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Last Updated: September 03, 2010

Abortion for Profit

Many abortion supporters have a huge financial stake in keeping abortion legal.

Page Summary:

Abortion is a lucrative business. Those who defend it the most ardently often have a financial interest in keeping it legal and commonplace. Couple this with the abortion industry's consistent opposition to measures requiring more full patient disclosure, and there is good reason to wonder if they care more about profits than they do about women.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), the research arm of Planned Parenthood, estimates that there were 1.21 million abortions performed in the U.S. in the year 2005. Of the 1.21 million annual abortions, approximately 88% (1.06 million) are performed during the first trimester. The other 12% (150,000) are performed during the second and third trimester. In 2005, the average cost of a nonhospital abortion with local anesthesia at 10 weeks of gestation was $413. The Women's Medical Center estimates that a 2nd trimester abortion costs up to $3000 (with the price increasing the further along the pregnancy goes). If we take the $413 average for 1st trimester abortions and use a $3000 average for 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions, here's what we get: $438 million is spent each year on first trimester abortions and $393 million is spent on late term abortions. That means that each year in the U.S., the abortion industry brings in approximately $831 million through their abortion services alone. If you add in the $337 million (or more) that Planned Parenthood (America's largest abortion provider) receives annually in government grants and contracts for, the annual dollar amount moves well past 1 billion.

Abortion, to put it plainly, is a very lucrative business, and this has been true from the beginning. By last count, Planned Parenthood (a tax-exempt organization!) has $951 million in total assets! Marvin Olasky observes and documents in his book, Abortion Rites, that there have long been doctors who supported abortion "if not for principle, at least for principal." Like prostitution (which helped abortionists "flourish and grow rich" during the mid 1800's), abortion offers the opportunity to get rich quick. For all of human history, the "blandishment of wealth" has led many to rationalize career choices that they would never otherwise dream of.

What this means to the abortion debate is that the people and organizations who defend the morality of abortion the most vehemently are generally the very same ones who rake in huge profits from its continued availability. This sets up a significant conflict of interest and should immediately call into question any claims they might make about their desire to reduce the number of abortions. When Planned Parenthood argues that they're working hard to reduce the frequency of abortion, the fact remains that their financial livelihood is built on abortion. Planned Parenthood, then, is just like the big tobacco companies. Does anyone really believe that tobacco companies want people to stop smoking? Does anyone really believe that Planned Parenthood wants people to stop having abortions? Follow the money.

If we assume (for the sake of argument) that Planned Parenthood's primary ambitions are financial instead of ideological, then much of their behavior suddenly makes perfect sense.

Why would they have any scruples about accepting donations for explicitly racist purposes so long as the money keeps coming in? (Video Link)

Why would they prosecute the statutory rapists who are sending them business? (Video One) (Video Two)

Why would they submit to parental notification laws when parents might try and prevent their teenage daughter from having an abortion? (Planned Parenthood explains how teens can bypass parental notification) (News Link)

Why would they want women to know that there is a potential connection between breast cancer and abortion, if that information might cause them to rethink an abortion? (Planned Parenthood explains why anyone who mentions this potential link is an "anti-choice zealot") (AbortionBreastCancer.com)

Why should they be bothered by the fact that the women they counsel choose abortion over adoption at a rate of 120 to 1? After all, referring women to an adoption agency earns them $0. Getting them to abort brings in an average of $413! (Planned Parenthood's Annual Report - data on page 4)

Those who defend abortion, arguing that it is good and necessary for a healthy society, are defending an institution which is making them very wealthy. On the flip side, those who argue that abortion is an act of violence against an innocent human being, do so at great financial cost. There is no pay-off on the "pro-life" side. All the efforts to educate people about the reality of abortion consume large amounts of money, and there is no billion dollar product to refill the coffer. Think about it. Those who support abortion the most are growing rich off its continued availability while those who oppose abortion the most are losing money for their efforts. Who, then, is more likely to be honest and forthright about the issue at hand? Who is more likely to be motivated by principle and who is more likely to be motivated by profit?

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7 Comments on Abortion for Profit

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Jan 25, 2013 / 01:41 CST)

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.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (May 10, 2010 / 21:36 CST)

I posted this already on another article, but it applies here as well.

Iíd like to mention a few important facts that the author of this article seems to have forgotten.

1. Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization, which means that their primary goal is not to make money, itís to make sexual, reproductive and family healthcare available to people who donít have it or canít afford it on their own. This is why, as you stated, Planned Parenthood is tax exempt. That $413 made for every abortion never reaches the pocket of some high powered health care executive or shareholder. It, instead, is put towards funding the majority of the services that Planned Parenthood provides. (See next point)

2. According to the planned parenthood website, only 3% of all healthcare services performed at Planned Parenthood are abortion services. They also provide nearly one million pap tests and more than 850,000 breast exams every year. This means that a vast majority of the services provided by Planned Parenthood are not abortion related. 97 percent!


I recognize that Planned Parenthood seems the natural target for those who choose not to support a womanís right to reproductive choice. However, abortions are only a tiny majority of the services provided by Planned Parenthood and it is really important to make sure not to cherry pick facts when writing an article like this. It only ends up sounding ignorant to those who know better and giving false impressions to those who donít.

Andy Moore (Apr 10, 2010 / 02:01 CST)

great article thanks Mike.

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