Planned Parenthood - Abortion Services 3% of what they do, but 33% of their income? T/F?

So I was looking at the pie chart here:

And I noted that among the commenters, of course quite a few were anti-choice, blah blah blah killing babies yes we’ve heard it before, w/e. But a very common theme was that while abortion services may be 3% of what they do, it’s 33% of PP’s income - therefore they are SOULLESS FREAKS MAKING THEIR LIVING FROM KILLING BABIES blah blah blah.

Frankly, I don’t care if they make 100% of their income from abortions. It’s a useful and needed service. But I’m interested in whether this statement is factual or not. Can anyone come up with numbers that show which of PP’s activities provide what percentage of their income?

(Note: Because this is somewhat about abortion, it might be better in GD - but I’m really looking for factual answers if possible. Thanks.)

I think most of PP’s revenue is from the gov’t and private donors. And in the case of funding from the feds, the money goes to subsidize services but not abortion procedures.

So I’m not sure it really makes sense to break down their income by service-type. Charging fees to patients isn’t the bulk of their income, and what they do charge is distorted by some services being subsidized by various groups.

(googling, medical center fees only made up 35% of PP revenue in 2006. So 33% being due to abortion fees would mean pretty much the only thing they charge for would be abortoins. I guess its possible that everything else is completely subsidized by the gov’t+donors, but it seems pretty unlikely)

Here’s a page with the specific claim:

So as Simplicio said, they’re only comparing it to the clinic income which is only 1/3 of the total budget of PP.

FYI this page explains the cost of PP’s various services. Abortion is the only thing they charge a fixed fee for (depending on type of procedure), everything else is either free or on a sliding scale based on the patient’s income.

Side note, my WAG on why this is so: So they can prove they’re not using government funding on abortions.

Also: so they can’t be accused of “enticing” poor women into having abortions by giving them a cheaper abortion than another woman.

I mean, they’ll get accused of it anyhow, but it at least makes the accuser’s logic more torturous.

(raises hand) I can!

Actually I can point you to their annual report, and on page eight says that they get 31% of their revenue from “non-government health services.” On page five, it says that abortion services account for 3% of their medical services provided.

In fairness, though, comparing the two numbers is a bit of a red herring, because the vast majority of the other services they offer are provided for free. They make a disproportionate amount of money from one service because it’s one of the few things they charge for.

But I don;t imagine logic and reason will have any impact on those with strong feelings on the subject…

But is that 3% by count of services, or by revenue? I assume an abortion is a much higher cost than, say, a pregnancy test or pill prescription or STD check; but they all count as “1 service given.”

The dollar number is high because it’s an expensive service, they don’t/can’t give discounts, and the 3% is even that high because it’s one place poorer people know to come to when they need that service. I assume in that regard, the anti-abortion types are providing free advertising.

It’s 3% by count of services.

No, it’s a high percentage because so much of the services they provide are free. The figures suggest they don’t charge for ~90% of what they do.

Po-tay-to, po-tah-to…

They have one service that costs hundreds of dollars, that they pretty much must charge for.

They have 30 times as many other services, most of which cost a LOT less, which they often charge nothing, a nominal fee, and cover through fundraising, government support, and other sources.

Basically we’re saying the same thing. I mean, really, what should handing out condoms or a nurse giving a pregnancy test cost?

But doesn’t that mean people are equating “non-government health services” with abortions? Is that in fact accurate?

I mean, I pay a lot to Planned Parenthood. Some years I’m on a sliding scale, some years I pay full, some years I qualify for “The Pink Card” and the state’s women’s health insurance picks up the tab. They’ve probably gotten $1000 from me for health services over the last 10 years, and I’ve never had an abortion.

But even with the sliding scale, it costs me around $60 for a Well Woman exam and PAP. Is this money for “non-governement health services”? The money came from me, not the government, for services rendered which aren’t abortions.

I guess what I’m asking is: are co-pays and out-of-pocket money paid for care other than abortion recorded as “non-government health services”?

Caveat: Just passing on something I’ve heard. Don’t know if it’s true or how true, no cite.

But I’ve heard that they hit that low 3% mark by counting every little action during treatment as a “service.” Checking your blood pressure is a service. Checking your temperature is a service. Physically examining your abdomen is another separate “service.” A vaginal exam is another separate service. All of these might happen in what most people would consider a single treatment or “service.”

By counting each little thing as a separate service, they amass a huge number of services and then the abortions account for only 3% of all those services.

That’s not always true. Not all clinics operate this way. Planned Parenthood also works with insurance and the new sex-savvy generation of women who can afford to pay PP’s prices.

Here’s an article from the Denver Post that explains how it works around here.

It may be that abortions provide a good source of revenue because they’re not covered by insurance or government programs.

Sure, the money gets shuffled around, but if a woman came to me needing free or low cost sexual health care in the Denver area, I wouldn’t refer her to PP. FFs, they charge you $25 if you want to pee on a stick.

I don’t have any numbers to back this up, but this seems to be off by a lot. I wouldn’t be surprised if more than 100 people go to the local PP in an average day. I would be surprised if they performed 3 abortions in the average day. Your numbers would be more like 3 abortions in a day and 20 people coming each getting 5 services. That’s quite hard to believe.

I know that PP charges $430 for a clinical abortion and the local women’s clinic charges $295 here in Denver. There’s no subsidized services unless PP has a grant or you have Medicaid (for other things). There is some stuff for teens, however, that may come from the PP coffers. So while I support PP, I don’t think they do for women what they could.

Yes, but that’s the most detailed breakdown PP offers. Not all of that 31% is fees for abortions.

Not exactly. They use the same definition as every healthcare provider (which I presume originates with medicare) that defines a service as “a discrete clinical interaction.” A physical exam would be one “service”, even though it might include checking your temperature and your blood pressure. Giving you a bloodtest to check for an STD would count as a separate service.

You can see the list of their services yourself… that’s why I linked to their annual report.

They performed 329,445 abortions in 2010 compared to 769,760 PAP exams, 1,113,460 pregnancy tests, 3,552,955 STD tests, etc. FWIW, they performed 3,290 vasectomies. Who knew?

PP has 840 health centers, so that works out to an average of 392 abortions at each one per year.

Checking my blood pressure is a service. My dotor charges the provincial health system a tidy fee to do so. I can do it myself for free but in some cases, it has to be done by a 3rd party professional.

So yes, they do offer these services. Yes, they are services. Most “customers”, paying or not, probably don’t come in to say, “can I get some condoms, my blood pressure checked, and oh by the way I want an abortion.” They come in for one service. Only 1 in 30 come in for an abortion, despie the fact that for most people, and thanks to anti-abortion advertising, this is the best known and often the only choice .

Another point is “make money”. A non-profit by definition does not. I ssume (not having used PP services) that pretty much the entire cost is paid to the doctor. It’s not I assume like they pad the bill with $200 wet-wipes and $40 syringes like a hospital, to cover other expenses hat have nothing to do with the procedure. Do they even have the clinic in the building? Never bothered to find out…

Numbers tell you what you ask.

If you want to know “what proportion of visitors” you get one answer - 3%. If you want to know “what proportion of income”, well, that depends - for a nonprofit, we assume that means “gross revenue” not “profit”. ANswer, 33%.

No surprise if a lot of their customers are there for condoms or a pill prescription, and are charged as little as possible, that 3% of their customers generate 33% of their cash flow.

What, really, do you think the second-most expensive service is, and what do you think they charge for it compared to an abortion? I’m guessing a full STD test, simply for the number of different test samples they have to process; and still not even a third the cost.

OK, so it doesn’t really answer the OP. Answer is still, “we don’t know what % of PP’s revenue comes from abortions.”

I knew that, theoretically, some offices performed them. Can’t find one that actually does, even though my local one lists it as one of their services on the website. When asked, they say they don’t do them.
md2000, I bet the next most expensive thing is an IUD placement. At least, it’s the thing that requires the most of an MD, PA or APN’s time, rather than an RN, LPN or tech, and it takes at least 2 visits (one for counseling, one for sounding and placement, sometimes a third if they can’t get the sound in and have to send you for a Cytotec scrip and reschedule.)

Missed my edit window. Average PP center gets 83 visits a day (figuring they’re open six days a week) and performs an average of 1.2 abortions.

Shows how relevant that is to me. i always thought that was DIY… :slight_smile:

Which also shows another way the numbers might be inflated. Some anti-abortion folks lump IUDs (and sometimes, even the Pill) in with abortion. So it’s possible that those procedures combined add up to whatever percentage, and that’s all getting billed as “abortion”.