Monday, December 15, 2008

Planned Parenthood's Numbers Are Correctly Leading, Or Whatever The Opposite Of Misleading Is

Nicholas has more stuff below, but Ross Douthat's most direct responses to Nicholas and Ezra on Planned Parenthood's work preventing abortion are (like your monkey's Kung Fu) not strong.

Most of the work in Ross' first post is done by Charlotte Allen's line that "The 3 percent pie slice in the 2005-06 financial report, representing 264,943 abortion customers served, can only be described as deliberately misleading." Why misleading? Well, because that doesn't include the cost of pregnancy tests, pelvic exams, STD tests, and a free bag of condoms that they throw in with the abortion. Allen writes:
"An abortion is invariably preceded by a pregnancy test--a separate service in Planned Parenthood's reckoning--and is almost always followed at the organization's clinics by a "going home" packet of contraceptives, which counts as another separate service. Throw in a pelvic exam and a lab test for STDs--you get the picture."
I get the picture! I'm just trying to figure out how it's any sort of argument against the Planned Parenthood numbers. Looking back at the chart, Planned Parenthood expenditures look like this: 38% for contraception, 29% for STD treatment, 19% for cancer screening and treatment, 11% for 'Other', and 3% for abortion. If you're working with those categories, it seems like you should put the cost of the STD test in 'STD treatment' and the contraceptives in 'contraception'. Pregnancy tests cost like $1 if you buy in bulk, and I haven't heard that they're complicated to administer. So if the Planned Parenthood numbers are misleading, that better be one hell of a pelvic exam.
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