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Planned Parenthood now offering transgender hormone therapy amid decline in abortions

(Reuters/Ilana Panich-Linsman)Planned Parenthood South Austin Health Center is seen in Austin, Texas, U.S. June 27, 2016.

As the abortion rate continues to decline in the U.S., Planned Parenthood has decided to expand its services by offering transgender hormone therapy.

"We're expanding access to care — from pioneering research on self-injectable birth control to offering new services for our transgender patients," Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards announced in the report.

"Planned Parenthood has focused on expanding services to people who are too often overlooked by the larger medical community — including trans patients. 17 states now have Planned Parenthood health centers that provide hormone therapy," the report stated, according to The Washington Times.

The organization's 2016–17 annual report has shown that it has been struggling to keep its clinics open as fewer women undergo abortions and patients turn to other facilities to obtain health care services.

Planned Parenthood's affiliates have reportedly shut down at least 33 clinics, including the closure of a clinic in Iowa's Quad Cities region on Dec. 29.

A 2016 study by the Guttmacher Institute has indicated that the abortion rate in the U.S. has dropped to 14.6 per 1,000 women in 2014 after peaking at 29.3 in 1980.

A total of 321,384 abortions were performed at Planned Parenthood's health care centers and clinics last year, which was down from 328,348 in 2016.

Other services at Planned Parenthood also declined, including contraception services, which fell by 30 percent, and prenatal care, which dropped by more than 37 percent.

Despite the decline, the organization's total revenue increased in 2017. According to its latest report, the total revenue last year was $1.46 billion, up from $1.35 billion in 2016.

About half of the organization's income was from government health care services grants and reimbursements. Last year, Planned Parenthood collected $543.7 million from the government, down from $554.6 in 2016, which could be due to the decrease in patient visits.

In the latest report, Planned Parenthood touted a number of new and expanded services, such as a period-tracking app and Zika education and prevention campaign, as well as transgender-hormone therapy.

Fox News reported in 2016 that 32 Planned Parenthood centers were offering hormone treatments in 10 states.

At the time, Some conservatives expressed concern about the treatment as Planned Parenthood only requires prospective patients to provide "consent for services." The Standards of Care manual designed by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health states that anyone seeking a change should undergo an examination by a mental health professional to "assess clients' gender dysphoria."

"I'm concerned about young people," Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, said at the time. "We're seeing an increasing trend with minors, children being given puberty-blocking hormones to prevent them from going through the typical process of puberty in order to make it easier for them to transition to the opposite sex," he added.

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