Live Action: Abortion Facilities Closing at Unprecedented Rate, Says New Report

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By Carole Novielli, Live Action News, November 20, 2018

November 20, 2018 (Live Action News) – Good news for pro-life advocates can be found in a recently released report from an abortion organization claiming that “independent [abortion] clinics are closing at an unprecedented rate.” The report was published by Abortion Care Network (ACN), whose stated mission is to “ensure access” to abortion.

The 2018 report, “Communities Need Clinics: Independent Abortion Care Providers and the Future of Abortion Access in the United States,” says:

When Abortion Care Network started tracking clinic closures in 2012, there were 510 independent abortion clinics open in the U.S. As of November 2018, 370 independent clinics remain open. Since 2013, 148 independent abortion clinics have closed. Forty of those clinics closed in 2013; 23 closed in 2014; 33 closed in 2015; 22 closed in 2016; 17 closed in 2017. As of November, 11 independent clinics have closed in 2018.

ImageClinic closing graph from Abortion Care Network 2018 report.

ACN was founded in 2008 and is led by executive director, Nikki Madsen, and governed by Board members from a litany of abortion facilities and organizations. The organization claims to be the “national association for independent community-based, abortion care providers and their allies.”

ImageAbortion Care Network report on independent abortion providers.

Under methodology, the report says:

Abortion Care Network collects data annually on every abortion clinic in the United States that makes abortion care services publicly available or otherwise discloses that they provide abortion care. Using publicly available search engines to identify providers, each clinic is contacted annually for operational status and information on the scope of services provided. Data gathered are presented throughout this report.

While it wasn’t clearly stated how ACN determined which facilities were independent providers, many of ACN’s reported stats sounded encouraging:

  • Independent clinics are closing at an unprecedented rate: the number of independent clinics has been reduced by nearly 28 percent since 2012.
  • Currently, six states have only one abortion care provider.
  • While there have also been a handful of clinic openings, the total number of independent clinics in this country has decreased by 2 percent since 2012.
  • Over the last three years, 50 independent clinics have been forced to close in the United States.

The report then states:

… Currently, six states have only one abortion care provider. Independent abortion care providers operate the only remaining clinic in four of those states: Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, West Virginia (Missouri and South Dakota each rely on a single Planned Parenthood). Though there are three remaining clinics in Louisiana and two in Wyoming – those states rely entirely on independent clinics for abortion care.

ImageStates with only one independent abortion facility (Image: Abortion Care Network 2018 report).

Although the largest provider of abortions in the nation is Planned Parenthood, and ACN shows that Planned Parenthood is included in its membership, Planned Parenthood isn’t included in the state-by-state abortion facilities listed under ACN’s “Abortion Care Providers” list.

ImageACN Abortion Care Providers List (Image: Screen from Abortion Care Network taken 11/15/2018).

ACN seems to make a distinction between independent abortion facilities and physicians’ offices, hospitals, and Planned Parenthood’s massive chain of facilities. The report acknowledges what Live Action News has reported numerous times – that despite decreasing health services, Planned Parenthood – one organization – has a monopoly on abortions in the US. While figures indicate that while profitable abortions are on a steady decline nationally, Planned Parenthood’s market share has climbed to nearly 35 percent nationwide. And ACN’s report shows the same.

ImagePlanned Parenthood national abortion market share 2000-2016.

ACN claims, “Although independent abortion care providers represent about 25 percent of the facilities offering abortion care nationwide, they perform about 60 percent of the abortion procedures,” while hospitals and physicians’ offices are only five percent.

What distinguishes an abortion facility from a doctor’s office is not specifically defined in the report.

ImageAbortion Care Network graph on abortion percentage by provider type.

ACN seems to boast that, as it claims in the report, independent abortion providers commit 94 percent of later term abortions in the nation.

Across the country, 66 percent of clinics that provide abortion after the first trimester are independent. Independent clinics represent 75 percent of all clinics that provide care after 16 weeks of pregnancy, 83 percent of clinics providing care after 19 weeks, and 94 percent of clinics that provide care at or after the 22nd week of pregnancy.

ImageAbortion Care Network graph percentage of clinics by type and gestation.

Tragically, research published by Live Action News reveals that 100,000 later-term abortions are reported annually in the United States, despite polls that indicate the American public is uncomfortable with second- and third-trimester abortions.

For more than 20 years, Gallup has found that abortion support plummets after the first trimester. According to a June 2018 Gallup Poll, out of 60 percent of adults who believe abortion should be legal in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, “support drops by about half, to 28%, for abortions conducted in the second three months, and by half again, to 13%, in the final three months.”

ACN released the report along with a planned Tweetfest using the hashtag #IndiesProvide to draw attention to independent abortion providers and the role they play in committing abortion.

ImageAbortion Care Network Tweetfest (Image: ACN Twitter).

The ACN report seems to confirm what advocates opposed to abortion have stressed for a long time: that the work of pro-life sidewalk counselors, prayer events, investigations, legislative efforts, and pregnancy resource centers may actually be having an impact on the number of abortions and abortion facilities in the United States.

Published with permission from Live Action News.