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Lauren Carroll
By Lauren Carroll August 3, 2015

97% of Planned Parenthood's work is mammograms, preventive care, O'Malley says

The vast majority of Planned Parenthood’s work goes toward mammograms and preventive care, said former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Since an anti-abortion group released videos Planned Parenthood officials talking about aborted fetal parts, Republicans have pushed to take away federal funding from the women’s health organization. Democratic presidential candidates, on the other hand, are showing their support, if subdued.

O’Malley said he hadn’t seen the videos, speaking to reporters in New Hampshire July 26.

"And I don't generally make a habit of responding to right-wing videos," O'Malley said, according to Washington Post’s Dave Weigel. "I do know that 97 percent of the work that Planned Parenthood does is about mammograms and preventative health. So that's what I know, but I'll defer to others for commenting on that video and whatever videos they're pumping out there."

Is 97 percent of what Planned Parenthood does mammograms and other preventive care, as opposed to abortions?

O’Malley spokeswoman Haley Morris pointed us to a Planned Parenthood press release that had a similar, but not identical, statistic.

"More than 97 percent of Planned Parenthood's services are primary and preventive health care, including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, testing and treatment of STDs, annual exams and health counseling," the 2011 release said.

As we’ve found in previous fact-checks, Planned Parenthood comes to this number by adding up the number of individual services provided each year. In total, they provided nearly 11 million services in 2013, according to their most recent annual report. (Planned Parenthood clinics saw 2.7 million individual patients in 2013, so many received multiple services.)

Here’s the breakdown from the annual report:

Abortions: 327,653

Sexually transmitted infection/disease testing and treatment: 4,470,597

Contraception: 3,577,348

Cancer screening and prevention: 935,573

Pregnancy tests: 1,128,783

Prenatal services: 18,684

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Family practice services: 65,464

Adoption referrals: 1,880

Urinary tract infection treatments: 47,264

Other: 17,187

Based on this list, it’s accurate that abortion procedures only count for 3 percent of all services provided, meaning 97 percent of the services Planned Parenthood provides are other forms of reproductive and primary care. By far, contraception and STI/STD testing and treatment are the most frequented services.

Of their services, Planned Parenthood considers many to be preventive care in that they manage health and prevent disease or worse problems down the line. This includes STI/STD testing and treatment, contraception and cancer screening and prevention -- 8,983,518 services provided in 2013.

Not included in this list are abortions, pregnancy tests, prenatal services, adoption referrals, UTI treatments, family practice services (a vague category that could include certain preventive care), and other services -- 1,606,915 services in 2013.

Based on this breakdown, about 85 percent of Planned Parenthood’s work is preventive. Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Elizabeth Clark put the figure at 90 percent. But both are a bit lower than what O’Malley said: that 97 percent is preventive care and mammograms.

Oh yeah, what about mammograms?

Within the category of "cancer screening and prevention services," Planned Parenthood said it offered 487,029 breast exams or breast care services in 2013. However, as we’ve noted before, Planned Parenthood clinics do not provide mammograms themselves.

Rather, Planned Parenthood physicians perform other types of breast exams and refer patients to outside clinics where they can get a mammogram.

An October 2012 statement posted on Planned Parenthood’s website explained the group’s approach, which they said is helping women access mammograms via referral even though the clinics do not perform them in-house.

So O’Malley’s 97 percent figure has some basis -- that’s the percentage of Planned Parenthood’s services that aren’t abortion. But that’s a broader category than "mammograms and preventative health," which O’Malley said.

Our ruling

O’Malley said, "97 percent of the work that Planned Parenthood does is about mammograms and preventative health."

According to Planned Parenthood, about 97 percent of the services the group provides in a given year are services other than abortion. That includes preventive and primary care. Preventive care accounts for about 85 to 90 percent of the services Planned Parenthood provides.

While mammograms are considered a form of preventive care, Planned Parenthood doesn’t do their own mammograms. Clinics perform breast exams and refer patients to outside clinics for an actual mammogram.

The claim wasn’t pulled out of thin air, but it’s missing some important information, so we rate O’Malley’s claim Half True.

Our Sources

Planned Parenthood, "2013-2014 Annual Report," December 2014

PolitiFact, "Jon Kyl says abortion services are ‘well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does,’" April 8, 2011

PolitiFact, "Barack Obama, critics clash on whether Planned Parenthood provides mammograms," Oct. 30, 2012

Washington Post, "For Democrats, there’s no right answer on Planned Parenthood," July 29, 2015

Email interview, O’Malley spokeswoman Haley Morris, July 30, 2015

Email interview, Debra Kalmuss, professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, July 30, 2015

Statement from Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Elizabeth Clark, July 31, 2015

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97% of Planned Parenthood's work is mammograms, preventive care, O'Malley says

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