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.


Unknown said...

I don't understand why so many liberal bloggers find Douhat tolerable. He's a callow prude who doesn't know shit about life or the world. Simply because he can walk without dragging his knuckles on the ground doesn't make him worth reading. (See also, McArdle, Megan).

Anonymous said...

Sure Douthat is a callow prude (I'm sure you remember the whole "looking at pornography is just like cheating!"), but occasionally, he writes some pretty insightful stuff. Besides, I actually find the conversations and debates between "conservative intellectuals" really interesting.

Amanda Marcotte said...

It churns my stomach how much women are left out of this discussion. It's not your fault, though I do blame Douthat. But he's responding to ideas that you guys picked up from women. And I'm glad you did, of course. But it's depressing to me that they don't rate mention until men legitimize them.

Douthat seems to be a favored conservative with liberal male bloggers. I wish he wasn't. He's an okay writer, but he positively vibrates with misogyny. It's depressing. He's not pushing ideas that are things reasonable people can disagree about and still be friends. Misogyny needs to be treated with the same disgust we have for racism.

Neil Sinhababu said...

I'm guessing that Ross just doesn't read a whole bunch of blogs written by women who aren't Megan McArdle. A sort of DC-centric clubbiness is part of the story in both directions, I think -- those people tend to link to their friends, and the DC world doesn't its quota of feminist bloggers.

(Andrew Sullivan definitely has a role to play here -- how is it that of the 9 Atlantic bloggers, the only two women are McMegan and a woman who writes about misspellings? Nary a feminist among them.)