Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Political math and Planned Parenthood: Rounding 3 percent up to "well over 90 percent"

I was laughing along with the rest of the audience while watching "The Colbert Report" last night. And then, today at work, I ended up having to write about the news behind a few of his quips. You can read the whole post over at Shine, but basically: Last week, during the budget standoff, republican Senator John Kyl of Arizona stood before Congress and said: "You don't have to go to Planned Parenthood to get your cholesterol or your blood pressure checked. If you want an abortion, you go to Planned
Parenthood, and that's well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does."

Except that... it's not. Not by a long shot.

Swistle gives us a more personal perspective over at her blog, and while I wasn't a married college student, back in the day I was a broke one, and Planned Parenthood's "pay what you can afford" policy and comprehensive women's health services helped me catch cervical cancer in it's earliest stages. So I'll testify that they offer far more than just abortion services—and the numbers back that up.

According to Planned Parenthood, abortions account for about 3 percent of the services they provide—that's a far cry from "well over 90 percent." Here are the services they performed in 2009:

Graphic: Planned Parenthood

Contraception: 4,009,549

Sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, including HIV
testing: 3,955,9163

Cancer screening and prevention, including pap smears: 1,830,811

Pregnancy tests, care for prenatal and mid-life patients: 1,178,369

Abortion services: 332,278

Other services, including primary care: 76,977

Total patients served in 2009: 11,383,900

For the record: Kyl's right in that you don't have to go to Planned Parenthood to get your blood pressure checked. And sure, you can buy condoms and pregnancy tests at drug store chains, too. But pre-natal care, pap smears, HIV screenings, and breast-cancer exams? While there may be a Starbucks or a Walgreens on every other street in most major cities in the U.S., health care is harder to come by for many women, especially for college students and women with little income. (Also: Planned Parenthood provides vasectomy services, too. You can't get those at Walgreens, either.)

Read the rest at Shine.

1 comment:

Dan Eastwood said...

For more fun with Jon Kyl, check out #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement and @StephenAtHome on Twitter.