Possibly to justify the claim that Planned Parenthood is “all about abortions”, many antiabortion supporters claim that Planned Parenthood purposely gives out faulty, low dose birth control so that women will end up with unplanned pregnancies they’ll abort.
There’s a couple possible reasons why antiabortion supporters believe this.
A consumer watch dog group, Consumer Report, released a report on condom performance that stated that two out of the three condoms Planned Parenthood offered ranked low on their list of reliability. The original report appears to be no longer accessible from the Consumer Report website, but information on it is still spread through antiabortion articles and groups today. Two things should be noted about this report: 1. It was initially criticized because they performed only air inflation tests on the condoms, which pumps air into the condoms until they burst. 2. The report was done in 2005. At the time of writing, the no-longer-accessible-report is 15 years old. As usual, antiabortion groups rely on old data to back up their claims.
Guttmacher reports that slightly over half of women who had an abortion stated that they were on birth control at the time of getting pregnant, giving more reason for antiabortion supporters to believe Planned Parenthood is giving out faulty birth control. Antiabortion supporters completely ignore that every type of birth control method—even the best kind—has a failure rate. The CDC reported that 10.2 million women are on birth control pill. Statistically speaking, with a typical failure rate of 7%, up to 714,000 women get pregnant while on the pill. That’s just women on the pill and that number is much higher than the number of women who had an abortion after getting pregnant while using contraceptives.
It’s such a huge falsehood that even Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood employee and current antiabortion activist, stated in a 2015 Facebook post, “There is a widespread myth running around the prolife movement that Planned Parenthood gives out faulty, low dose birth control in order to create more abortions. Now, I will be the first person to come out and expose the poor practices within Planned Parenthood, but this is not one of them. Planned Parenthood gives out the exact same type of birth control that you would receive at any pharmacy.” This is a woman that attacks Planned Parenthood every chance she gets and even she says the idea that Planned Parenthood is distributing low dose birth control to make more abortions is bullshit. Unfortunately, she’s also a woman with a sketchy, constantly changing story about why she left Planned Parenthood and encourages antiabortion crisis pregnancy centers to misrepresent themselves to getting potential, abortion-minded clients to believe that they offer abortions or that they are an abortion clinic so she’s not exactly reliable for the truth. But it turns out, Abby—despite the untruthfulness in her history and the work she does now—is actually telling the truth on this one as it matches to what I can personally attest from my own experience with Planned Parenthood.
A little background: In 2007, I started getting reproductive health from a family planning clinic called Western Dairyland Women’s Health Center. In 2014, their two locations were acquired by Essential Health Clinic, which had been around for over 40 years. Essential Health Clinic ended up merging with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin this August and their remaining locations officially became Planned Parenthood health centers.
I had gotten a birth control refill right after the merger was announced, but before it went into effect and the clinic was still Essential Health Clinic. The next time I needed a refill, I would have to sign up as a new patient of Planned Parenthood (though I technically wasn’t a new patient of that clinic and staff. It was kind of weird.)
During the appointment I signed up as a new patient of Planned Parenthood, I was asked numerous questions regarding my birth control:
*Is your birth control working? (No pregnancies in the time I’ve been sexually active so “Yes”.)
*Are you at risk for an unplanned pregnancy? (What do you mean?) Are you taking your birth control properly? (Same time every day. I also have condoms and Plan B just in case)
*Do you want to become pregnant in the future? (Oh Hell no!)
*Do you want to stay with your current birth control method? (Yes. Its working!)
*Do you need condoms or Plan B with your birth control refill today? (Good on condoms, but I think my stash of Plan B expired so I’ll take that. Side note: I wish I had gotten condoms to compare with the stash I got from Essential Health Clinic.)
The questions and the multiple offerings of birth control methods seemed to indicate Planned Parenthood was about preventing unplanned pregnancies rather than encouraging it—which is what the staff did under the Essential Health Clinic banner.
Essential Health Clinic had prescribed me a birth control pill called Aubra as well as stocked me up on Plan B brand emergency contraception (something I rarely ever used, but had on hand just in case). When I officially became a patient of Planned Parenthood, I was given Aubra EQ and EContra One-Step as my birth control pills and emergency contraception respectively. The change in brands might convince antiabortion supporters that Planned Parenthood does give out defective birth control pills, but years of personal experience have taught me that name brand isn’t important with medication birth control. Since 2007, I’ve been on several brands of birth control pills. I started off on a brand I don’t remember the name to until being switched to Lutera. It was explained to me that sometimes the companies that manufacture these pills are taken over by other companies and the medications are rebranded as something else, but the pills themselves stay the same. I was switched to Aubra a few years later. Now I’m on Aubra EQ, which is made by the same company that made my Aubra pills (Afaxys). The important thing is not the name of the pills, but what’s they’re made of. I had an empty pack of my old pills and an expired Plan B packet to compare to the new medications I got from Planned Parenthood.
Both Aubra and Aubra EQ have .1 mg of Levonorgestrel and .02 mg of Ethinyl. Both Plan B and EContra One-Step have 1.5 mg of Levonorgestrel. The pills I was given at Planned Parenthood are basically exactly the same as the pills I’ve been on for years to avoid an unplanned pregnancy, which has so far been successful. In fact, Afaxys states on their website that Aubra EQ is comparable to my previous birth control pills Aubra and Lutera and that EContra One-Step is comparable to several brands of 1.5mg Levonorgestel emergency contraceptives including Plan B.
Here’s a couple of pictures showing the old and new birth control pills and emergency contraception.
The idea that Planned Parenthood is dishing out defective birth control medication to create more abortions appears to be nothing more than antiabortion propaganda to get people to believe Planned Parenthood is about making money on abortion.