Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Offer Prenatal Care-Truth! & Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
A viral video claims that Planned Parenthood does not provide pregnant women access to prenatal care — contrary to claims made by Planned Parenthood leadership about prenatal care.
Prenatal care is not a primary focus of Planned Parenthood, and not all Planned Parenthood facilities offer prenatal care services to pregnant women.
But it’s not true that Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer prenatal care at all, and clips of Planned Parenthood leaders appearing to tout Planned Parenthood prenatal care services were selectively edited and appear to be misleading.
Rumors that Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer prenatal care to pregnant women surfaced in January 2017 when the activist group Live Action posted a video featuring audio clips of women asking for and being denied prenatal care at various Planned Parenthood facilities around the country. The three-minute video ends with a graphic stating that the group contacted 97 Planned Parenthood facilities across the country and found that five of them offered prenatal care to pregnant women:
It’s true that prenatal care isn’t a primary focus of Planned Parenthood clinics. Planned Parenthood’s 2014-2015 annual report makes clear that prenatal services fall under the broader category “Other Women’s Health Services,” which accounts for 13% of its operating budget. Nearly 1.2 million pregnancy tests accounted for the vast majority of Planned Parenthood’s Other Women’s Health Services budget, and 17,419 prenatal care engagements accounted for the rest. Abortions accounted for 3% of Planned Parenthood patient contacts, with STD testing and treatment (43%), contraception (31%) and cancer screenings (7%) accounting for the rest.
The point is that it’s easy to establish that prenatal care is not a primary focus of Planned Parenthood without calling more than 100 clinics across the country. Still, not included in the Planned Parenthood’s annual report is the number of prenatal care referrals that the group makes each year. Planned Parenthood’s website also has a tool that enables women to search for prenatal care providers in their area and book an appointment online.
A goal of the Live Action video claiming that Planned Parenthood does not provide prenatal care services was to prove that Planned Parenthood leadership had lied on multiple occasions — claiming that prenatal care was, in fact, a primary focus. To make that point, various clips of Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, seemingly touting Planned Parenthood’s prenatal care services are shown.
In one clip from 2011, Richards says “…prenatal care, these are the kinds of services that folds depend on Planned Parenthood for.” We couldn’t find the original video, but it’s clear that Richards had listed off a longer list of services that didn’t appear in the clip and the comment was taken out of context.
In another clip from 2016, Richards says, “…A president who will fight for prenatal care…” That clip was taken from Richards’ 2016 endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president. An original video of the address puts that snippet into context and reveals that Richards was not referring to Planned Parenthood’s prenatal care services — she was talking about women’s health care in general:
They want a president who believes access to health care isn’t a luxury — it’s a human right.
They want a president who understands that being pro-choice also means being able to choose to have a child — and a president who will fight for prenatal care, head start, health care for kids and first class public schools because it takes a village!
They want a president who will stand up to the gun lobby and demand safety for kids in schools, folks in church, and women getting healthcare — no matter what.
They want a president who will demand nobody is paid less just because they are a woman — we deserve 100 cents on the dollar!
Finally, a third clip shows Lori Lamergand, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Michigan, in 2011 saying, “Prenatal care — um, and that, that is what we want to focus on.” Again, it’s clear that Lamergand’s statement was edited mid-sentence. But besides that, Planned Parenthood Michigan does offer prenatal care prgrams to women through a partnership with University of Michigan Health Center. So, taken alone, Lamergand’s statement wasn’t inaccurate. Planned Parenthood Michigan’s website states:
When you join our prenatal program, certified nurse midwives will see you at the Planned Parenthood health center for exams, evaluations, and consultations. The nurse midwives will care for you during your labor and birth at the University of Michigan Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.
In the end, claims that Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer prenatal care are a combination of truth and fiction. It’s true that prenatal care is not a major area of focus for Planned Parenthood. But prenatal services are available at some Planned Parenthood clinics, and Planned Parenthood refers women to outside prenatal care services as well. Finally, comments from the group’s leaders about Planned Parenthood prenatal care appear to be misleading.