(CNSNews.com) - The number of clinics run by Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest provider of abortions, has dropped to the lowest since 1987, according to a pro-life group.
"2006 was another year of struggle for Planned Parenthood," said Jim Sedlak, executive director of Stop Planned Parenthood (STOPP) International, a subdivision of the American Life League (ALL).
The federation "began the year with a total of 872 clinics and, despite opening several new clinics, ended the year with 859," he said.
"Americans are rejecting Planned Parenthood and its agenda as more and more of its clinics are closing across the United States," Sedlak claimed.
He based his comments on a new study by STOPP, which shows that the number of Planned Parenthood's "health" clinics has dropped to 817, its lowest total in almost 20 years. That number has been dropping since 1995 when it stood at a total of 938. Sedlak noted this constituted an average reduction of 11 clinics a year.
The study concentrated on clinics that perform chemical, medical and surgical abortions.
In addition, Planned Parenthood operates 42 "express" clinics which have no exam rooms and are basically retail store fronts, he said. These facilities, which were launched three years ago, are not included in the count of "health" clinics.
As of Dec. 5, the 117 federation affiliates operate a total of 859 facilities in 49 states and the District of Columbia, the study showed. North Dakota has a Planned Parenthood educational office but no clinic.
Of those 859 clinics, 232 clinics carry out abortions - 172 that provide surgical abortions and 60 other medical abortions.
The survey showed that the state with the largest number of closings in 2006 was California, where Planned Parenthood shut down 18 express clinics in the San Diego area. California still has 97 clinics, the largest number for any state.
New York has the second-highest total of clinics, with 79. Texas comes in third with 77 after clinics were closed in Borger, Dumas and Cactus, while one opened in Sierra Blanca.
Sedlak said the data used in the survey was collected over a 60-day period from a variety of sources, including Planned Parenthood printed material and Internet postings, phone calls to facilities and reports from individuals around the country.
As Cybercast News Service previously reported, Planned Parenthood has been performing more abortions in fewer clinics for the past several years.
In early January, the federation began the year by choosing a new president: Cecile Richards, a liberal political activist and the daughter of late former Texas Gov. Ann Richards.
Later that month, ALL marked the 33rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision by beginning a nationwide effort to stop taxpayer money from going to Planned Parenthood.
On June 6, Planned Parenthood joined more than 200 liberal organizations in launching a nationwide campaign to halt federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.
The following week, Richards declared that she and her organization intended to use their resources to "swing the vote" and "help progressive voices win" contests across the country during the Nov. 7 election.
After quietly commemorating its 90th anniversary in October, Planned Parenthood played a significant role in defeating a South Dakota law that would have banned all abortions except to save a woman's life. The measure was rejected by voters 55-45 percent.
Looking back over the events of the past 12 months and the results of the STOPP study, Sedlak said that "people are rejecting Planned Parenthood all over the country. Americans, whom we have supplied with the truth about this organization, simply do not want Planned Parenthood in their communities.
"It is time elected officials got the message and stopped giving hundreds of millions in taxpayer money to an organization that is clearly losing public support all across the nation," he added.
By press time, Planned Parenthood Federation of America headquarters in New York City had not responded to invitations to comment.
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