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Ohio Planned Parenthood Affiliates Announce Plans to Merge in order to “increase political clout”

by | Feb 14, 2012

By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRL-ETF Director of Education & Research

Randall K. O'Bannon, Ph.D.

That there has been another merger among Planned Parenthood affiliates is not news.   More than a dozen mergers have been announced in the last five years, including even some of the Ohio centers involved in this latest announced merger.  What is news here is how this announcement confirms what National Right to Life has been saying about Planned Parenthood and its ultimate aims: to increase their already hefty bottom line and spread its political influence.

In June of 2007, five Planned Parenthood Ohio affiliates merged to form Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio (PPNEO).   Now, according to a February 10, 2012, press release, Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio will be merging with Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio (PPCO) and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio on July 1 of this year to form Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio (PPGO).

The Central Ohio affiliate brings eight ”health care centers” from central, northwest, and southeast Ohio, while the Northeast affiliate brings in 13 more.  Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio office is identified as being “the public policy arm” of Ohio’s three Planned Parenthood affiliates.

After noting that the new affiliate will be based in Columbus and will “serve” 68 of Ohio’s 88 counties, the press release boldly states, “Merging will increase the organizations’ political clout in the state by enhancing and augmenting its public policy and communications work to defend and enhance the Planned Parenthood brand.”

The release also states that “Merging also will increase the organizations’ medical and business expertise.”  While a Planned Parenthood spokesperson tried to tell a local news radio station that 96% of what the group does in Ohio is standard reproductive health care such as cancer screenings, treatment of STDs, pap tests, birth control, and sex ed, that is merely a variation on the old “abortion represents only 3% of services” spin. Basic mathematics tells us that abortion will be a major part of this new super affiliate’s business model (WTAM, Cleveland, 2/10/12). 

Even if, counting every pregnancy test, pack of birth control pills, STD exam as a separate service enables these Planned Parenthood affiliates to count abortion as only “4% of its total services” (note,  4% is actually higher than the 3% figure used by the national office), the cost differential between the “services” means a $451 first trimester abortion means that one abortion brings in a lot more cash than a dozen of more clients receiving a $15 pregnancy test or a $25 supply of contraceptives. 

Using cost, rather than services, National Right to Life has projected in the past  that abortion easily accounted for more than a third of Planned Parenthood’s reported clinic revenues.  And this didn’t even factor in either the services sold or bundled with the abortion (such as the pregnancy test, bloodwork, STD treatment, birth control pills, etc.) or the fact that many Planned Parenthood facilities, including at least two involved in this merger, advertise and perform more expensive chemical and later surgical abortions.

In light of two other business trends seen at Planned Parenthood affiliates in the past few years–the building of large, centralized mega-clinics and the “innovation” of web-cam abortions–the set up of the two medical affiliates involved in the merger is most revealing.   Both PPNEO and PPCO each have just one central medical center performing abortions with smaller clinics sending abortion referrals.

For PPNEO, we do not know the square footage of the rather large building in Bedford Heights depicted on the Planned Parenthood website, or when it opened. However the webpage instructs us to “Like us on Facebook to follow news about the opening of our new Regional Medical Center.” Hours of operation are not listed at this point.  The website says that it will do “medication abortions” up to 7 weeks LMP (after a woman’s last menstrual period) or surgical abortions up to 17 weeks and 6 days LMP. “Medication abortions” are chemical–typically RU486—abortions.

PPCO has what appears to be a smaller, older facility located on East Main Street in Columbus that is open five days a week and which performs chemical abortions up to 7 weeks LMP and surgical up to 13 weeks LMP.   No statistics are listed on the website, but it does note that the Central Ohio Women’s Center is “a nonprofit provider of reproductive health care and pregnancy termination services” which has been affiliated with Planned Parenthood since 1978.

Both could easily serve, not only as regional abortion referral centers for Planned Parenthood satellite offices, but also as the central location for an abortionist setting up the chemical abortions of women at some of the smaller clinics via webcam.  Time will tell if this is the “increase” in the “organizations’ medical and business expertise” to which the press release alludes.

The release says as health care reform begins to be implemented and the political and federal landscape changes, the need for a unified voice and presence is all the more important.  Planned Parenthood clinics nationwide obviously stand to benefit if ObamaCare covers abortion and risks losing a lot if funding is cut at the state or national level.  Both possibilities have been on the table in recent years.

The merger announcement declares, “The objective for creating PPGO is to become stronger, maximize the capacity to serve patients, strengthen the organizations’ infrastructure, increase public policy influence and speak more clearly and strongly, with one voice.”

One voice lost in all the excitement over the merger, sadly, is that of the unborn child.  A financially stronger, more politically powerful Planned Parenthood will certainly not be better for them.

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Categories: PPFA