70% of abortion sales (nearly 275,000 estimated) are now committed by the abortion pill, which might explain why they do not want to show the actual development of the preborn child to abortion clients.

Likewise, Planned Parenthood’s “in-clinic” or “surgical” abortion video (located here) is no different. The video narrator claims that “During an in-clinic abortion a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider empties your uterus using gentle suction and sometimes other medical tools…” while showing the preborn baby as a “dot.”

Deception #5: The abortion pill is safer than… well, pretty much anything

“Medication abortion is very safe. In fact, it’s safer than many other medicines like penicillin, Tylenol, and Viagra. Serious problems are rare, but like all medicines, there can be risks,” Planned Parenthood’s website claims. Repeatedly.

Planned Parenthood claims abortion pill safer than Tylenol

Planned Parenthood claims abortion pill safer than Tylenol

Planned Parenthood’s deceptive marketing fails to mention that the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) own 2023 mifepristone label included serious potential complications; mifepristone is also one of the limited number of drugs that includes a black box warning.

The claim that Viagra and Tylenol are safer than the abortion pill has been debunked. Live Action researcher and writer Bettina di Fiore noted, “It’s entirely possible that more people go to the hospital after taking Tylenol – because more people take it in the first place. Similarly, more people go to the hospital after car accidents than after skydiving – that doesn’t necessarily mean skydiving is safer, it just means more people are driving than jumping out of planes.”

Additionally, “A recent study conducted by the abortion industry itself found an ER and urgent care visit rate of 6%That’s 107 times greater than the rate for acetaminophen/Tylenol, which again, is actually a low number if we were to compare equivalent populations.”

Abortion pill Black Box warning and medication guide suggests sending women to ER

Abortion pill Black Box warning and medication guide suggests sending women to ER

There are no national requirements to report abortion pill complications other than death.

If that weren’t bad enough, abortion insiders have suggested that women should lie and claim to be miscarrying naturally when they present to the emergency room with abortion pill complications. This dampens any chance that accurate numbers on abortion pill complications or deaths will be reported as such to authorities.

The FDA’s own 2023 mifepristone label openly acknowledged that “2.9 to 4.6 percent of women who take abortion drugs end up in the emergency room.” Knowing this, national abortion pill statistics would indicate that abortion pill ER visits could be in the tens of thousands every year. In addition, the FDA’s medication guide acknowledges that as many as seven percent (7%) of women will need surgery after taking mifepristone “to stop bleeding” or to complete the abortion.

Mifepristone Jan 2023 label shows percentage of women taking abortion pill visit Emergency room (ER)

Mifepristone Jan 2023 label shows percentage of women taking abortion pill visit ER

This data supports findings from a previously documented Gynuity Health Projects (GHP) telabortion study, which found that six percent (6%) of participants (70 out of 1,157) faced complications from the abortion pill resulting in ER or urgent care visits.


Deception #6: Withholding information on abortion’s potential risks

In at least one in-clinic abortion consent form still available online, Planned Parenthood claims that death is a potential risk for an abortion, among other potential complications. But online, the fact that a woman could potentially die is rarely, if ever, mentioned.

Planned Parenthood's deceptive marketing doesn't mention death from abortion on website

Planned Parenthood’s deceptive marketing doesn’t mention death from abortion on website

Online, Planned Parenthood claims, “In-clinic abortion is a very safe, simple, and common procedure. Serious problems are really rare, but like all medical procedures, there can be some risks.” This claim is repeated separately here: “Abortion is a very safe way to end a pregnancy.”

While Planned Parenthood also admits that “[s]erious complications are really rare, but can happen,” the risk of death from abortion is not mentioned.

Despite no federal requirements that abortion complications be reported, between 1973 and 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded 460 known women’s deaths from legal abortion. Live Action News has documented multiple deaths of women who blindly believed Planned Parenthood’s false and deceptive marketing tactics.

Deception #7: Advertising ‘pregnancy options’ while heavily promoting abortion

Big Abortion is often critical of pro-life pregnancy help centers because they provide free services to pregnant women to assist those who wish to keep their babies.

But, interestingly, Planned Parenthood’s website reads, “local Planned Parenthood health center has caring professionals that can answer any questions you may have. They’ll give you expert care, accurate information about all your options, and non-judgmental support along the way — no matter what you decide about your pregnancy.”

Yet, a look at Planned Parenthood’s annual report (2022-23), reveals that it committed a whopping 228 abortions for every one adoption referral and 62 abortions for every one prenatal care service it provided. The very name “Planned Parenthood” itself deceptively implies that the corporation helps women to plan parenthood when in reality it exterminates the human lives that are conceived.


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In total, Planned Parenthood’s deceptive marketing scheme resulted in the organization selling nearly 400,000 abortions last year alone. Since 2000, Planned Parenthood has committed over 7.1 million abortions and received nearly $10.7 billion from taxpayers — it is THE abortion giant.

Yet instead of questioning this Goliath’s deceptive tactics, those who pervert justice have gone after the “Davids” — the pregnancy help centers — who are attempting to actually serve women, babies, and families, instead of ending human lives.

Editor’s Note, 7/8/24: This post has been updated since its original publication.

The DOJ put a pro-life grandmother in jail for protesting the killing of preborn children. Please take 30-seconds to TELL CONGRESS: STOP THE DOJ FROM TARGETING PRO-LIFE AMERICANS.

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