2016 Survey Says: Largest Attempt in Decades to Expand Abortion Has Failed

2016-abortion-clinic-survey-sm

An Operation Rescue Special Report
By Cheryl Sullenger

number-of-surgical-2009-2016Washington, DC – In 2016, America experienced the largest attempt to expand abortion since the 1980s.

It failed.

Despite the best efforts of the Abortion Cartel in a year of conditions that favored it, closures of abortion facilities compensated for the new opens, leaving the number of surgical abortion facilities the same as 2015.

Operation Rescue has completed its annual survey of abortion facilities in America and found that after all the dust had settled on a very active year, there was no net gain in surgical abortion facilities over 2015 numbers, which remains at 517 facilities.

The number of surgical abortion facilities has decreased by 27% since 2009, the year Operation Rescue first began to document the number and location of abortion facilities in the U.S. Since 1991, when there were a high of 2,176 open surgical abortion facilities, those clinics have decreased in number by 76%.

total-2009-2016

It was expected that the number of medication abortion facilities would dramatically increase after the Food and Drug Administration relaxed Mifepristone (RU 486) protocols in March, making it easier for abortion providers to dispense the abortion-inducing drugs.

That anticipated increase never actually materialized.

After a complex reorganization in services provided by Planned Parenthood facilities, Operation Rescue confirmed that there are now 214 medication abortion facilities, representing a net gain of only one facility over the past year.

This gain of only one medication facility a negligible addition, and is far lower that the net increase of 25 medication clinics recorded in 2015.

Part of that reorganization included converting many of its non-abortion “referral” clinics to medication abortion facilities. In 2016, 14 referral clinics began dispensing abortion drugs. Twenty Planned Parenthood facilities that offered only non-abortion services were permanently closed. When the music stopped on Planned Parenthood’s version of musical chairs, 7% of Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion clinics had closed.

While Planned Parenthood is shuttering facilities that actually do provide some legitimate services in favor of those that can sell abortions, a new report by the Radiance Foundation shows that actual health services done at Planned Parenthood, such as breast cancer screenings, PAP tests, prenatal care, and even sexually transmitted disease treatments have dramatically decreased from 2010 through 2014. While non-abortion health services have decreased, abortions at Planned Parenthood have risen 12% between 2006-2014. Conservatively, abortions account for 80% of their “health services” income.

“Planned Parenthood’s rhetoric that abortion only accounts for a small percentage of its services has been debunked,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “As Planned Parenthood converts more and more clinics to abortion facilities, abortions there have gone up while other services have gone down. This information supports our call to defund Planned Parenthood of the half-billion dollars it gets from our tax coffers each year.”

surgical-medical-2009-2016

Closed!

There were 19 surgical abortion facilities that completely closed or halted abortion services in 2016, while 12 medication abortion locations shut down. This makes a total of 31 abortion facilities that closed in 18 states since last year.

Today, the total number of surgical and medication abortion facilities stands at 731.

usa-closed-in-2016

Accuracy

Operation Rescue meticulously surveys each abortion facility in the U.S. annually using a number of investigative methods. Each open facility was directly contacted, and voluntarily shared information for this survey, although they were not aware the information was going to Operation Rescue.

“Operation Rescue’s annual surveys provide the most complete and accurate picture of abortion facilities available — straight from the horse’s mouth,” said Newman.

Abortion Costs

The survey included information about abortion types and costs. Findings include:

• The average cost of the most common first-trimester surgical abortions is $625.35, up 5% over last year.
• The average cost of medication abortions done at surgical facilities is $574.44, which represents a very small decrease of 1% below similar 2015 costs.
• The average cost of medication abortions done at facilities that only offer that type of abortion is $572.55, up 3% over last year.

average-abortion-costs

However, there were two factors that should have resulted in a major decrease in the customer cost of abortion drugs.

First, the FDA relaxed dispensing protocols, making it easier for facilities to prescribe abortion drugs. Costs were expected to fall, especially at medication abortion only facilities that do not generally have the same overhead costs as surgical facilities.

That never happened. Instead, costs rose.

Secondly, a new California state law that allows non-physicians to dispense abortion drugs went into effect in April. This should have significantly reduced the cost of medication abortions in that state since overhead costs of paying the more expensive licensed physicians would have been reduced.

However, the average cost of a medication abortion in California is now $669.50, a whopping 13% increase over last year’s state average of $561.63. The current price for a medication abortion in California is a full 14% above the national average.

Policies implemented by liberal politicians to reduce the cost of abortion pills and make it easier for abortion facilities to dispense them completely backfired – at least for women these policies were supposed to “help.” They have only served to increase those costs to women, making the abortion pill even less affordable.

Meanwhile, abortion facilities have exploited this financial opportunity to increase their bottom lines at the expense of poor urban women of color that abortion facilities tend to target.

“California abortion facilities are price-gouging poor women for personal profit. This predatory exploitation of vulnerable pregnant women is completely reprehensible,” said Newman. “It proves that abortion businesses care little for the women they purport to assist, and are instead are taking unethical advantage of them.”

states-with-highest-lowest-prices2

Pill vs. Shot

The majority of abortion facilities that dispense abortions drugs offer a two-drug combination of Mifepristone (RU 486) and Misoprostol (Cytotec), both in pill form.

However 31 facilities have chosen to cut corners on the health of women by continuing to offer the outdated Methotrextate, a dangerous injectable drug originally developed for use as chemotherapy to fight cancer.

While Methotrexate is cheap, it has a high failure rate. A dosage can cost just a few cents for the abortion facility to purchase, compared to about $95 in costs for a dose of Mifepristone (RU 486). Yet, those that offer the outdated Methotrexate abortion charge the same price.

It’s easy to see why disreputable abortion facilities would be tempted to roll the dice on a high failure rate in order to earn maximum profits.

methotrexate-abortion-failure

Today, abortions done with Methotrexate injections are primarily sold at abortion facilities in Ohio, Florida, and on the east coast at abortion centers owned by Steven Chase Brigham, who is among the most dishonest of operators. [Read more about Brigham and one woman who is suing him for a failed Methotrexate abortion.]

Political Conditions Fostered Abortion Expansion Attempt

Early in the year, there was a palpable sense that the Abortion Cartel had not just survived the strongest effort ever made by pro-life forces to expose their wrongdoing, but had flipped the narrative and the momentum to their own favor.

Undercover videos released in 2015 by the Center for Medical Progress showed ghoulish Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the price of aborted baby organs and tissue. The public shock over the revelations that abortionists were engaged in a thriving – and very illegal – underground trade in aborted baby remains created the largest scandal to hit Planned Parenthood in its 100-year history. This launched a series of investigations from Congress to Statehouses across the country.

A massively expensive public disinformation campaign launched by Planned Parenthood, willingly parroted by nearly every major media outlet, had given America the false impression that the undercover videos were fake. With the politically-motivated Houston indictments of the journalists responsible for them, Planned Parenthood was in a position to force an expansion of abortion services it had planned for years.

Other developments, in addition to the previously mentioned relaxing of abortion drug protocols, which contributed to the failed abortion expansion efforts include:

• Supreme Court decision in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt struck down critical abortion safety laws as posing an “undue burden” in June.
• Lower court rulings were blocking the implementation of new abortion laws in state after state.
• The appearance that Hillary Clinton would win the presidential election emboldened abortion promoters. Clinton is a staunch supporter of Planned Parenthood who promised to protect them, both from criminal prosecution and Congressional efforts to defund the them.

While the Hellerstedt decision had some negative impact, it resulted in only one Texas abortion facility (out of over 20 that had closed due to the challenged law) to so far reopen.

But what looked like the coming of a new golden era for the Abortion Cartel, which had been in steady decline for decades, soon slipped away with the surprise election of Donald J. Trump.

Reversal of Fortunes

This year’s static abortion facility numbers are believed to be an anomaly in the long-running trend of abortion clinic closures. There is every reason to believe the Abortion Cartel will continue to decline under the new Trump Administration, which has already named several staunch pro-life supporters as cabinet members and advisors.

Trump has also promised to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices that will flip the court to one that is more favorable to life issues.

Congress, which should implement Trump’s agenda, remains under Republican control, making the passage of pro-life laws at the Federal level now possible. New laws, such as the defunding of Planned Parenthood and the protection of babies after 20 weeks gestation that can feel pain, are expected to be passed quickly next year.

Those two laws alone have the potential to dramatically impact all Planned Parenthood abortion facilities as well as the 162 surgical abortion clinics that currently conduct lucrative abortions at 20 weeks gestation or later.

In addition, Republicans, which tend to be more pro-life than Democrats, now control both houses of state legislatures in 32 states. This will create new opportunities to reign in the predatory abortion businesses at the state level. In comparison, pro-abortion Democrats only control statehouses in five states: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Oregon and Rhode Island.

Another recent development that could impact the number of abortion facilities in the future was the referral of several abortion businesses for criminal prosecution by the House Select Panel on Infant Lives and the Senate Judiciary Committee. With a new administration will come changes at the top of the Department of Justice that could finally make criminal prosecutions for the illegal trafficking of aborted baby remains a reality. This could also impact Planned Parenthood’s ability to target new areas for abortion.

These developments, along with news that abortion numbers have decreased to their lowest since Roe. v. Wade — and continue to drop across America — have made Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman optimistic about the future.

“The political pendulum has swung our way, and we plan to work very hard to take advantage of this opportunity to immediately call for enforcement of laws that will shut down abortion facilities and save lives. I believe this dramatic reversal of fortunes will pave the way for the eventual end to abortion in our country,” he said. “There is now no excuse for failure.”

Special Report: 2015 Abortion Clinic Survey Reveals 81% of Abortion Clinics Closed Since 1991

MAP-Closures 2013-2015

A Special Report from Operation Rescue
by Cheryl Sullenger

Washington, DC — The total number abortion clinics in America continues to decline, following a nationwide trend extending back to 1991. In 2015, abortion clinics closed at a rate of more than one per week with 53 abortion clinics shutting down or halting all abortion services.
Pie Surgical Clinics Closed Since 1981
Operation Rescue directly surveyed all abortion facilities in the U.S. from December 1-15, 2015 and found the following:

• 42 Surgical abortion clinics halted all abortion services.
• 11 Medical abortion clinics halted all abortion services.

In addition, a number of abortion facilities reduced services:

• 16 abortion clinics halted surgeries and now offer only medication abortions.
• 12 abortion clinics stopped dispensing abortion drugs and now only offer surgical abortions, noting that the abortion pill was “ineffective” or “too dangerous.”

In all, 81 abortion clinics closed or reduced services in 2015.

UPDATE 12/28/2015: After this report was published, Operation Rescue was informed that the Falls Church Health Center Planned Parenthood in Falls Church, Virginia, suddenly shut down on December 18, 2015, due to a lost lease. That brings the total number of surgical abortion clinics halting abortion services to 43 and the total abortion facilities that closed or halted abortion services to 54. View documentation.

Currently, there are 517 surgical abortion clinics and 213 medication abortion clinics remaining active in the U.S., the lowest numbers in decades.

In 1991, which is considered the high water mark for the number of abortion clinics, 2,176 surgical facilities offered abortions. Since then, 81% have closed.

In 2015, 21 new facilities began selling abortions. This includes 7 new surgical abortion clinics and 14 medication clinics that opened or converted from referral offices. Several other abortion facilities reopened after struggling with location issues or having been shut down by the state as unsafe. This represents a net loss for the Abortion Cartel of 9 abortion clinics nationwide and 219 since 2013.

This represents bad news for the Abortion Cartel: Americans are increasingly rejecting abortion in favor of life.

Abortion Clinics 2009-2015-current

The reduction in abortion clinic numbers coincides with a report released by the Centers for Disease Control earlier this month, which announced that the number of induced abortions decreased to the lowest since 1990.

“There is a direct correlation between the number of abortions and the number of abortion clinics. When abortion clinic close, abortion numbers decrease and lives are saved,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

Why Clinics Close

There were a number of factors that resulted in the 53 abortion clinics going out of business or otherwise halting abortion services. Reasons for the closures include:

• The retirement of abortionists due to advanced age and declining health.
• New state laws that have flooded state houses, especially in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell murder/illegal abortion case of 2013, which have flushed out many substandard and dangerous operators.
• Declining demand for abortions, per the CDC.
• Continued strong public pro-life support as evidenced in recent polling suppressed by the pro-abortion news media.
• Public exposure of abortion abuses by pro-life groups, including Operation Rescue, which have rightfully eroded public trust in abortion providers.

Trends

Certain trends were evident in the data collected this year.

Medication abortion clinics increased as surgical clinics decreased. Planned Parenthood is continuing a reorganization that involves adding money-producing medication abortions to many of its referral clinics.

There is also a trend for abortion clinics that have been shuttered by state health departments to reopen as medication abortion clinics. This allows substandard abortionists to continue profiting from abortions without having to comply with licensing requirements that usually apply only to surgical facilities. An example of this are Steven Brigham’s three Maryland abortion clinics that were shut down by the state in 2014 for serious violations and a patient death. Now as medication abortion clinics, they dangerously operate outside of any regulatory authority.

An emerging trend seen in a dozen clinics this year, is to drop medication abortions altogether. Over and over, Operation Rescue callers were told that the reason for dropping the abortion pill was because it was “too dangerous” or “too unreliable.” One office indicated that the failure rate was high, causing too many women to have surgical abortions to complete the process. This made providing the abortion pill not worth the trouble for that provider.

Also, abortion clinics were closed because facility licenses were revoked due to inability to comply with state laws. Other abortion clinics have halted abortions temporarily while they remodel their offices to comply with new safety standards. In all, abortion safety and accountability laws are closing clinics that were too dangerous to operate in the first place.

Average Waits for Appointments

Abortion Appt Wait TImes

During this year’s survey Operation Rescue staff members placed over 1,000 direct calls to abortion clinics and spoke directly with abortion clinic workers. They gathered information about appointment waiting times and abortion pricing, revealing data that refutes arguments made by abortion supporters.

Since the passage of Texas’ clinic safety law, known as HB2, opponents of abortion safety claim that the regulations responsible for closing half of the state’s abortion clinics have overwhelmed remaining abortion facilities. They argue that women are being forced to wait “weeks” for appointments and that this is driving up the cost of abortions.

However, Operation Rescue’s meticulously gathered data tells a different story. This data is especially important because the challenge to HB2 is set to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court next spring.

The average waiting time for abortions in the U.S. is 8.5 days. That is measured from the time a potential patient calls to schedule an appointment and the day the procedure can actually be done.

In Texas, with the new safety law, the average wait time for an abortion appointment 6.5 days – a full two days under the national average!

“It is doubtful if anyone in the Abortion Cartel ever bothered to check on actual appointment wait times or costs before claiming that the sky is falling on women in Texas,” said Newman. “The fact is that Texas falls well below the national average for wait times and surgical abortion costs, and we have the data to prove it.”

Comparing abortion appointment wait times to those for dentist appointments reveals the hype and scare tactics used by abortion supporters to oppose common-sense safety laws. While a woman might wait a little over a week for an abortion, she will wait about five weeks to see her dentist. This makes getting an abortion easier than getting a tooth filled.

comparing wait times 2015

Furthermore, wait times at for appointments at surgical abortion facilities averaged 7.5 days, whether the procedure scheduled was surgical or medication, while a woman could expect to wait 9.4 days for an abortion appointment at a medication-only abortion clinic.

“This shows that the Abortion Cartel places a higher priority on surgical abortions than on medication abortions,” said Newman. “This is probably because the surgical abortions take about five minutes and the abortionist never has to see those patients again, while the medication abortions often require more than one visit. This means there is more profit in the surgical abortions.”

Another fallacy of the Abortion Cartel that is debunked by the new data is the supposed “undue burden” of 24-72 hour abortion waiting period laws. With some exceptions, most states begin their abortion waiting periods at the time of the informed consent, which can often be when the appointment is made or an informational document is read on the internet.

“Most women will blow through their waiting periods well before their scheduled abortion appointment, so this makes the ‘undue burden’ claim as phony as a three-dollar bill,” said Newman.

Abortion Pricing

The average cost of a first trimester surgical abortion in the U.S. is $594.74, while the average cost of a medication abortion is $568.50.

Insurance and financial assistance offered by some abortion clinics can bring the price down significantly. For example, in California, it is very easy to qualify for MediCal, which will pay the total cost of the abortion.

Cost of Abortions

In Texas, where abortion supporters complain that the costs have become prohibitively expensive due to new regulations, surgical abortions cost an average of $578.47, which is $16.27 below the national average. Medication abortions cost $591.67 in Texas, slightly above the national average. However, there are 17 states that are more expensive than Texas for the abortion pill.

One of those states is Iowa, where Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s experimental webcam abortion process of dispensing abortion pills over an Internet teleconferencing system was supposed to increase access to poor rural women. However, it had the opposite effect. Planned Parenthood’s webcam pill clinics are located in communities with plenty of access to medical care, not small rural ones, and the average cost is a whopping $706.67 — $138.17 above the national average!

Notable Closures

Ocala Closed

Some notable abortion clinics that shut down this year were:

Planned Parenthood’s Washington, D.C. abortion facility, which was the site of regular and often significant pro-life protests over the years, shut down on June 26, 2015. It is tentatively attempting to relocate across from an elementary school, but due to slow work progress and a robust pro-life presence protesting there, it may never reopen.
• Ocala Women’s Center in Ocala, Florida, shut down within days of the South Carolina arrest of owner James Pendergraft on October 5 for drug violations and for providing illegal abortions out of his vehicle.
• Women’s Pavilion in South Bend, Indiana, surrendered its abortion facility license on November 6, 2015, after numerous and chronic violations persuaded the Health Department that it was too dangerous to operate. Owner and abortionist Ulrich Klopfer faces license revocation after pro-life groups discovered thousands of violations on reporting forms and turned him in to authorities.
• Columbia Health Center Planned Parenthood in Columbia, Missouri, was forced to halt medication abortions after its only abortionist, Colleen McNicholas, lost her dubious “refer and follow” privileges with a hospital run by Missouri University. An Interim Senate Sub-Committee investigating Planned Parenthood in response to undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, discovered the illegal association. Planned Parenthood has taken its case to court in an effort to restore medication abortions in Columbia, but has yet to find an abortionist that is qualified under the law to do them.

“After the release of the CMP videos, which showed Planned Parenthood’s involvement in the illegal trafficking of aborted baby organs, several states have launched investigations, which we hope will result in even further closures next year,” said Newman, who also serves as a board member for the Center for Medical Progress.

A recent poll released on December 15, 2015, shows that 68% of Americans want Planned Parenthood investigations to continue.

Laws have already been introduced in Missouri, Ohio, and elsewhere tightening loopholes on the disposal of human fetal remains from abortions while other legislation is expected to be introduced next year as a result of the CMP’s investigative journalism.

Newman concluded, “It is sure that the national trend of abortion clinic closures will continue as the Abortion Cartel implodes under its own ineptness and criminal conduct.”

A live count of abortion clinics in the U.S. can be found at AbortionDocs.org, along with documentation related to abortion abuses within the Abortion Cartel.

Read Operation Rescue’s 2014 abortion clinic survey report.
Read Operation Rescue’s 2013 abortion clinic survey report.

Still Vanishing: 73 Abortion Facilities Shut Down in 2014

An Operation Rescue Exclusive Special Report
By Cheryl Sullenger

Washington, DC – A new survey conducted by Operation Rescue of all abortion facilities in the United States has confirmed that the abortion clinic closure trend continued strongly in 2014. Operation Rescue is the only pro-life organization that maintains a listing of abortion facilities and tracks clinic closures and its extensive research has provided the most accurate accounting of abortion facilities known to exist.

In all, 73 abortion facilities shut down for all or part of the year. The total number of all remaining abortion clinics in the US is currently 739. Surgical abortion facilities account for 551 of that total while the number of medication-only abortion facilities stands at 188.

Out of 60 surgical abortion clinic closures, 47 were permanent. This represents a 23% decline in surgical abortion facilities over the past five years.

Thirteen surgical facilities were allowed to reopen after initially closing, primarily due to court action that enjoined abortion safety laws that had shut down the substandard facilities.

Thirteen facilities that provided only medication abortions account for the remaining closures in 2014. That more than doubles the number of medication abortion facilities that closed in 2013 when six were shuttered.

While the abortion clinic closures did not eclipse the high water mark of 93 total closures in 2013, the 73 closures this year far exceeds the two dozen closures recorded in 2012.

The 2014 figures represent a net decrease of 31 surgical abortion facilities nationwide. even though the number of medication abortion facilities increased by 11 over 2013 numbers, they still remain below the high of 196 facilities in 2012.

“We are continuing to witness the implosion of the abortion cartel in America,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “The only things that are preventing total collapse are court injunctions that are blocking several state abortion safety laws from being enforced. Once those laws clear the courts, we expect to see even more dangerous abortion facilities close. This is great news for women and babies because when abortion clinics close, lives are saved.”

The greatest number of closed facilities took place in Texas as the result of the 2013 abortion law known as HB2. Eleven surgical and three medication-only facilities shut down permanently over the course of 2014.

Closures far outpaced clinic openings. Fifteen facilities either added surgical abortions or opened for the first time. Thirteen clinics, primarily Planned Parenthood centers, added medication abortions to clinics that previously did not provide them. Eight clinics that formerly provided surgical abortions made the decision to halt those procedures, but continue to sell medication abortions.

“As new states laws add safety standards for surgical abortions, we are seeing the beginnings of a new trend. Abortion providers who cannot or will not comply with the higher standards have, in some cases, dropped surgical abortions in favor of medical abortions so they did not have to become licensed,” said Newman. “This allows incompetent abortionists to continue exploiting women for money while evading the need to increase patient safety.”

Some of the more notable abortion facility closures included:

Outpatient Services for Women, Oklahoma City, OK: This surgical clinic shut down after the arrest on December 9 of clinic owner and operator Naresh Patel on charges of fraud and racketeering after Operation Rescue filed complaints. Patel had been caught selling abortion pills to women who were not pregnant.
All Women’s Health, Chicago, IL: Clinic owner, abortionist Mandy Gittler, closed this facility after local activists protested there over the death of Tonya Reaves, which was killed by Gittler in 2012 at a Chicago Planned Parenthood clinic.
Novi Laser and Aesthetic Center, Novi, Michigan: This facility shut down after being evicted from two locations this year. After the last eviction in November, owner Michael Arthur Roth had nowhere to go.
Aid for Women, aka Central Family Medical, Kansas City, KS: Operation Rescue discovered evidence of multiple abortion abuses and lodged complaints. This facility was best known for suing in court for the right to stop reporting child sex abuse. Under pressure from the medical board and struggling for business, Aid for Women, finally shut down.
Affiliated Women’s Services, Indianapolis, IN: This facility, associated with the infamous late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart shut down in July due to financial woes and a lack of demand for abortions.
Femcare, Asheville, NC: Its shut down earlier this year for two dozen serious health and safety violations caused an outcry from abortion supporters since it was thought to be the only facility that could pass new safety standards. It reopened briefly before permanently closing after its abortionist, Lorraine Cummings, announced her retirement and placed the building for sale.

There are several primary reasons why abortion facilities continue to close. Those reasons include:

• The enactment and enforcement of new state laws.
• Increased reporting by pro-life activists of incompetent and/or criminal behavior committed by abortionists.
• Financial struggles within the abortion cartel due to decreased demand for abortions.
• The retirement of abortionists who are not replaced.

In 1991, there were 2,176 surgical abortion facilities operating in the U.S. Since then, a full 75% of those facilities have closed.

As abortion facilities continue to close, abortion numbers continue to fall. While national abortion numbers remain incomplete, the average number of abortions decreases by about 3% annually. However, state statistics show that the drop in abortions that is more pronounced in areas where there are abortion clinic closures.

For example, in Ohio, four abortion facilities closed in 2013, the most recent year for which abortion figures are available. During that year, the number of abortions dropped by nine percent – three times the average national drop in abortion numbers.

“No matter how one views the numbers, they show that we are winning,” said Newman. “As the truth about abortion abuses and other dangers become public and are followed by new laws that increase protections for women and their babies, we can only expect the decline of the abortion cartel to continue until it collapses altogether.”

Please visit AbortionDocs.org for a listing of all abortion facilities in the U.S. and documentation of their known abuses. A listing of closed abortion facilities is also available there.