The 97 Percent Fight

Judie Brown
By Jim Sedlak
June 13, 2011
Reproduced with Permission

There are a number of hot battles going on in Washington, DC and across the country this year. We have budgets with deficits, raising the national debt limit, getting health care under control, and an ever-changing field of people who have announced - or are about to announce - their candidacy for president. None of the fights has been hotter than the struggle over the funding of Planned Parenthood.

In the Planned Parenthood funding fight, it appears that the figure of 97 percent has achieved a startling degree of importance among both sides of the debate.

The figure first emerged as Planned Parenthood, feigning that the fight against its taxpayer funding is all about abortion, began publicly proclaiming that only three percent of its services were abortions. That meant 97 percent of what it does is not about abortion.

This claim, of course, ignores the fact that the 97 percent figure is based on a mathematical formula that equates one abortion with, for example, one pap test. Ironic, of course, as an abortion takes a life and a pap test is done to possibly save a life.

Planned Parenthood's math is based on numbers contained in its Planned Parenthood's Services Fact Sheet. According to that document, Planned Parenthood performs 11,383,900 services every year and 332,278 are abortions. Thus, abortions are 2.9 percent of the total services and everything else is 97.1 percent.

Of course, Planned Parenthood could have been a bit more accurate and taken the fact that those 11.4 million services were provided to 3 million unique customers. If we take the 332,278 individuals who had abortions, it represents 11 percent of PP's unique customers - not three percent.

An even more accurate representation of how important the abortion business is to Planned Parenthood is that the 332,278 abortions bring in $162.8 million - which is 40 percent of its annual clinic income.

But Planned Parenthood insists on using the three percent and 97 percent numbers.

There is however, another 97 percent number that those opposed to Planned Parenthood taxpayer funding have seized upon.

In the same Fact Sheet referenced above, Planned Parenthood claims to have provided the following services to pregnant women: 332,278 abortions; 7,021 prenatal clients; and 977 adoption referrals. That's a total of 340,276 services. Thus, abortion is 97.6 percent of the services Planned Parenthood provides to pregnant women.

Using words like "service" and "provides" in the same sentence with abortion is really a disservice to the 332,278 tiny human beings who were killed at Planned Parenthood facilities in 2009. Nevertheless, I use the words so that we focus on the numbers instead of the horror.

Several elected officials have tried to educate other legislators, and the public, on this number, but their wording has not always been precise and the results have created confusion.

For example, as part of the Senate debate on Planned Parenthood funding, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl said that the abortions are "more than 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does." This caused an uproar among Planned Parenthood apologists, but the fact is that, in order to be accurate, he simply had to add "to pregnant women" at the end of his statement.

So, let's be very precise. According to Planned Parenthood's own Fact Sheet, 97 percent of the services Planned Parenthood provides to pregnant women is abortion.

That is the 97 percent number that Planned Parenthood's opponents will agree with.

That is the 97 percent number that shows the true nature of Planned Parenthood's services.

When your elected officials regurgitate Planned Parenthood's claim that abortion is only three percent of what it does, enlighten them with the real numbers. Explain the real 97 percent number - that 97 percent of the services Planned Parenthood provides to pregnant women is abortion.