NRL News

Louisiana RTL debunks PPFA’s contention there is an “unmet need” for abortion in New Orleans

by | Feb 12, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

ppfaabortionOn Wednesday NRL News Today reported that, as expected, Planned Parenthood appealed the decision of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to deny the group’s “Facility Need Review” application to obtain an outpatient abortion facility license on Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans.

As we explained Wednesday, DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert had denied their request to build a new clinic in New Orleans. Why?

“Your application failed to establish the probability of serious, adverse consequences to recipients’ ability to access outpatient abortion services if you are not allowed to apply for licensure.”

Kliebert was alluding to the 2012 extension of the “Facility Need Review” (FNR) requirement to cover abortion clinics. No one could build a new clinic in Louisiana without proving to the state that the facility was needed. In short, Kliebert concluded was simply no need for another abortion clinic in New Orleans.

But what was Planned Parenthood’s argument? Louisiana Right to Life secured, through a public records request, Planned Parenthood’s “Facility Need Review” Brief submitted to the DHH on October 15. In this 74-page document, Planned Parenthood argued that New Orleans needs almost 3,000 more abortions on an annual basis.

In addition to posting Planned Parenthood’s request on its webpage, Louisiana Right to Life included a brief but very powerful rebuttal. Here are several of the key points:

#1. After reviewing the brief, Ben Clapper, executive director of Louisiana Right to Life explained

“Over the past few years, Planned Parenthood has avoided almost all mention of abortion when discussing its new facility currently planned for Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans. They have focused instead on the need for women’s healthcare. Now, in a shockingly blunt and business-like manner, Planned Parenthood is making a case to the state of Louisiana that the New Orleans area needs 2,844 new abortions every year, and that Planned Parenthood is the business to sell those abortions. more authentic healthcare, not a mega-facility to sell abortion to our citizens.”

#2. How did Planned Parenthood come to the conclusion (besides self-interest) that there was an “unfilled need”? It extrapolated from national figures and argued that if women residing in the New Orleans area did not have the “right” number of abortions, it can only because they were prevented from obtaining access to abortion.

But, as Louisiana Right to Life noted,

Planned Parenthood leaves out the possibility that women residing in the greater New Orleans area simply may not want to abort their unborn children at the same rate as women in other parts of the nation. The group fails to mention that social services, both provided by non-profit organizations and governmental agencies, exist in the region to offer support to women facing unplanned pregnancies and encourage them to parent or place their child for adoption.

#3. But to get to 2,844 Planned Parenthood had to contend that the “need” for abortion extended into surrounding areas of Southeast Louisiana. It cited “lack of transportation and access as a reason for the depressed abortion figures…” Louisiana Right to Life shrewdly explained

However, Planned Parenthood’s proposed abortion facility would be located just minutes away from the region’s other two abortion facilities, and whatever limitations women outside the region would have getting to those facilities they will have getting to Planned Parenthood’s new facility.

The analysis goes much further, but these are some of the highlights. Come to think of it, I forgot one:

[B]y adding 2,844 abortions a year in New Orleans, abortion income would continue to rise. By setting the average cost of an abortion at $450, 2,844 abortions would represent $1,279,800 in annual abortion income at the Claiborne Avenue facility alone.

Categories: PPFA