Susan G Komen, Planned Parenthood, and Ezra Klein’s Spinning Pie Chart



Supporters of Planned Parenthood

The two-step that was so clumsily danced by the Susan G Komen organization last week brought a great deal of chatter on the internet as well as in the mainstream media. It was on Facebook where, as usual, I saw most of this chatter, and once again I found myself a bit surprised by what I was reading.

My Liberal friends were all aghast that the Komen organization would drop funding for Planned Parenthood, an organization which, after all, does so much for women. Particularly poor women. They say that Planned Parenthood is an unfairly maligned organization which provides needed health services to women who can get them nowhere else, and these are services which have nothing to do with abortion.

In order to prove their point, they linked to a post by Ezra Klein which is said to illustrate what Planned Parenthood does in a single pie chart graphic.

The chart shows that Planned Parenthood is involved in many activities from treating STDs to cancer screening. Abortion services, according to the chart, account for only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s patient care. Apparently some dispute the numbers found in the chart, but I thought it best to accept them as accurate. That wasn’t my objection to the chart or Klein’s post. His post is entitled What Planned parenthood actually does, in one chart. My objection is that his title isn’t really true, if we take it to mean a comprehensive look at Planned Parenthood. Conveniently missing from Klein’s chart or his post are two key points: First, abortion services account for 38% of Planned Parenthood’s revenues. Second, 96.5% of services given to pregnant women were indeed abortions.

That second number ought to give anyone pause. It is more than clear that, to Planned Parenthood, the best approach to take with their patient’s pregnancy is to terminate it. If it was really a matter of mere choice, surely that number would be lower. One thing you will find in Klein’s post, near the bottom in his update, is another staggering number: Last year 329,000 of Planned Parenthood’s patients received abortions.

As I mentioned earlier, it is said that women go to Planned Parenthood for health care unrelated to abortion that they can’t get anywhere else. I’m quite skeptical of this. Do we really think that if Planned Parenthood didn’t exist millions of women would have no access to health care in any circumstance? I can cite anecdotal evidence from my own family that demonstrates that assertion to be false. But even if it were true, I’m at a loss as to why some are so supportive of an organization which is as dreadful as this one. Klein’s pie chart may not show it, but Planned Parenthood is heavily invested in abortion. Lots of abortions. They are the largest provider of abortion on the planet.

Routinely trotting out the 3% figure to minimize the actual place of abortion in both Planned Parenthood’s philosophy and its business model is a good public relations gimmick. And in Klein’s case it’s just spin from a garden variety Liberal journalist.

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