‘Extensive Closures’ Of Abortion Clinics Undermine One Of Planned Parenthood’s Favorite Talking Points

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Laurel Duggan Social Issues and Culture Reporter
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Abortion clinics quickly shut their doors as states passed abortion restrictions, casting doubt on the abortion industry’s long-running claims that abortions make up only a fraction of the services offered to women at clinics.

Planned Parenthood has long claimed that abortion makes up only 3-4% of the services offered at its clinics, an argument echoed by others in the industry who euphemistically refer to abortions as “reproductive services” and clinics as “women’s health clinics.” But many clinics are closing their doors in states that don’t allow elective abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

At least 66 clinics across 15 states stopped offering abortions within 30 days of Roe’s overturning, and 26 of those have shut down entirely, according to research conducted by the Guttmacher Institute.

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade June 24, ending a nearly 50-year precedent that blocked most abortion restrictions throughout the first six months of pregnancy. States can now make their own abortion laws; 12 have outlawed most abortions and three states imposed abortion limits between six and 15 weeks, according to the Guttmacher Institute. (RELATED: ‘Racism’: Rep. Cori Bush Says Doctors Forced Her To Have An Abortion)

The outside of the Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center is seen in St. Louis, Missouri, May 30, 2019, the last location in the state performing abortions. - A US court weighed the fate of the last abortion clinic in Missouri on May 30, with the state hours away from becoming the first in 45 years to no longer offer the procedure amid a nationwide push to curtail access to abortion. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

The outside of the Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center is seen in St. Louis, Missouri, May 30, 2019, the last location in the state performing abortions. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP via Getty Images)

In Texas, 12 of the state’s 23 abortion clinics shut down completely while the remaining 11 are staying open to offer other services. Mississippi’s sole abortion clinic, which was at the center of the case that ended Roe, shut down entirely, as did all three of Louisiana’s abortion clinics.

Other states have seen a combination of abortion clinics closing down and shifting to other services: Seven clinics stayed open for other services in Arizona while only one closed completely, and all four of Wisconsin’s abortion clinics stayed open for other services.

Planned Parenthood arrived at its estimate that abortion account for only 3% of its services by counting each service offered individually and equally and finding that, of the 10.6 million services it performed in 2013-2014, 327,653 were abortions, according to The Washington Post. Those services included simple pregnancy tests, emergency contraceptives that could have been obtained for under $50, and other simple procedures, which counted one-to-one against abortions.

The 3-4% claim makes regular appearances of Planned Parenthood’s annual reports, but many have cast doubts on that claim, including The Washington Post. The outlet called the claim “misleading” in a 2015 article which pointed out the “obvious differences” between abortions and pregnancy tests.

A Texas Right to Life spokeswoman celebrated the closures and said they undermined claims that abortion is just a small part of what clinics offer women.

“The closure of numerous abortion clinics in Texas is exciting news for those of us across our state committed to defending life at all stages,” Texas Right to Life communications director Kim Schwartz told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “These extensive closures also dismantles the pro-abortion crowd’s argument that abortion represents a small portion of the services offered and revenue raised at these clinics – in reality, it is a money-making operation that lacks any respect for human life.”

“We urge Congress and other state legislatures across the nation to follow our lead and defund abortion providers,” she said.

Planned Parenthood did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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