Despite the fact that Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) provide comprehensive health services to women, the media continues to prop up Planned Parenthood as if it is the only provider of women’s reproductive healthcare. While Planned Parenthood continues to receive over half a billion dollars in annual taxpayer funding, its patient load and services continues to decrease, year after year.
If major media outlets would analyze Planned Parenthood’s own reports (as Live Action has done), perhaps they would notice that while the organization has increased its abortion market share, its other services — like Pap tests, breast exams, and even contraception services — have decreased significantly.
Ignoring these facts, the prevailing claim by the media – often quoting the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s former research arm and “special affiliate” – is that if Planned Parenthood is defunded, women will have no place to go to receive health services.
This claim is patently false and was previously dismantled by the defenders of ObamaCare:
A study on the effects of the Affordable Care Act, conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and health care company Athenahealth, which gathered data from 15,700 of Athenahealth’s clients, found that new patient visits to primary care physicians only increased slightly. It was anticipated that uninsured patients now gaining insurance might have unmet medical needs, and their demand for services might overwhelm the capacity of primary care doctors. But according to the study, this idea proved false. Kathy Hempstead, director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, told USA Today that the study “suggests that, even though there’s been a big increase in coverage, it’s a relatively small part of the market and the delivery system is able to handle the demand.”
In other words, yes, FQHCs can handle Planned Parenthood’s patient load. After all, Planned Parenthood has lost more than half a million patients (600,000) since 2011, while taxpayer-funded health centers, as identified by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), saw a 2 million patient increase by 2015, providing care to 24,295,946 patients.
Additional data shows:
- In 2015, federal health centers performed mammograms on over 521,000 patients – an increase from 470,000 in 2014. Planned Parenthood performed zero, because Planned Parenthood facilities do not have mammogram machines.
- In 2015, Planned Parenthood breast exams dropped 12 percent from 2014. Stunningly, from 2005 to 2015, breast exams declined by more that 62 percent (842,399 to 321,700).
- In 2015, federal health centers administered over 1.8 million Pap tests to patients — an increase from 1.7 million in 2014; Planned Parenthood‘s 2015 report reveals that between 2005 (1,116,681) and 2015 (293,799), Pap tests (tests for detecting cervical cancer) at Planned Parenthood declined nearly 74 percent (73.68%).
- The most recent figures show that cancer screenings continue to decline at Planned Parenthood. From 2005 (2,009,835) to 2015 (665,234), cancer screenings plummeted nearly 67 percent (66.90%).
- In 2015, federal health centers cared for a total of 552,000 prenatal patients — an increase from 528,000 prenatal patients in 2014; yet Planned Parenthood’s prenatal services were nearly cut in half in the last year (17,419 in 2014 to 9,419 in 2015) a trend that has continued for years. From 2005 (13,261) to 2015 (9419), prenatal care dropped nearly 29 percent (28.97%) .
- Recently released Planned Parenthood numbers reveal that in 2015, contraception services at the abortion corporation decreased 4.6 percent from the previous year. In the past ten years (2005 vs. 2015), contraception services at Planned Parenthood decreased by 25 percent to their lowest in years.
Knowing that this data comes directly from Planned Parenthood, keep in mind where the media got its idea about FQHCs being unable to handle Planned Parenthood’s patient influx. It comes from a study conducted by Guttmacher, which compared the 2015 contraception care services at Planned Parenthood centers (PP), Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) sites, and Title X facilities.
However, a review of that study shows that the claim that defunding Planned Parenthood would leave women with no place to go is far-reaching and deceptive. Remember: Guttmacher is a former special affiliate to Planned Parenthood, and Guttmacher also receives taxpayer funding. It has also received funding from Planned Parenthood, so it has good incentive to keep these tax dollars flowing. As I noted in a previous article:
Ryan Bomberger of The Radiance Foundation also found evidence that indeed, in its 2007 tax filing, Planned Parenthood still listed Guttmacher as an “independent affiliated organization” which was receiving money from the abortion giant. Bomberger wrote, “Planned Parenthood… gave $2,142,076 of our tax dollars to their ‘research’ arm, Guttmacher….”
The money flowed both ways:
… [W]hile Planned Parenthood… was funneling money into Guttmacher, Guttmacher was also receiving taxpayer dollars – and funneling a significant amount of money back to Planned Parenthood…. Guttmacher’s payouts to Planned Parenthood total around $40 million.
In addition, this particular study’s focus was just contraceptive care, not on all the services offered by FQHCs.
In a May 2017 article, Guttmacher states:
In 2015, out of the over 9,600 total FQHC sites in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, 5,830 of them (60%) reported offering contraceptive care to at least 10 women each year; this subset of sites are counted among the nation’s 10,700 safety-net family planning centers.
If we break this down, we see that there are 9600 FQHC sites (which offer a vast array of health care services) while according to Guttmacher, only 60 percent offered contraception services to ten or more clients. That still leaves 5,830 sites.
But what about Planned Parenthood? Today, the organization’s website shows 600 facilities across the US – a decrease from the 800 it operated just ten years ago.
To compare, 600 Planned Parenthoods offer contraception services while almost 6,000 (5,830 according to Guttmacher) FQHCs offer those services. I’m just not seeing the problem here, even though Guttmacher says Planned Parenthood serves slightly more contraception clients than FQHCs do.
Even Guttmacher was forced to admit that “FQHCs now operate many more individual family planning sites than do Planned Parenthood affiliates” and that “Planned Parenthood health centers account for just 6% of all safety-net family planning providers.” Therefore, if Planned Parenthood is defunded, FQHCs could likely accommodate the influx of contraception patients. After all, it is possible that many of Planned Parenthood’s clients are already using FQHCs for primary care services not available at Planned Parenthood. And if that is the case, an influx of Planned Parenthood’s clients to FQHCs may not be nearly as large as their supporters claim. FQHC sites outnumber Planned Parenthoods in counties that provide contraception care in every state except Connecticut, Minnesota and the District of Columbia (table 1/page 1).
While politicians continue to force taxpayers to send Planned Parenthood half a billion dollars each year, the organization’s private donations have increased by 26 percent, swelling by an additional $92 million in 2015-2016. (The total private donations in 2015-2016 were $445.8 million.) This cash flow enabled Planned Parenthood to end its year with an excess of $77.5 million in 2015, an increase of nearly 39 percent from 2005 when they netted $55.8 million. Planned Parenthood has been netting a profit for many years, with yearly surpluses ranging from $12.2 million in 2001 to a high of $155.5 million in 2010).
At the same time, Planned Parenthood has lost over half a million patients, but has succeeded in cornering nearly 35 percent of the abortion market in the US, committing more than 320,000 abortions annually – 900 per day, one every 96 seconds.
American women do not need Planned Parenthood, and the taxpayers should no longer be forced to fund the largest abortion corporation in the nation.