Planned Parenthood and the Three Percent Myth

Planned Parenthood does not have a good record when it comes to telling the truth.

First, they used to boast about the mammograms they provide for patients. As it turns out, there’s not one mammogram offered in any of the Planned Parenthood facilities. No, not one.

Then they boasted about their prenatal care services. Planned Parenthood president Cecil Richards said in 2011, “Prenatal care—these are the kinds of services that folks depend on Planned Parenthood for.” But an undercover video released in January by Lila Rose of Live Action shows that that’s a myth, as they demonstrate in recorded call after call to Planned Parenthood facilities, seeking prenatal care, only to be told by Planned Parenthood representatives that they don’t provide it.

Now here’s the oft-repeated claim, which is not new, that only three percent of their services involve abortion. Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards repeated this statement before Congress just last week. Is that correct or is it “creative math” to arrive at an absurd conclusion?

Well, even liberals know that’s misleading. NPR said on 8/5/2015 that critics note the three percent claim “doesn’t explain how much of Planned Parenthood’s revenue comes from abortion.” Rachel Larimore of Slate magazine (5/7/13) declared the three percent claim “the most meaningless abortion statistic ever.” The Washington Post (8/12/15) even debunked the statistic and gave the claim three Pinocchios.

Recently I spoke with Eric Scheidler, the executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, on my radio show to have him explain how they derive the three percent figure—especially in light of the fact that Planned Parenthood does over 30 percent of the abortions in America.

Eric told me: “‘The three percent myth,’ we call it, is totally inaccurate….abortion is far more significant at Planned Parenthood than that would suggest.”

He explains that they have a list of services they’ll provide the woman in her process of getting an abortion—and count each service as a separate service, even though it is all a part of the process of her abortion. They’ll check off these services, counting each one as a service unto itself:

  • counseling;
  • ultrasound—so they’ll know how old the child in the womb is, charging more for older children;
  • contraceptives;
  • possibly pain medication, etc.

Eric noted, “Every single one of those things is going to be counted as a separate service. So even when a woman goes to Planned Parenthood specifically to get an abortion that day, Planned Parenthood will be saying that the abortion is one out of five or six or ten different services that they provided. So they could say it was only 10 percent of what she came for. That woman knows she went there for an abortion that day. That’s why she went there, and that’s what she’s going to remember for the rest of her life.”

Eric uses an analogy to explain the statistic: “It’s as if a company, like a car dealership, were to say that when you go there for a car, you also get a cup of coffee and a donut and maybe you have something from the vending machine—say a package of M&M’s, and there’s 25 M&M’s in the package. Add up all those little items, and they’re not really a car dealership at all, are they? They’re in fact a candy company because most of what they sell are individual M&M’s, not individual Cadillacs. It’s that kind of accounting that leads them to claim that abortion is only three percent of the services they provide.”

Eric concluded, “They continually, consistently try to minimize their role in abortion, when in fact they are the nation’s largest abortion provider.”

Rich Lowry offered similar analogies in National Review (8/4/15): “Such cracked reasoning could be used to obscure the purpose of any organization. The sponsors of the New York City Marathon could count each small cup of water they hand out (some 2 million cups, compared with 45,000 runners) and say they are mainly in the hydration business. Or Major League Baseball teams could say that they sell about 20 million hot dogs and play 2,430 games in a season, so baseball is only .012 percent of what they do.”

Abortion is much more important to Planned Parenthood than a mere three percent of what they are all about. I suppose if they have no qualms about killing a viable baby, then why should they have any qualms about lying?

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Jerry Newcombe

Dr. Jerry Newcombe serves as the senior producer and as an on-air host and a columnist for D. James Kennedy Ministries. Jerry has produced or co-produced more than 60 one hour television specials that have aired nationwide. Jerry is the author or co-author of twenty-six books, at least two of which have been bestsellers, George Washington’s Sacred Fire (with Dr. Peter Lillback) and What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (with Dr. Kennedy) . Jerry has also written Doubting Thomas? The Life and Legacy of Thomas Jefferson (with Mark Beliles). Jerry has appeared on numerous talk shows as a guest, including Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher (4x), Janet Parshall's America, Point of View, the Moody radio network, TBN, the Fox News Channel, the Fox Business Channel, C-Span2's "Book Notes," etc. Jerry hosts a weekly radio program on Christian radio, "GraceFM," www.gracenetradio.com, Thursdays, 12-1 PM Eastern time. Jerry is happily married with two children and a grandchild. The Newcombes reside in South Florida.

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