By Tessa Longbons and Matt Connell
State abortion reporting provides a valuable perspective on abortion trends throughout the country. In particular, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s most recent report of abortion by facility, released by the Virginia Department of Health with data for 2015, offers a helpful overview of the numbers of abortions performed by each facility in the state. As Planned Parenthood fights for continued federal funding by insisting that abortion plays only a small part in its total health care services, Virginia’s information is especially relevant.
A review of Virginia’s past seven annual reports reveals that while the state’s total number of abortions continues to decrease by an average of 6.17 percent every year, Planned Parenthood’s market share is on the rise. From 2009 to 2015, Virginia’s abortion count per year dropped from 27,429 to 18,662, a decrease of more than 29 percent. Over the same time period, Planned Parenthood’s totals increased from 4,760 abortions in 2009 to 7,246 in 2015, an increase of over 52 percent. Planned Parenthood’s market share of the state’s abortions more than doubled from only 17 percent in 2009 to almost 39 percent in 2015. America’s biggest abortion provider claims that abortions make up only a small part of its services, but the numbers from Virginia tell a different story about their abortion-focused business strategy.
Planned Parenthood’s most recent annual report for 2015-2016 also belies its claims that abortion is a small portion of its business. From 2009 to 2016, most non-abortion services declined, yet the organization’s abortion numbers remained almost constant nationwide. In its 2015-2016 year, Planned Parenthood aborted nearly 114 babies for every child it referred out for adoption. As CLI President Chuck Donovan wrote recently in a National Review op-ed, “Unborn children identified at PPFA affiliate clinics have a lower than 4 percent chance of emerging alive.”
For years, both pro-life and pro-choice organizations have emphasized the need for accurate and thorough state abortion reporting, including a Charlotte Lozier Institute study published in 2016 that reviewed abortion reporting state by state. With debates in Congress swirling over abortion and Planned Parenthood, decision-makers need current information about abortion facilities and the procedures they conduct. Virginia’s report serves as one example of how current, timely state abortion reporting can offer relevant information to ongoing policy discussions.
Tessa Longbons and Matthew Connell are interns for the Charlotte Lozier Institute.