The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), the research arm of Planned Parenthood, estimates that there were 1.21 million abortions performed in the U.S. in the year 2005. Of the 1.21 million annual abortions, approximately 88% (1.06 million) are performed during the first trimester. The other 12% (150,000) are performed during the second and third trimester. In 2005, the average cost of a nonhospital abortion with local anesthesia at 10 weeks of gestation was $413. The Women's Medical Center estimates that a 2nd trimester abortion costs up to $3000 (with the price increasing the further along the pregnancy goes). If we take the $413 average for 1st trimester abortions and use a $3000 average for 2nd and 3rd trimester abortions, here's what we get: $438 million is spent each year on first trimester abortions and $393 million is spent on late term abortions. That means that each year in the U.S., the abortion industry brings in approximately $831 million through their abortion services alone. If you add in the $337 million (or more) that Planned Parenthood (America's largest abortion provider) receives annually in government grants and contracts for, the annual dollar amount moves well past 1 billion.
Abortion, to put it plainly, is a very lucrative business, and this has been true from the beginning. By last count, Planned Parenthood (a tax-exempt organization!) has $951 million in total assets! Marvin Olasky observes and documents in his book, Abortion Rites, that there have long been doctors who supported abortion "if not for principle, at least for principal." Like prostitution (which helped abortionists "flourish and grow rich" during the mid 1800's), abortion offers the opportunity to get rich quick. For all of human history, the "blandishment of wealth" has led many to rationalize career choices that they would never otherwise dream of.
What this means to the abortion debate is that the people and organizations who defend the morality of abortion the most vehemently are generally the very same ones who rake in huge profits from its continued availability. This sets up a significant conflict of interest and should immediately call into question any claims they might make about their desire to reduce the number of abortions. When Planned Parenthood argues that they're working hard to reduce the frequency of abortion, the fact remains that their financial livelihood is built on abortion. Planned Parenthood, then, is just like the big tobacco companies. Does anyone really believe that tobacco companies want people to stop smoking? Does anyone really believe that Planned Parenthood wants people to stop having abortions? Follow the money.