Defending Planned Parenthood, LA Times Relays 'Abortion Is 3 Pct. of Its Services' Myth

August 22nd, 2015 11:44 PM

Earlier today, I noted that Los Angeles Times reporter Maria L. La Ganga compared the heroic undercover work done by investigators at the Center for Medical Progress to the 2004 efforts of the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth. She meant it as a negative, claiming that the Swift Vets' assertions about Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's service in Vietnam and his antiwar activities after he returned home are "considered by many one of the ugliest, most unfair attacks in recent political memory." She even claimed — knowingly engaging in falsehood, in my opinion — that "the Swift boat claims were later discredited." Sorry, ma'am. The Swift Vets' truths stand tall to this today.

Though the Times Seattle bureau chief doesn't reference it in her writeup, an Associated Press chart contained therein relays a falsehood Planned Parenthood routinely promotes. This one claims that "Abortion is 3 percent of Planned Parenthood Services":

(presented for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; HT to frequent commenter and tipster Gary Hall)


Michelle Ye Hee Lee at the Washington Post's Fact Checker blog refuted this absurd claim on August 12. To be "fair," she also in the same post evaluated a fundamentally true but admittedly estimated claim by the prolife group Susan B. Anthony's List that "abortions made up 94% of Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy services" (she blew that one, giving SBA "Three Pinocchios"). Here is some of what she wrote concerning Planned Parenthood (links are in original; bolds are mine throughout this post):

“Three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services.”

–Planned Parenthood, fact sheet on Web site

... According to the 2013-14 annual report, Planned Parenthood’s affiliated clinics provided 10.6 million services for 2.7 million clients in 2013. “Other women’s health services” are pregnancy tests and “prenatal services,” which are described as “care you receive from a health care provider, such as a doctor or midwife, during pregnancy.”

... Out of the 10.6 million services, 327,653 of them were abortion procedures — which leads us to the Planned Parenthood figure.

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.

... Slate’s Rachael Larimore, the left-leaning online magazine’s conservative senior editor, called this the “most meaningless abortion statistic ever.”

... advocates and opponents of abortion rights have calculated somewhere between 15 percent and 37 percent of the organization’s annual non-government health services revenue comes from abortion services. Depending on which price you use, you can even get up to 55 percent. But this type of math is speculative and has limitations. For one, it does not take into account sliding payment scales for patients or reflect costs absorbed by insurance.

Ye Hee Lee dropped the ball in the final excerpted paragraph above by making it appear as if "costs absorbed by insurance" aren't part of Planned Parenthood's revenue streams. Of course, they are. Another element she failed to mention which is valid but difficult to estimate is the amount of money the organization receives from its CMP-exposed baby body parts enterprise.

Prolife activist Abby Johnson, who formerly "worked at a Planned Parenthood facility in Texas for 8 years, eventually working her way up to director," told the Texas Legislature in late July that the dollars involved are anything but small (paragraph breaks added by me):

Generally, in our studies that we did, we received $200 in compensation per baby that was sent. I can assure you that there is no additional charge for collection, or storage of fetal tissue. The only additional expense would be shipping and that’s between five to ten dollars per specimen, not $200.

That [the $200] is sheer profit for Planned Parenthood, and let’s just be a little generous here, the Planned Parenthood in Houston off of the Gulf Freeway, their abortion quota is to perform 75 abortions every day, 6 days per week.

Let’s be conservative and say they only charged $100 per specimen, and let’s say that only 50 of the 75 women consented to harvesting this fetal tissue. That would be $100 per specimen, 50 specimens per day would be $5,000 per day, multiply that 6 days a week, we’re talking about $30,000 per week that Planned Parenthood was collecting from fetal tissue.

Extrapolate that $120,000 per month. That is certainly not recouping cost from the abortion procedure or anything relating to fetal tissue research.

Johnson was only talking about one abortion facility. Planned Parenthood has "59 independent local affiliates that operate approximately 700 health centers throughout the United States." A significant percentage of those 700 facilities perform abortions. Based on her testimony and being very conservative, baby body parts is a revenue stream which appears to generate many millions of dollars of gross revenue per year.

Ye Hee Lee's conclusion at the Post, as she gave Planned Parenthood "Three Pinocchios" ("Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions"):

The 3 percent figure that Planned Parenthood uses is misleading, comparing abortion services to every other service that it provides.

... While Planned Parenthood has no legal obligation to make its data more public, it is unfortunate that the public has limited access to data about the organization. Planned Parenthood could end the speculation–and Pinocchios–by providing a more transparent breakdown of its clients, referrals and sources of revenues.

We'd fall out of chairs laughing if a retail store providing only $1,000 computers and $20 connecting cables and which sold 1,000 computers and 4,000 cables per year tried to claim that 80 percent of its business is in cables. In this example, it's less than 10 percent of its sales. Planned Parenthood's 3 percent claim is just as ridiculous, and really deserved "Four Pinnocchios" (i.e., a "whopper") from Michelle Ye Hee Lee.

As to the possibility that Planned Parenthood might provide "a more transparent breakdown of its clients, referrals and sources of revenues," good luck with that, considering the apparently large amounts involved in the baby body parts business.

As was the case with the Swift Boat Vets earlier today, the Post's debunking of Planned Parenthood's obviously bogus claim begs the following question about the LA Times and Ms. La Ganga: Are they really in a hermetically sealed bubble which is so completely impervious to truth, or are they deliberately relaying as "facts" items they know are blatantly false?

In the final analysis, it really doesn't matter to the paper's print and online readers, who are being serially deceived, and who should completely abandon any form of reliance on its output.

Cross-posted at