Planned Parenthood’s ‘three percent’When all services are counted equally, abortion procedures do account for 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s total services.But there are obvious differences between these services. For example, a first trimester abortion can cost up to $1,500, according to the Planned Parenthood Web site. Yet an emergency contraceptive pill costs around $45 and a urine pregnancy test costs around $10 at a pharmacy. An abortion is a different type of procedure than a vasectomy, or testing for sexually transmitted infections or diseases, or a vaccine for human papilloma virus (HPV), and so forth.While each service is listed separately, many clients received multiple services. A woman may get a pregnancy test, birth control and a pap smear, but she would be counted three times, once for each service, in the annual report.Those who oppose abortion rights have criticized this definition, saying the 3 percent figure misleads the public. In a recent New York Post op-ed, National Review editor Rich Lowry wrote a series of analogies to argue that the 3 percent figure “is crafted to obscure the reality of Planned Parenthood’s business”:Such cracked reasoning could be used to obscure the purpose of any organization.
The sponsors of the New York City Marathon could count each small cup of water they hand out (some 2 million cups, compared with 45,000 runners) and say they are mainly in the hydration business.
Or Major League Baseball teams could say that they sell about 20 million hot dogs and play 2,430 games in a season, so baseball is only .012 percent of what they do.
Supporters of Planned Parenthood want to use its health services as leverage to preserve its abortions, as if you can’t get one without the other.
Of course, this is nonsense.Slate’s Rachael Larimore, the left-leaning online magazine’s conservative senior editor, called this the “most meaningless abortion statistic ever.”