Thursday, December 12, 2013

Planned Parenthood Deceives Breast Health Donors

I hate to say I told you so.

That's usually an empty phrase. Let's face it: most people love to say "I told you so." But in this case, I really do hate itbecause I successfully predicted that something pretty awful would happen.

Back in February of 2012, the Susan G. Komen controversy was at its zenith. You'll recall that Susan G. Komen announced that it would stop funding Planned Parenthood, which it had been doing to the tune of about $600,000 a year, and use that money for other projects instead. Planned Parenthood responded with an extensive media campaign denouncing Susan G. Komen's decision. Susan G. Komen eventually caved and reinstated the funding, but not before Planned Parenthood raised over $3 million off of the controversy. Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards publicly stated that the $3 million would allow Planned Parenthood to "expand our breast care work beyond our wildest dreams."

I predicted that Planned Parenthood would not in fact provide more breast care services in 2012 than it had in past years, despite the windfall. I offered a $100 bet to abortion advocates. Not one person took me up on it.

Breast care at Planned Parenthood has been on the decline for years now. (Note that Planned Parenthood has never offered mammograms, despite some rhetoric to the contrary; what we're talking about here are manual breast exams and related services.) According to its own annual reports, Planned Parenthood provided 839,312 breast exams in 2009, 747,607 in 2010, and 639,384 in 2011.

But surely an infusion of $3 million cash would reverse this gloomy pattern, or at least allow them to maintain 2011 levels... right?

Planned Parenthood just released its 2012 annual report (it's always a year behind). Expansion beyond their wildest dreams, my foot. Try 549,804 breast exams. That's about 90,000 fewer than the past year, and a whopping 34% decline since 2009.

But that number is hiding on page 15 of the 2012 report. The first reference you'll see to breast health is this, on page 7:
You read that right. "Significantly expand." That is a bald-faced lie.

They're a little more subtle on the next page: "1,040,000 Breast Exams and Pap Tests." Combining breast exams with Pap smears, that's clever. It doesn't change the fact that thousands of people gave them money to test more women for breast cancer, and Planned Parenthood did exactly the opposite.

Most Planned Parenthood breast fund donors are not abortion-loving extremists. They're just regular people who saw something in the news about reduced funding for breast cancer detection, and wanted to respond. And Planned Parenthood took advantage of them. Where that $3 million actually went is anybody's guess.

I'm not clairvoyant. Planned Parenthood is just that damn predictable. I hate to say I told you so.


Rinsengo said...

No one took your bet because it's not a bet on whether or not Planned Parenthood would use the $3 million on breast care and screening or not - it's a bet on how many patients will come to PP for a breast exam, and that number is not controlled by how much money PP has.

Can you prove that the numbers are going down because PP is denying services? If not, then the only thing you've shown is that fewer women are walking through the doors. In other words, if PP served 750 out of every thousand breast screening seekers in 2010 and only 550 out of every thousand in 2012, you'd have a point. However, without that additional information, what you've shown here is that PP served 750/750 in 2010 and 550/550 in 2012. That's a reduction in demand, not a reduction in services.

"Where that $3 million actually went" is probably to an investment portfolio that will bear fruit over the long term. Did you expect them to blow that whole "windfall" in a year? Organizations whose funding is constantly attacked take large bequests seriously, and do not frivolously fritter them away in twelve months.

Kelsey said...

I was going to respond with the dictionary definition of "expand," but I thought better of it. So let's just be real. I understand your desire to defend the organization. Nobody likes to experience feelings of betrayal. It sucks. I get it. But it just makes no sense to believe that women's demand for breast exams would drop by a third in three years for no reason. If that's your theory, I think the burden is on *you* to prove it.

Nathaniel said...

Let's be even more real, Kelsey..

Fact: Not enough women are getting mammograms and other screening.

Fact: Planned Parenthood raised $3,000,000 in *additional* (e.g. unanticipated) funds for the purpose of breast cancer screening.

Fact: Planned Parenthood breast cancer screening *decreased*.

So there is a need. They have the funds. They didn't successfully use the funds to help more, and there's no evidence they even tried.

That's all there is to it.

KB said...

You bring up a lot of points that are quite valid Rinsengo. But for such a drop in # of people, combined with such an increase in # of dollars, you would have thought that at the very least, some of that money could have gone to increased outreach and advertising. Breast cancer screening is the absolute best way to nip breast cancer in the butt, and with an extra $3 million, they could have done a huge campaign to get breast cancer screening needing women in the door - particularly if they were seeing such a decline over several years, and particularly if screening was as important as they are claiming.

I'm pretty slow to cry "conspiracy!" so I'm on the fence about any potential underhandedness by PP. This report is a June 2012 - June 2013 report, so they'd have had the money in hand, but maybe those 12 months were spent buying and distributing equipment, which for some strange reason, took a lot of time, and wasn't capitalized on by women. Maybe they are asking these same questions and making a plan to outreach better to women for screenings. Maybe. Maybe not. This report does bring up questions though, and I think it is important to apply more scrutiny to them as a result. If we are going to be honest with ourselves on the true nature of an organization, love them or hate them, we need to be aware of inconsistencies and be open to the fact that they may be doing something contrary to what they are claiming to do (for better or for worse!)

Rinsengo said...

So, you have nothing substantive to add, just "I thought about condescending to you, but instead decided to mix condescension with something resembling a playground 'nuh-uh.'"

You're the one alleging wrongdoing, so the burden of proof and production is on you. I'm alleging that there are many reasons for those numbers to go down, including, but not limited to, the simplest explanation: lower demand.

One of the reasons that demand might have dropped is a shift in the last few years to bi-annual, rather than annual, examinations. You might expect a drop as large as 50% from a change like that; realistically, however, not everyone follows recommendations, so 33% is not exactly ludicrous.

Care to address the problems I pointed out in the premises you assume, and on which your argument rests (namely: (1) receiving money will immediately spike services in that calendar year; (2) a $3 million donation is something a responsible organization would immediately spend rather than invest for a higher ROI - and thus, more services rendered in the long term)?

Rinsengo said...

My car taxes went up this year to deal with the problem of crumbling infrastructure where I live. Yet, somehow, there are still roads and bridges in need of repair! Even though the government has all this new money, they haven't managed to improve things yet! Therefore, the government has betrayed me, and who knows what they're doing with my money!

This is the argument you're making - that an influx of money means that problems should instantaneously be solved or removed, without regard to the time it takes a large organization to deliberate on how best to use the funds. Maybe - maybe - you and the author will have a point if we don't see an upturn (as compared with a long-term trend, and accounting for alterations in medical recommendations re: frequency of screening, and controlling for the mandatory coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act) in the next few years.

Nathaniel said...

>>This is the argument you're making <<

Your analogy is very bad. Here's a better one: the roads and bridges in my town suck. Then one day, the town gets a windfall of a few million unexpected dollars.

One year later not only do the roads and bridges suck, but they haven't started new construction. Nor are there any apparent plans to do so. Money went in, and then nothing happened.

That would rightly be a scandal.

Rinsengo said...

Not really an improvement, because your analogy, like the original post, assumes facts not in evidence ("they haven't started new construction. Nor are there any apparent plans to do so.").

There is simply no evidence that the equivalents of those two statements have occurred w/r/t PP and the $3 million. The argument simply jumps from "the numbers went down" to "therefore, the money is being spent elsewhere and no improvement is being pursued or sought." Without more, that's a leap too far, logically speaking.

mary kile said...

Makes you wonder why women are not going to PP for breast screenings.

Teresa in Fort Worth, TX said...

One wonders just how much salaries of those at the top rose after that tidy little windfall.
I'm looking at you, Cecile Richards.....

boaz12 said...

I think the main point is not what PP did or did not do with the 3 million.

The point is Planned Parenthood deliberately, meticulously cut the legs from under one of the leading organizations raising the awareness of breast cancer. SGK has not recovered from PP's assault and putting the hand that fed them (SGK) under the bus.

So it's not about a paltry 3 million it's about the facade of PP being about women's health while at the same time trying to gut SGK.

PP wants to be the only one calling the shots and it will go to any lengths including taking down a funding source because the source decided to re-direct THEIR money to more effectively carry out their mission to raise breast cancer awareness, raise funds for the cure and steer clear of the abortion debate by funding organizations who in their opinion better matched their goals.

That's the real issue. Perhaps a read of Karen Handel's book Planned Bullyhood would clear things up. Knidlle link

Anon said...

Considering that recent research has shown a statistically significant increase in the likelihood of developing breast cancer following abortion and that the risk increases the more abortions a woman has I'd say Planned Parenthood are a strange choice when it comes to funding for breast health:

Nathaniel said...

Your cause loses credibility when you are so cheerfully willing to slander your opponents.

Here are some real numbers. While breast examinations have gone down, follow up care with biopsies and ultrasounds have gone up. There was also expanded outreach to countries outside the US, particularly in South America.

And stop being so coy. Your real headline is "PLANNED PARENTHOOD USES 3 MILLION OF YOUR DOLLARS TO KILL BABBIESS!!!!!11!"

It makes one wonder just where the anti-abortion cause would be if they couldn't lie.

tatoo said...

After reading this really stupidly reasoned blog, I am going to increase my donation to PP.

Chris P said...

Throwing rocks at PP is what the religious clowns do. PP has to WASTE a lot of money fighting people like you who run propaganda campaigns against them.

ockraz said...

Wow- managing to both be a wing and have a screw loose about a screw loose - Kudos!

Speaking of dishonesty, has it not occurred to you that all three of your indictments of SPL