To the surprise of exactly no one, Planned Parenthod President Cecile Richards is thrilled that so-called emergency contraception (hereafter:EC) is now available over-the-counter with no age restrictions.
This means that 16 year old girls (and boys) can now get the morning-after pill without a prescription.
So can 15 year olds, and 14 year olds, and 13 year olds, and 12 year olds, etc., despite the fact that the age of consent in every state is between 16 and 18.
It would be dangerously naïve to believe that making EC available to all teens and pre-teens will have any positive impact at all. On the other hand, it will now be even easier for young girls—and the older men who so often prey on them—to engage in risky sexual behavior. A wedge will be driven yet further between parents and children, and will cut doctors out of the loop as well.
And this is to say nothing of the abortion-causing potential of EC, which can kill an unborn child in the earliest days of life by preventing implantation in the mother’s uterus. Many women and girls would not choose to use EC if they knew it can cause an early abortion—but they’re far more likely to remain in the dark now that they don’t even need a prescription to get it.
Will this expansion of EC lower the rate of unintended teen pregnancy? Or the abortion rate among teens?
No and no.
Despite the fact that there has been a huge increase in the number of women who have used EC over the last decade, even the Guttmacher Institute admits that “there’s no evidence” that EC has lowered the overall national rate of unintended pregnancy. In moments of honesty, even the biggest cheerleaders for EC will admit that the best that can be said of it is that it’s “better than nothing.”
Increased availability of EC hasn’t made a dent in the U.S. abortion rate, either. (And the U.S. isn’t alone. Consider this recent headline: “Abortion on rise in Sweden despite higher sales of morning-after pill.”) In this vein, it’s especially instructive to take a look at Planned Parenthood’s own figures.
Planned Parenthood’s Abortion Numbers Up, EC Numbers Way Up
Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood released its annual report for 2011-2012, which includes statistics for services provided nationwide during the year 2011.
Most notably, Planned Parenthood reports that they were responsible for 333,964 abortions — more than one-third of one million — which is the largest number of abortions they’ve ever done in one year.
Since the report’s release, much has been written about it. But one aspect in particular that has yet to attract any significant attention is Planned Parenthood’s statistics on the number of EC kits distributed in 2011, and how these figures compare in previous years’ annual reports, as well as to Planned Parenthood’s abortion numbers for corresponding years.
In 2011, Planned Parenthood distributed 1,425,746 EC kits. Compare this with their figures for the past 10 years:
- 2001: 458,892
- 2002: 633,756
- 2003: 774,482
- 2004: 983,537
- 2005: 1,245,506
- 2006: 1,436,846
- 2007: 1,423,365
- 2008: 1,436,808
- 2009: 1,537,180
- 2010: 1,461,816
- 2011: 1,425,746
Note the staggering increase: between 2001-2006, the number of EC kits distributed annually by the “LensCrafters of family planning” more than tripled. Since then, except for a somewhat sharp uptick in 2009, Planned Parenthood’s EC numbers have more or less leveled off.
Now, if all of those millions of megadoses of the regular birth control pill were so effective, we could reasonably expect to see Planned Parenthood’s abortion figures go down — indeed, down significantly — right?
And yet we don’t.
Here are Planned Parenthood’s abortion numbers for those same years:
- 2001: 213,026
- 2002: 230,630
- 2003: 244,628
- 2004: 255,015
- 2005: 264,943
- 2006: 289,750
- 2007: 305,310
- 2008: 324,008
- 2009: 332,278
- 2010: 329,445
- 2011: 333,964
Note that only between 2009 and 2010 did Planned Parenthood’s abortion numbers go down — and by less than 1%, at that. In every other year between 2001 and 2011, Planned Parenthood’s abortion numbers increased from one year to the next.
To anyone who has followed the saga of EC and the hopelessly failed predictions thereof, these figures should come as no surprise.
1998 Prediction: EC Could Prevent 50% of Abortions and Unintended Pregnancies
Way back in the annals of the internet is a press release dated September 2, 1998 from a company called Gynétics (which at the time was based in New Jersey, but is now based in Belgium). The release announced that the their product, Preven, had just become the “first FDA-approved product for emergency contraception that can prevent pregnancy when used within 72 hours” after sex.
The press release contained this comment from one Dr. Anita Nelson, an Ob/Gyn professor at UCLA:
It is estimated that nearly 50 percent of all abortions and unintended pregnancies in this country could be avoided if women had access to emergency contraception.
That’s no small prediction. And looking back, it’s turned out to be not simply wrong, but astoundingly wrong.
Yet still, to this day, Planned Parenthood’s website still says EC is “effective,” and they tell the rest of us it’s a wonderful thing whenever “access” to it is expanded — and they expect us to be fool enough to believe them.
- Planned Parenthod Annual Report 2001-2002 [PDF]
- Planned Parenthod Annual Report 2002-2003 [PDF]
- Planned Parenthod Annual Report 2003-2004 [PDF]
- Planned Parenthod Annual Report 2004-2005 [PDF]
- Planned Parenthod Annual Report 2005-2006 [PDF]
- Planned Parenthod Annual Report 2006-2007 [PDF]
- Planned Parenthod Annual Report 2007-2008 [PDF]
- Planned Parenthood Fact Sheet: 2008 [PDF]
- Planned Parenthood Fact Sheet: 2009 [PDF]
- Planned Parenthood Fact Sheet: 2010 [PDF]
- Planned Parenthood Fact Sheet: 2011 [PDF]