Further Exchanges between Planned Parenthood and McDermott & Swain
The well-researched editorial from McDermott and Swain drew a letter to the editor from Planned Parenthood.
Note the very carefully chosen words in their response.
“The simple truth is that Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading women’s reproductive health care provider and advocate.”
Well, yes—and also the largest provider of abortions, which was one of McDermott and Swain’s points.
“Ninety-seven percent of our services are related to preventive care and include education, contraception, breast- and cervical cancer screenings and testing for sexually transmitted infections.”
Well, yes—and their abortions “bring in at least a third of its $345 million in clinic income” which was one of McDermott and Swain’s points.
“We fund these services through a combination of fees from patients, contributions from donors and a long-established government program dedicated to providing reproductive health services to low-income women.”
Well, yes—and “more than one-third of its income — $305 million — came from government subsidies” which would be us, the taxpayers.
I received via email McDermott and Swain’s response to Planned Parenthood’s letter:
Abortions and Planned Parenthood
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, claims our Op-Ed on Planned Parenthood (“The abortion industry,” March 26) used “misleading attacks” (“Planned Parenthood’s record,” Letters, Friday). It appears, however, that her letter was chock-full of misleading assertions.
She suggests that abortion represents a tiny portion of Planned Parenthood’s work because “ninety-seven percent” of Planned Parenthood’s services are for things such as contraception and testing for STDs.
But while these other services are listed separately, in reality they are often given to the same clients, of whom one in 10 gets an abortion. Besides, abortions account for at least one third of Planned Parenthood’s $345 million clinic income.
Mrs. Richards also charges we are “dangerously wrong” when we say Planned Parenthood’s confidentiality principles conflict with the law.
Yet in our Op-Ed, we cited a researcher who called hundreds of Planned Parenthood centers around the country, saying she was a young teen impregnated by an overage man.
Nothing was said about abusive parents, yet in almost every case she was given step-by-step instructions on how to circumvent the law. It is no surprise that Planned Parenthood fights tooth-and-nail nearly every parental notification bill state legislatures propose.
Mrs. Richards also professes commitment to “racial equality.” But things are manifestly unequal when, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, there were 1.2 million abortions in 2005, and black women were 4.8 times as likely as non-Hispanic white women to have an abortion.
Hispanics were 2.7 times as likely. That means that 683,000 black babies were aborted, or 56 percent of the American total — despite the fact that blacks are only 13 percent of the U.S. population.
Finally, Mrs. Richards argues Planned Parenthood is a “safe, reliable” source of health care. Yet she curiously concedes (by failing to deny) our report that four of the six American women who died after taking the abortion pill RU-486 got the pill from a Planned Parenthood clinic — and that these affiliates may have skirted Food and Drug Administration guidelines.
Mrs. Richards’ letter should make us all ask why taxpayer money should keep funding one-third of Planned Parenthood’s nearly $1 billion budget.
Professor of religion, Roanoke College
Professor of political science and law, Vanderbilt University
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