Yes. And no. At the majority of its clinics, Planned Parenthood does ultrasounds for just one reason: abortion.
What Are Ultrasounds?
An ultrasound is “a medical test that uses high-frequency sound waves to capture live images from the inside of your body.” It’s a technology similar to radar or sonar. And though scientists studied these concepts beginning in the late 1700s, it was only in the 1950s that it became possible to first use ultrasounds to see a baby inside a woman’s body. Today, the technology is routinely used in OBGYN offices worldwide.
But ultrasound technology is not always used to show a happy mother her growing baby. Sometimes that technology is used to help kill a baby.
Does Planned Parenthood Do Ultrasounds?
Doctors in Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics use ultrasounds to determine the age and size of the baby or to guide them as they perform abortions. They rarely use them otherwise.
In 2017, Live Action released a video showing that undercover callers had phoned 68 Planned Parenthood clinics across the US asking whether they performed sonograms. Sixty-five of them either didn’t offer ultrasounds at all or only did them as part of the abortion process. Only three said they could do one to check the health of the baby.That same year, Sue Thayer, a former Planned Parenthood manager, spoke with Lila Rose of Live Action about the use of ultrasounds. She stated that they were only used for abortions. Furthermore, she stated that clinic workers purposely turned the monitor around so the patient could not see her baby.
And, today, because of COVID restrictions, the number of clinics that do ultrasounds for women not considering abortion is likely even lower than what Live Action found. For instance, Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast states on its website that it does ultrasounds to date the pregnancy. But a call to the office found that they only do ultrasounds if a woman is going to have an abortion. They said they are trying to limit the number of people in the office.
Why Do Ultrasounds Matter?
Ultrasounds allow the mom to see her baby! She can see him suck his thumb, move around, and maybe even smile! Many women consider the ultrasound one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy. This is the woman’s first glimpse into life with her new baby.
There are three different kinds of ultrasounds that allow for different views of the baby. A 2-D ultrasound is the type that most women get. This offers a cross-sectional view of the baby. A 3-D ultrasound compiles 2-D images from various angles. It then pieces them together to form a three-dimensional image. The 4-D shows movement. Here a mother can see her baby move, open his eyes, and maybe even smile!
In essence, these ultrasound images allow a mom to see and immediately bond with her baby. She now has tangible proof her baby is alive. And she cannot believe the lie that a baby is just a clump of cells.
It’s easy to understand why Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers would not want women to see their babies. Simply put, the mom might decide not to go through with the abortion. And PP would lose a lot of money if mothers began deciding that.
The numbers are staggering. Planned Parenthood makes a lot of money from performing abortions; according to one article, “PP killed 345,672 preborn babies during the 2018-2019 fiscal year. At an average charge of $600/abortion, that equates to about $568,200 every day!”
That’s a lot of money. And that’s a lot of dead babies.
Yet PP takes all of this in stride. Recently, its President, Alexis McGill Johnson, stated, “It’s really not a big deal that Planned Parenthood does [abortions]. We are a proud abortion provider. We believe that abortion is health care, and we believe, fundamentally, that self-determination begins with being able to control your own body and freedom begins with being able to control your own body.”
So if the mom sees her baby and decides she cannot go through with the abortion, Planned Parenthood loses out.
Studies have shown that abortion-minded women who see ultrasounds are more likely to choose not to abort than women who do not see the ultrasound. These findings have led to numerous states enacting laws requiring the use of an ultrasound before an abortion. Twenty-six states have such laws.
According to the Guttmacher Institute:
- 4 states mandate that an abortion provider perform an ultrasound on each woman seeking an abortion and require the provider to show and describe the image.
- 10 states mandate that an abortion provider perform an ultrasound on each woman seeking an abortion, and 8 of these require the provider to offer the woman the opportunity to view the image.
- 9 states require that a woman be provided with the opportunity to view an ultrasound image if her provider performs the procedure as part of the preparation for an abortion.
- 6 states require that a woman be provided with the opportunity to view an ultrasound image.
Iowa is one such state with ultrasound laws. According to Guttmacher, in Iowa “a patient must undergo an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion; the provider must offer the patient the option to view the image.” When this law was being discussed last year, Iowa Planned Parenthood executive director Erin Dividson-Rippey claimed: “[Abortion is] fundamentally covered in the Iowa constitution, just like free speech would be.”
Freedom of speech is a right. Abortion is not.
Another state with an ultrasound law is Texas. In 2013, Rick Perry, then-governor of Texas, supported a bill that allowed women to see their baby on an ultrasound. Cecile Richards was president of Planned Parenthood at the time. Her response to the governor’s support was: “Why is Rick Perry so cruel to women?”
Planned Parenthood is an abortion business. Performing ultrasounds for any reason besides abortions would undermine its mission.
Planned Parenthood execs don’t see the horror of abortion. They believe that pro-lifers enact these laws to hurt women. They don’t see the damage that abortion does to the babies and the moms.
The slaughter of babies is big business. And Planned Parenthood can’t do without it. That’s why the organization refused to stop doing them when President Trump, in 2017, said its funding could stay if it stopped performing abortions.
But now, with a Biden/Harris administration, we will see the restoration of Title X money to Planned Parenthood. Indeed, abortion will be heavily funded outside our country too. Biden has said that he plans to rescind many Trump-era policies.
We know that the work of the pro-aborts won’t stop. Thus, our work cannot stop either. We must keep fighting for the babies at both the state and local levels. Planned Parenthood knows abortions kill babies. That’s why most clinics only offer ultrasounds if the woman wants an abortion. That’s why PP doesn’t want women to see their babies on the screen.
But we know the truth. Abortion kills a baby every single time. When a mother sees her baby on an ultrasound, she also sees his humanity. And this is bad news for Planned Parenthood.
Susan Ciancio has a BA in psychology and a BA in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, with an MA in liberal studies from Indiana University. Since 2003, she has worked as a professional editor and writer, editing both fiction and nonfiction books, magazine articles, blogs, educational lessons, professional materials, and website content. Fourteen of those years have been in the pro-life sector. Currently Susan writes weekly for HLI, edits for American Life League, and is the editor of its Celebrate Life Magazine. She also serves as executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program, an educational nonprofit program for k-12 students.