Planned Parenthood: Strangely Hysterical over 0.045% of Its Revenue

If Mayor Bloomberg outlawed potato chips, most pizzerias would be unaffected.  That's because potato chips represent a very small slice of pizza joint revenues.  At the edge of the counter as an occasional add-on to regular sales, the chips are just not that critical.

Logically, we would not anticipate that pizza stores would vigorously protest a potato chip ban or claim that such a ban would put them out of business.  Nor would we expect Patrick Doyle, Domino's CEO, to fly in from HQ to protest the ban.  If he did, we might reasonably believe that Domino's was more of a potato chip store than a pizzeria.

Although admittedly not an obvious comparison, let's move from hypothetical to actual, from potato chips to abortion.  For years, Planned Parenthood has told us that abortions are a very small part of its business line, at just 3% of its health services.  Ezra Klein, Slate, President Obama, Media Matters, and others have gone to great lengths to repeat and perpetuate this claim. 

Further, according to sometime Planned Parenthood affiliate the Guttmacher Institute, only 1.5% of all American abortions occur after the 20th week of pregnancy.  If we are to believe Planned Parenthood and Guttmacher, combined, this means that only 0.045% (1.5% of 3%) of Planned Parenthood's health services are abortions that occur beyond the 20th week of pregnancy. 

In the recent debate about tightening the Texas abortion prohibition from 24 to 20 weeks, the robust and well-organized protests of the opposition have cast into doubt the 3% claim and its 0.045% corollary.  According to the New York Times, the legislation might lead to the "closing of most of Texas' 42 abortion clinics."  Democrats and Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards were more precise, with both certain that 37 of 42 clinics would close. 

These dire predictions strongly suggest that abortion is a lot more important than health care to Planned Parenthood; despite our having been assured by no less than the president of the United States that these clinics are in the (mammographyless) health care business, not the abortion business.  To the contrary, the importance of abortion to Planned Parenthood, and specifically 21- to 24-week abortions, was made readily apparent by the Austin arrival of CEO Cecile Richards, who flew in from HQ to personally oppose the Texas bill. 

So which is abortion, meaningful or insignificant to Planned Parenthood?  This is a lot of hysteria and protest for something that represents just 0.045% of Planned Parenthood's health services activities.  Might Planned Parenthood be in the abortion business after all?

Consider that in 2011, Planned Parenthood performed 333,964 abortions, or over 27% of all U.S. abortions and multiples more than any other provider.  Coherent financial evaluations of Planned Parenthood consistently conclude that abortion represents 35-50% of the corporation's revenues, if not more.  Also noteworthy, whereas Planned Parenthood collects $500 for an early-term abortion, it requires another $400, for a total of $900, for a later-term abortion (if not more).  For the mega-chain, this later-term abortion premium represents an 80% increase in revenue per aborted child.

Actions speak louder than words and, as a result, we see that Planned Parenthood is in the abortion, not the health care, business.  At some point, the purveyors of the 3% lie might weary of the ruse and capitulate with a less than forthright "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

Although they will undoubtedly be certain that their ideological end justified their lying means, it is my hope and belief that the truth still matters to most Americans, that most Americans still recognize the impossibility of genuine debate without truth and that most Americans will dismiss deceit as unworthy of  consideration. 

We should not expect calm discussion from a disingenuous and monetarily conflicted party.  A bad tree bears bad fruit, and the recent words and actions of Planned Parenthood and its allies give witness to more of its bad fruit.  Without access to the truth, Cecile Richards and friends are left with the erratic, irrational, and situationally hysterical tools they used last week in Austin -- shouting, name-calling, and mob tactics.  Expect more in this week's second legislative session.

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