Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bundle Up

Ross Douthat's post pointing out that Planned Parenthood unbundles its services and that abortion is a much larger part of what they do than they'd like to admit has drawn the ire of a few pro-choice bloggers.

In the later link, Lauren at Feministe seems to think she can dismiss Charlotte Allen's Planned Parenthood piece (which Douthat quotes) by simply claiming that Allen is calling women who go to Planned Parenthood "sluts." Unfortunately, Lauren is so blinded by her idea that people who are opposed to abortion think women who go to Planned Parenthood are "sluts" that she can't understand Allen's real argument. No one is arguing that Planned Parenthood separates it statistics based on whether women get abortions or not. We know they unbundle services regardless of whether a woman has an abortion or not. The point about the unbundling is that unbundling services allows Planned Parenthood to act like abortion is only a very small part (3%) of what they do when in fact it is a much larger part.

Amie Newman provides almost less insight by writing this,
Planned Parenthood isn’t “massaging” numbers by separating out numbers of reproductive and sexual health care services provided to women either before or after an abortion. When a woman comes to a health care provider with an unintended pregnancy and wishes to discuss her (legal!) options, she is first asked to take a pregnancy test. This is, of course, a separate service from an abortion procedure. The medical provider needs to know for sure that this woman is pregnant first. Then they can discuss options: continuing the pregnancy and parenting the child, continuing the pregnancy and working with adoption services, or having an abortion, thus terminating the pregnancy. That’s what health providers do - should they instead, in Allen and Douthat’s world – ask women to come in with a used pregnancy test? Secondly, Planned Parenthood does not provide prenatal or childbirth services. Women who visit Planned Parenthood for a pregnancy test are more than likely already thinking about abortion as an option.
So Planned Parenthood discusses all the options but only can help with one option. Plus, most women who think they're pregnant and go PP are already looking for an abortion. Interestingly, most Planned Parenthood's only discuss other options with abortion-seeking clients if their state has an informed consent law (the same laws Planned Parenthood fights so vigorously against).

But back to the bundling services debate. This is kind of like a restaurant claiming that providing meals is only a small part of the services they offer. If customers eat the bread rolls, that's another service. If customers gets a drink, that's another service. If they have a dessert that's another service. If they take a mint or a toothpick on the way out, that's another service. By this standard providing meals only accounts for 20% of that restaurant's services or even less if you count the customers who just come in for a drink or a dessert.

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