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Planned Parenthood

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LAST UPDATED: February 10th, 2024

Planned Parenthood Federation of America was founded in 1916 in New York City by Margaret Sanger. Sanger was a pioneer in women's health who worked to put birth control into the mainstream, allowing women to have access to information about their reproductive health. Sanger was also a controversial figure, given some of her views on race and voluntarily terminating pregnancies, particularly for minorities. The organization was officially named Planned Parenthood in 1942. Planned Parenthood Federation of America operates two headquarters, one in Washington D.C. and the other in New York City.

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The Good

  • 74.1 percent revenue used on program delivery
  • Financial information is accessible
  • Many forms of communication

Fundraising Expenses

Planned Parenthood reported that 16 percent of its expenses for the fiscal year of 2014-2015 was used for fundraising activities.

Program Percentage

Most charity watchdog organizations evaluate the percentage of a charitable organization's revenue above 70 percent as being effective program delivery and responsible fiscal management. Planned Parenthood Federation of America reported 74.1 percent of its revenue being used for its programs in the 2014 fiscal year, this is the last available financial information from the organization. While Planned Parenthood has reported an acceptable ratio of program delivery to income, it should be noted that most of the top-performing charitable organizations report program delivery percentages which are significantly higher, showing a more effective use of donated funds.

Accessible Financial Information

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America has published its last three annual reports and the organization's most recent IRS Form 990 (fiscal year end June 2015) return on its site, along with the most recent copy of its consolidated financial statement. Most nonprofit organizations are more transparent with their finances, with several years' of annual reports, Forms 990, and financial records on their websites. Planned Parenthood meets the basic requirements of being financially transparent, but is considerably less transparent than other organizations.

Donor Communication

Planned Parenthood maintains a robust blog, information database, and active social media accounts from which the organization helps interested parties and donors stay informed about the latest news and developments. One can also sign up for updates via email. Donors can expect to receive more solicitations for donations sent to whatever contact information which they have provided to Planned Parenthood.

The Bad

  • High administrative expenses
  • Negative press
  • Controversial award

Total Income

As Planned Parenthood does not publish past years' financial information, all financial information was taken from Charity Navigator, a respected independent charity watchdog organization. 2014: $176,617,285 2013: $134,538,860 2012: $156,125,184 2011: $180,418,835 2010: $81,941,013

Administrative Expenses

Planned Parenthood spent 9.6 percent of its revenue on administrative expenses for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, or $15,822,138. The organization's top executive, Cecile Richards, received an annual salary of $451,752 for the same time period, which is 0.30 percent of the organization's reported expenses. This percentage is slightly higher than that reported by the top-rated organizations.

Negative Press

The recent scandal involving the organization's alleged profits from selling fetal body parts and organs which were harvested from abortions has further polarized Americans on their personal stands about Planned Parenthood. There are several articles published about this issue, most of which are not unbiased and attempt to further arguments on either side of the issue. Those who are critical of Planned Parenthood accuse the mainstream media of whitewashing the scandal, while those who are in favor of Planned Parenthood criticized the coverage of the story as being false and inflammatory. After the video exposé of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America's officials negotiating prices for fetal body parts with an undercover individual, the organization received significant negative press. Planned Parenthood solicited George Soros and his organization, asking for $1.5 million to offset the negative press reports. The Washington Times reported that the investigation into fetal parts being provided to Washington University from Planned Parenthood was not thorough, and conducted in an unprofessional manner. The editorial board of the The New York Times went on to conclude that the videos had been doctored or edited in an attempt to misrepresent the organization's operations. Washington Deputy Attorney General, Paige Dietrich, requested documents from the University about its arrangement with Planned Parenthood to supply fetal tissue for Washington University's Birth Defect Research Lab, with assurances that the documents would remain confidential. After assurances that this would be the case, Ms. Dietrich surprisingly informed the University that the documents would no longer be needed. Shortly after the Deputy Attorney General's emailed statement releasing the University from providing documents, Planned Parenthood was exonerated in by the state of Washington for its practices. Critics state that the investigation was improperly managed with the result being determined by politics before the investigation was even commenced.


Planned Parenthood gives many internal awards to its affiliate clinics as well as awards journalists and media outlets for their work. Each organization, whether it is a for-profit or not, has the right to give awards to individuals and organizations which further their cause, etc. One of the most inflammatory internal awards is to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Aurora, Colorado, which was recognized by the national headquarters for the number of "abortion visits" (presumably resulting in abortions) by the clinic in 2013, compared to the those reported in 2012. Planned Parenthood stated that it does not have quotas for abortion visits but did not deny that the award was given. Planned Parenthood issued a clarifying statement about abortion quotas and award, which some felt was sanctimonious, and boasted about its mission. With the current political environment of the United States, many critics of Planned Parenthood have been enraged at the organization for its choice of which individuals and organizations which have been recognized with awards. It is notable that the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has not been recognized by external groups for its program delivery, which could be an indication that organizations do not wish to become entangled in the extremely controversial debate which surrounds Planned Parenthood and its support.

The Bottom Line

Planned Parenthood Federation of America is a polarizing organization, yielding strong opinions about its mission to bring a full-spectrum approach of reproductive health to those in need, regardless of their ability to pay. If you already have strong reviews toward Planned Parenthood, it is unlikely this review will sway those opinions; in either case, we have attempted to evaluate the company on objective factors rather than political persuasions. Planned Parenthood Federation of America dedicates a generous percentage of its revenue toward its charitable program; on the other hand, while most charitable organizations publish several years' financial information, Planned Parenthood does not. This lack of financial transparency results in reservations in recommending Planned Parenthood as an organization worth supporting.
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Amani Patel Harrisonburg, VA

A pretty good organization with good intentions and goals. I think some of the goals could be a little clearer, but I also understand that this organization has to tackle some major challenges! I think the mission of this organization is carried out well, and I will continue to support it in the future.

1 week ago

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Summer Porter Managua, MN

I cannot recommend Planned Parenthood enough. Between access to contraceptions, variety in next steps once sexually active and further education to help create healthier and conscious based sex lives, it is a great blessing to many especially teenagers and young adults.

4 years ago