Crossposted from


As anti-choice activists continue to push the now-thoroughly discredited “Planned Parenthood sells baby parts!” story as a ruse to defund the organization and deprive millions of women of contraception and health screenings (since federal funds can’t be used on abortion), you will often hear them speak of “thousands of community health clinics” that are readily available to low income patients who currently use Planned Parenthood. This, it turns out, is a bunch of garbage (as is approximately 99.9% everything claimed by anti-choicers but mainstream news people continue to treat them as a credible movement for dog knows what reason). The Congressional Budget Office commissioned an analysis of health provider availability for women who need contraception and found that Planned Parenthood is a crucial provider of birth control to a large number of regions and the women who live in them, as the graph above illustrates.

Planned Parenthood health centers serve a greater share of safety-net contraceptive clients than do any other types of providers.

Although Planned Parenthood health centers comprise 10 percent of publicly supported safety-net family planning centers, they serve 36 percent of clients who obtain publicly supported contraceptive services from such centers. By contrast, centers operated by health departments serve 27 percent of safety-net contraceptive clients, FQHCs serve 16 percent, sites operated by hospitals serve 8 percent, and sites operated by other agencies serve 13 percent.

On average, Planned Parenthood health centers serve many more contraceptive clients per year than do other types of safety-net providers. Planned Parenthood health centers serve an average of 2,950 contraceptive clients per year, many times more than any other type of publicly supported health center. By contrast, those operated by hospitals serve an average of 770 contraceptive clients, health departments serve an average of 750, FQHCs serve 330, and centers operated by other types of agencies serve 680 contraceptive clients each year.

Planned Parenthood health centers are more likely to facilitate women’s timely access to a wide range of contraceptive services and supplies.

Planned Parenthood sites are considerably more likely to offer a broad range of contraceptive methods than sites operated by other types of agencies. Specifically, 91 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers offer at least 10 of 13 reversible contraceptive methods, compared to between 48 percent and 53 percent of sites operated by other types of agencies.

Moreover, Planned Parenthood sites are particularly likely to help women who choose oral contraceptives to get their pills without having to make an additional trip to a pharmacy: 92 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers offer oral contraceptive supplies and refills on-site, as do 86 percent of health department sites. Considerably smaller proportions of sites operated by FQHCs and other types of agencies—37 percent and 55 percent, respectively—do so.

Finally, women are often able to get the care they need more quickly from Planned Parenthood than from other types of safety-net providers. Sixty-three percent of Planned Parenthood health centers offer same-day appointments, compared to between 30 percent and 40 percent of sites operated by other types of agencies. And the average wait for an appointment at a Planned Parenthood health center is 1.8 days, whereas wait times at sites operated by other types of agencies range from 5.3 to 6.8 days.

That last bit about the increased waiting times at the non-Planned Parenthood clinics might be a plus to anti-choicers, who constantly push for ever-longer waiting times on women before they can access abortion. Why not do the same with contraception? Maybe women will think harder about whether they really want to have that non-procreative sex! Anti-choicers have overtly sneered at the prospect of women receiving health care pertaining to their sexuality respectfully and in comfort in “shiny new mega-clinics”. Because, of course, if a sexually active woman is at a health care provider for any reason besides having babies as God intends*, it should be as humiliating and uncomfortable as possible, if the care is available at all. Which it isn’t in places like much of Texas, where hundreds of thousands of poor women have lost access to care thanks to bogus anti-choice laws and budget cuts targeting family planning.

It’s especially maddening hearing conservatives tout “thousands of clinics” when they have cut funding to indigent health care (which includes those community health clinics) at every opportunity and refused the ACA Medicaid expansion in several red states.

*Ha ha, kidding! Some of our own Arizona legislators have been very vocal in expressing their ire over Medicaid covering childbirth. I suppose they feel poor women should be lying down in ditches to give birth to the babies that anti-choicers would force them to have. And they have the nerve to call us on the pro-choice side ghoulish.