Saturday, February 4, 2012

What's Planned Parenthood Really About?

You don't need me to tell you that breast cancer foundation Susan G. Komen for the Cure has set off a firestorm over its decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood. Unless you've been living at Walden Pond, you've heard all about the controversy by now.

Throughout the news cycle this week, the drama just intensified, with Susan G. Komen for the Cure seemingly backing off its decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood, then revelations emerging that "Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for George W. Bush and prominent right-wing pundit, was secretly involved in the Komen Foundation’s strategy regarding Planned Parenthood," and now reports and speculation are surfacing that Susan G. Komen is switching back to defunding Planned Parenthood, or leaving the door open to do so.

They better be careful-- if they flip flop one more time, Mitt Romney might hit them with a trademark infringement suit! But before I get off-topic riffing on the entire Republican presidential field, let's take a look at what Planned Parenthood really does, because I'm seeing a lot of misleading information out there on just how big a role abortion plays at Planned Parenthood. That's the real controversy here and the real reason for everyone's anger at Susan G. Komen's original decision.

All the sanctimony over breast cancer is a distraction. It's not as if Komen's withdrawn funds are never going to help fight breast cancer. They're just going to do it somewhere other than Planned Parenthood. Susan G. Komen isn't defunding Planned Parenthood and burning the money. If Komen had withdrawn funds from some uncontroversial, less-scrutinized organization that didn't perform abortions, and put those funds to other uses within its mission, there would have been no big controversy this week and the decision would have gone by unnoticed. We're viewing this through such a political lens because of Planned Parenthood's abortions. Pro-choice folks didn't like Komen's decision, pro-life folks upped their donations to Komen like crazy (until they reverse their decision... have those receipts ready!).

But over the course of this news cycle and concurrent controversy, I keep hearing the choice people arguing that Planned Parenthood isn't about abortion, so the life people are actually just against women's health (or some other such unfair, logic-torturing conclusion). But in addition to the syllogism not quite working out according to the dictates of logic, the premise is false. MoveOn.org has this nifty little pie chart to prove that Planned Parenthood is all about women's health and not abortion. Of all the services provided by Planned Parenthood, only 3% are abortions.

Now in a minute, I'll tell you why this is a misleading set of numbers, but setting that aside briefly, it doesn't matter if only 3% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortions. If someone believes that abortions kill human beings (and I do and here's why), then that 3% is enough not to want their money to end up with that organization. It's like saying, "Only 3% of our organization's activities involve murder." I know that pro-choicers don't believe abortion is, but pro-lifers do, and if that is their belief, it's understandable why they wouldn't want their dollars to go to an organization that does this 3% of the time, and you can see how Susan G. Komen might lose a lot of their donations.

Would the pro-choice, pro-Planned Parenthood people rather Komen keep funding Planned Parenthood and lose out on so many more donations from pro-lifers with scruples, or would they rather use that money in a different way to fight breast cancer so they can raise even more money from everyone who agrees we should fight breast cancer regardless of their view on abortion? Honestly, if it's really about women's health and fighting breast cancer, you'd think they would prefer the option where the women's health industry as a whole can raise more money because the little, conservative grandma feels good giving to Susan G. Komen... and uses a little of the money that she was about to send to one of Santorum's Super PACs.

So now I'll tell you why the 3% figure is misleading. Abortion might make up 3% of the services that Planned Parenthood provides, but it makes a LOT MORE of the REVENUES that Planned Parenthood earns. From a former Planned Parenthood clinic manager writing for The Washington Times:

The final veil had been lifted and Planned Parenthood’s big lie was exposed: Planned Parenthood is not about helping women access health care. Instead, it is about making money. And abortion is its moneymaker. Telemed abortion is its mega moneymaker.

According to their own recently released 2009-10 annual report, Planned Parenthood performed more than 329,000 abortions. Conservatively estimating that each abortion cost $450, abortion services brought in $148 million of Planned Parenthood’s overall $320 million in clinic revenue, representing 46 percent of its operating budget.

The evidence is even more convincing considering that Planned Parenthood has issued a mandate stating that each of its affiliates must have at least one clinic offering abortion services by 2013. Clinics that provide abortions are given “abortion quotas” to be reached each month. Planned Parenthood is run as a business, and they’ll do whatever it takes to ensure business is booming.

Read the rest of that article if you have the stomach to learn about the TeleMed abortions Planned Parenthood performs, something I had never heard of before and was shocked and angry to learn happens. Even if I were pro-choice, I'd hate how this practice treats these women. Anyways, with so much of its operating budget coming from abortions, it's a little hard to say that Planned Parenthood isn't about abortion.

...Gingrich's campaign hasn't returned The Humble Libertarian's calls for Newt Gingrich's position on how best to deal with sick women. (Cheap shot I know. If you're disgusted with me for joking about it, I can't blame you. I only hope you are proportionally disgusted at Gingrich for actually doing it.)




Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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