How often DOES Planned Parenthood perform abortions?
Allegedly, abortion is only 3% of what they do. Or so they’ve said. They’re doing a sleight of hand here. A breakdown of the numbers from their own site is more illuminating.
You will find the claim on page 3 of the linked report in the now-famous (skip to 1:30) pie chart.
On page 2, they report 7,021 “Prenatal clients” [not receiving abortions] and 332,278 abortions. “Prenatal clients”, presumably, means “pregnant women receiving services other than an abortion.” Whereas abortions refer to “pregnant women upon which we performed an abortion”.
Pregnant women visits, total: 339,299 (They do not provide this statistic; I had to derive it myself.)
Pregnant women visits, abortion: 332,278
Pregnant women visits, non-abortion: 7,021
Total services performed: 11,383,900
So, the question remains: in the case where a pregnant woman comes in for services, what are the chances that they will perform an abortion? Well, that’s easy:
You see, they don’t count the 332,278 visits as also being “prenatal clients” because then you’d put the numbers together and discover how often they perform abortions on pregnant women. I did the math, and it comes to: 332,278/(332,278+7,021)=0.9793073365969248 in my calculator, or, 97.93% in short. To find out what percentage of their services are abortion, all you have to do is divide 332,278 into 11,383,900. You get 2.9%.
So, you might be wondering how they could manipulate the data to make it seem that abortion is just a minor detail performed on the side. Answer: statistics can be manipulated easily by choosing what data to show and what to not show. It is deceptive, but sadly common, for people to arrange the data without actually fudging the numbers. This is what they did.
While it may be true (as far as I know) that only 3% of their total services were abortion procedures, that isn’t as much of statement as they make it out to be. If you are a scared 15-year-old girl and you go in with your 22-year-old boyfriend for an abortion, you may be offered a free HIV test, breast exam, pap smear, and a pack of condoms for the road. On paper it is made to look like abortion was only 20% of your reason for visiting rather than 100%. And hey — if they provided you with the pregnancy test two months ago that helped you find out in the first place, then that pads the numbers even better. Only 16% of your involvement with Planned Parenthood, as far as the numbers show, was for abortion in this hypothetical situation. Yet in reality, it was your main motive for going.
Note that their by the numbers page claims that only 12% of their clients receive abortion services. Once again, this is an obfuscation without directly lying (as far as I know); they do not say what percentage of their pregnant clients receive abortion services. This failure to specify is not an uncommon tactic among those who use statistics for their own agenda.
I will ask the question again: in the case where a pregnant woman comes in for services, what are the chances that they will perform an abortion? Planned Parenthood seeks to answer this question by saying “3% of our services are abortions”, or “12% of our clients receive abortion services”. This is a sleight of hand, as I’ve already said, because they provide the right answer to a question other than the one pro-lifers/sympathizers are asking. The answer, by their own numbers, is 97.93%.
They made less than 1,000 adoption referrals in 2009, by the way. But then again, parents seeking to adopt would actually be planning parenthood. If Planned Parenthood were about family planning, they should focus on adoption and not abortion. Then their name would be ingenious rather than disingenuous.
Filed under: Abortion, Human Rights, Planned Parenthood, Politics | 1 Comment