The Minnesota Department of Health publishes an extensive and organized annual abortion report that presents important public health information, including demographic statistics, while protecting the anonymity of women. Additionally, Minnesota reports the volume of abortions performed at each facility in the state.
Minnesota’s abortion trends provide a glimpse of what is happening to the abortion market on a national scale. Similar to national trends, the total number of abortions in Minnesota has decreased, one abortion facility has closed, several have merged, and Planned Parenthood increasingly dominates the market.
Chuck Donovan, President of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, recently wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, “Abortion Has a Market Problem,” summarizing this argument in the institute’s longer amicus brief for the Texas abortion health and safety standards Supreme Court case. Donovan writes, “Planned Parenthood has been steadily eating up market share. In 1993 fewer than 10% of U.S. abortions were done in Planned Parenthood facilities. By 2011 Planned Parenthood’s total market share had increased to 32%.”
While abortion centers across America are closing their doors, Planned Parenthood thrives. Planned Parenthood’s aggressive business model includes building mega-clinics and pushing smaller independent centers out of business. The executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, Scott Fischbach, explained the phenomena when one abortion facility closed in 2011, saying, “It’s kind of like the corner grocery store that you had for years and then a big Cub moved in and now the corner grocery store is kind of a waste of time.”
Minnesota’s abortion facilities have not been immune to this national trend. For instance, GYN Special Services discontinued abortion services in 2011. This action could have been due to a decrease in abortions since its peak (829 abortions) in 2006, paling in comparison to Planned Parenthood of Minnesota’s 3,660 abortions that year. GYN Special Services rarely broke a 6% share of the state’s abortion services. A year after the discontinuation of GYN Special Services, Midwest Health Center for Women and Meadowbrook Women’s Clinic were merged into Whole Woman’s Health, LLC.
While Minnesota abortion facilities were experiencing difficulty and transition, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota enjoyed a steady increase in abortions from 1998 to 2014, when they performed nearly 5,000 abortions. In other words, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota accounted for nearly half of the 10,123 abortions performed in Minnesota during 2014.
There are many factors that could play an important role in Minnesota’s abortion center trends such as a more pro-life public, more women carrying unexpected pregnancies to term, or changes in service due to the Affordable Care Act. However, based on the trends from Minnesota’s annual abortion reports since 1993, it is undeniable that Planned Parenthood’s consolidation has played a dominant role in the changing landscape of the Minnesota abortion market.
Rebecca Gonzales is a research associate for the Charlotte Lozier Institute.