- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 19, 2017

PARKER, Colorado — The empty retail space next to a Discount Liquors and Smoker Friendly used to house a Planned Parenthood, but no more.

The Planned Parenthood Express Clinic in Parker, Colorado, is one of the 32 Planned Parenthood centers that shut down this year, according to a study released this month by the pro-life American Life League.

Jim Sedlak, executive director of the American Life League, said there is “mounting evidence of Planned Parenthood’s decline” and “renewed optimism that the end of the organization may happen sooner than our most optimistic estimates just two years ago.”

“The evidence is clear: The American people are fed up with Planned Parenthood,” Mr. Sedlak said in a statement. “The revelations about its business model and its callous disregard for the lives of human beings are taking their toll on the organization’s acceptance.”

A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood could not be reached for comment before press time.

Executives at the giant abortion provider cite no single reason for the decline in facilities. Some point to the passage of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which they say has resulted in more patients who are enrolled in Medicaid and fewer who pay out of pocket.

But the abortion giant’s decline in clinics began well before Obamacare.

The number of Planned Parenthood facilities sits at 597, the American Life League report found, down from a peak of 938 clinics in 1995.

The authors of the American Life League report say Planned Parenthood has tried to open “larger and more upscale buildings” in an effort to attract customers and offset the dwindling number of locations.

The Parker facility may have been a victim of the bigger-and-better approach. Before it closed shop in August, the clinic sat at the end of a dingy strip mall and counted as its neighbors a tattoo parlor, a payday loan center, a liquor store and a bar.

Other abortion facilities have also struggled to make ends meet.

A report released Tuesday by the pro-life Operation Rescue found that 49 abortion facilities closed or halted abortion services this year. The number of abortion clinics decreased by 27 compared with 2016 totals.

“We rejoice that the abortion cartel is imploding and closing down,” Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, said in a statement. “We are making progress. But they are not going down without a fight. We continue to work and pray that we will soon see an end to abortion in our nation.”

In addition to the Parker clinic, Planned Parenthood also closed a facility in Longmont, Colorado. Four clinics shut down in California, while Arizona, Iowa, New Jersey and Pennsylvania each lost three clinics this year.

Wyoming lost its only Planned Parenthood when the Casper Health Center closed shop over the summer — joining North Dakota as the only states where Planned Parenthood does not operate. There are five jurisdictions with only one Planned Parenthood center: the District of Columbia, Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Dakota and West Virginia.

The decline in facilities has corresponded with fewer patients seen and services performed.

According to Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report, 2.4 million patients visited the abortion giant in fiscal year 2015, down from 3 million in fiscal 2012.

Planned Parenthood also reported a one-year decline in the performance of health services — such as testing for sexually transmitted infections, contraception services and cancer screenings — of 11 percent.

Abortions, however, have remained steady.

Planned Parenthood performed 328,348 abortions in fiscal 2015, up from 323,999 the previous year. The number of abortions also outpaced the number of breast exams (321,700) and pap tests (293,799) that Planned Parenthood said it performed.

Although Planned Parenthood operates in fewer facilities, sees fewer patients and performs fewer services, the nation’s largest abortion provider reported a year-to-year increase in federal funding of more than $25 million.

Congressional Republicans and President Trump have vowed to reallocate Planned Parenthood’s more than $500 million annual taxpayer funding to federally certified women’s health clinics that do not perform abortions, but they have yet to follow through on their campaign promise.

Although he is optimistic about the way things are going, Mr. Sedlak said, he does not anticipate Planned Parenthood will go quietly.

“While the numbers continue to show an organization in decline, we do not expect it to go quietly into the night,” he said. “We expect that Planned Parenthood’s leaders, along with its bought-and-paid-for politicians, will continue to spread the lies and demand the American people pay tribute to this satanic organization. But, in the end, it will lose.”

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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