National Review Knows Who Is Doing Abortions, And It Is Planned Parenthood!

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File:A clinic escort outside the Planned Parenthood - Carol ...

Hey! Did you know you can get an abortion at many Planned Parenthoods across the United States? You probably did! You probably also know abortion is a legal medical procedure. Alas, forced birth enthusiast Alexandra DeSanctis appeared to be confused about this when she wrote an article titled "Planned Parenthood's Annual Report Proves It's an Abortion Group" for the National Review.

To be clear, at no point has Planned Parenthood claimed not to provide abortions, and at no point has it conceded that abortions are bad and a thing people ought to be discouraged from having. But DeSanctis seems to think the fact that Planned Parenthood's annual report shows an increase in the number of abortions it's performing is evidence of something nefarious.


She writes:

Planned Parenthood has just released its annual report for 2019, revealing that the number of abortions it provides has risen for the third year in a row — even as its prenatal care and adoption referrals dropped.

Back in 2016, Planned Parenthood performed about 321,000 abortions, an immense number compared with the overall U.S. abortion rate. The following year, that number rose to nearly 333,000, and it rose again in 2018 to about 346,000. In 2019, the number of abortions performed at Planned Parenthood clinics increased yet again, to almost 355,000.

While data from the Centers for Disease Control suggest that the U.S. abortion rate has dropped fairly steadily, with a slight increase in 2018, Planned Parenthood's share of the annual abortions in the U.S. has continued to rise. Statistics from the CDC, which collects abortion data from most states, indicate that there are about 600,000 reported abortions in the U.S. each year.

Yes. Also, if you were to shut every Burger King down in a city, and every McDonald's except for one, the overall number of fast food burgers consumed would likely go down, but that one McDonald's that was left would likely sell far more cheeseburgers than it ever had before. This is what has happened with abortion clinics shutting down across America due to asinine anti-abortion laws. There are fewer places where one can get an abortion, meaning that some people who need an abortion will end up without access, or will end up self-inducing, and those who can get one will go wherever they can get one.

Duh.

DeSanctis then complains about how Planned Parenthood supposedly "lies" and says abortions account for only three percent of its services, because she doesn't like how Planned Parenthood calculates that percentge. (She thinks if a patient gets both an STI test and an abortion, the STI test shouldn't count as a separate service.) This would be more significant if abortion were illegal or a thing Planned Parenthood should be ashamed of providing, instead of a valuable and necessary healthcare service millions rely on.

It is true that Planned Parenthood performs a lot of other services patients rely on, often because it's the only place in town that will either take certain kinds of insurance or Medicaid, or offers those services at affordable rates for those who have neither. Those services are valuable and necessary too, and not just some weird side-hustle meant to cover for all of the perfectly legal abortions Planned Parenthood provides.

DeSanctis also seems to think it's really significant that Planned Parenthood's adoption referrals went down:

Yet the most important takeaway from Planned Parenthood's report is not its own deceptive and skewed percentages, but rather the hard numbers on what exactly its clinics offer. For instance, from 2018 to 2019, the number of adoption referrals provided at Planned Parenthood dropped by nearly 2,000, to a mere 2,667. For each single adoption referral that it made, Planned Parenthood performed 133 abortions.

Does she think people ask for adoption referrals and then Planned Parenthood says "NAH, just have an abortion instead"? Is that what she thinks is going on here? Or is she mad Planned Parenthood is not pushing patients who come in for an abortion to have the baby and put it up for adoption instead? Because that's not what they do, and that's a good thing. (Pretty sure that's why she's mad.) Also it seems possible that the reason Planned Parenthood isn't "referring people" for adoptions is because the internet exists and that's not actually a thing as many people need a referral for. In fact, they can just give the baby up for adoption at the hospital after giving birth.

If someone comes in to Planned Parenthood for prenatal screening, they'll get prenatal screening. If they come in asking for an STI test, they'll get an STI test. If they come in and ask for an abortion, Planned Parenthood either gives them an abortion or refers them to someone who can (many Planned Parenthoods do not actually offer surgical abortions). That is how things are supposed to work.

It should come as no surprise to you that Alexandra DeSanctis also has no clue how nonprofits work.

Meanwhile, as most of its services have dropped and its share of U.S. abortions has risen, Planned Parenthood has continued to rake in government cash. The group reports receiving about $618 million in government funding for 2019, even as its affiliates doled out more than $70 million on such nebulous spending categories as "public policy" and "engage communities."

Yes! Because there is Planned Parenthood, a 501(c)3 that receives government funds for Title IX-related family planning services as well as charitable donations that are tax-deductible. It is not allowed to be involved in politics. It may engage in a small amount of lobbying, but doing too much will cause it to lose its status. Planned Parenthood Action Fund is a separate entity and a 501(c)4, which means it can be involved in politics and lobbying to a larger degree. Its donations are not tax-deductible. 501(c)4s are disqualified from receiving federal grants if they engage in any lobbying. That is how this works. They can't combine the money from the two organizations.

Which is why DeSanctis's conclusion also makes no sense:

Though its supporters insist that Planned Parenthood is an essential women's health-care organization, the truth is that the group exists primarily to do two things: profit from abortion and fund the Democratic Party, which turns around and funnels government money back into the group's coffers.

Nope! Definitely not how any of that works, at all, for any reason.

It's not clear if DeSanctis herself is actually this confused and poorly informed or if she's taking advantage of the fact that readers of the National Review are likely confused and poorly informed, but it seems only fair to lean towards the former. After all, conservatives consistently seem to have a whole lot of trouble figuring out how nonprofits work.

[National Review]

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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