Bundling Services

Because I work for one of those annoying companies that is always trying to push bundled services, I was really amused that anti-choice bloggers are trying to push the “bundling” sales phenomenon when it comes to Planned Parenthood’s numbers, like counting health services is comparable to your phone and cable provider’s stats.

The 3 percent pie slice in the 2005-06 financial report, representing 264,943 abortion customers served, can only be described as deliberately misleading.

One way Planned Parenthood massages the numbers to make its abortion business look trivial is to unbundle its services for purposes of counting. Those 10.1 million different medical procedures in the last fiscal year, for instance, were administered to only 3 million clients. An abortion is invariably preceded by a pregnancy test–a separate service in Planned Parenthood’s reckoning–and is almost always followed at the organization’s clinics by a “going home” packet of contraceptives, which counts as another separate service. Throw in a pelvic exam and a lab test for STDs–you get the picture. In terms of absolute numbers of clients, one in three visited Planned Parenthood for a pregnancy test, and of those, a little under one in three had a Planned Parenthood abortion.

The argument, essentially, is that when PP figures its stats it separates the sluts women who need pelvic exams or other services from the sluts women who need pelvic exams and an abortion. Say Sally goes in every year for her annual checkup so she can continue getting her birth control prescription filled at PP at a reduced cost. Sally gets a pelvic exam and an STI test, fills her scrip and goes on her way. Every month for the next year Sally returns to refill her birth control prescription and pick up some free cherry-scented condoms (way better than grape). Mary, on the other hand, thinks she might be pregnant, goes in for a pregnancy test, finds out she’s pregnant, and has a pelvic exam and STI test and a counseling session to find out where she goes from here. In the end, Mary chooses to have an abortion, and leaves afterward with a scrip for birth control. Mary doesn’t come back to PP for any further services.* So,

If Sally = A and Mary = B,

A = 1 + 1 + 12 = 14
B = 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 +1 = 6

A + B = 20

Or, by Charlotte Allen’s math,

One slut + one slut = two sluts.

The short version of this rhetoric is that sluts don’t deserve comprehensive healthcare. The real question is who’s bundling what? And for what reason?

__________________
* Is it convenient in my math that Mary doesn’t return to fill her BC prescription? Maybe. But many pregnant teenagers who opt for abortion use PP intermittently for crisis control and not for ongoing services (your humble blogger did the same) and none are less deserving of the services than the others.


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29 Responses to Bundling Services

  1. But a pregnancy test and an abortion are separate services. If I buy my pregnancy test at a crisis pregnancy center and then get an abortion at Planned Parenthood, then by that weirdo’s logic, CPCs provide abortions. What a moron.

  2. evil_fizz says:

    So, by rebundling, we wind up with 11% versus 3%. Someone explain to me how this is so meaningful as to warrant objection about methodologies.

  3. evil_fizz says:

    And no, that was not a request for a basic statistics lesson, just snark.

  4. denelian says:

    ya know, i know in my head that PP provides abortions *somewhere*. just never where i am. i have been to PP in California, Alabama and Ohio, and NONE of the PPs i have been to in those states offer abortion. they were all quite willing to refer one to an ACTUAL abortion provider, but were not providers themselves. so how, exactly, are these fucktards justifying cutting funding to clinics that DON’T EVEN OFFER ABORTIONS?
    not to mention the massive stupid of wanting to cut funding to programs that limit poverty illness…
    also, aren’t these the same type of people who want “More White Babies” and “Less Brown Babies”??? and doesn’t PP primarily serve poorer (and thereby generally BROWNER) populations? so if they want “Less Brown Babies!”, why are they trying to impose legislation that will cause MORE?

    its just that they keep saying all these contridctory(spelling? i can’t) things. the litany seems to be something like “no birth control for you! no sex for you! but you have a vagina and must provide sexual service for any male who wants it! but now you are pregnant, but you aren’t allowed to be pregnant because that means you are trying to TRAP a MAN into taking care of you! so you are not pregnant! but you ARE pregnant so no drinking/smoking/eating sugar/having fun until you arent pregnant! which you will keep being because BABIEEES are WOMDERFUL! and you now have the baybee but NO HELP FROM US there are already TOO MANY BAYBEES! how selfish are you to have a BABEE?!?!?”

    ARGH!!

  5. Nia says:

    I was going to say the same thing as evil_fizz.

  6. Kyra says:

    Yeah, this would be because a pregnancy test is not an abortion, regardless of whether it preceeds one. Therefore it is not counted as an abortion in the report of what they spent their money on.

    Someone is scoring very high at Missing the Blatantly Obvious.

  7. Kyra says:

    ThickRedGlasses, that is awesome. I didn’t even think of that.

    I love logic.

  8. Stlthy says:

    also, aren’t these the same type of people who want “More White Babies” and “Less Brown Babies”??? and doesn’t PP primarily serve poorer (and thereby generally BROWNER) populations? so if they want “Less Brown Babies!”, why are they trying to impose legislation that will cause MORE?

    In anti-choice minds, I don’t think one becomes unworthy until one has actually been born. I suspect they also see more brown babies as a necessary trade-off for being able to punish brown women for having sex. The latter being the most important part, naturally.

  9. Stlthy says:

    Having typed the above, I need to go disinfect my keyboard.

  10. preying mantis says:

    “Yeah, this would be because a pregnancy test is not an abortion, regardless of whether it preceeds one. Therefore it is not counted as an abortion in the report of what they spent their money on.”

    It think they may be operating under the definition of “abortion” as “anything they don’t like/want it to be.”

    Beyond that, well, no shit, a pretty good percentage of the women who get pregnancy tests from them are going to get abortions from them as well. Pregnancy tests are available over-the-counter to anyone who wants one, are comparatively cheap, and can be done wherever you have access to a bathroom for ten minutes. I imagine very, very few women are showing up at Planned Parenthood to get their first pregnancy test after having missed a period. Since PP doesn’t offer much in the way of obstetric services, they wouldn’t be the first choice for a woman who was happy about that initial at-home positive.

  11. Cherry-scented condoms? Really? I can see the purpose of flavored, I guess, though I’m not sure that’s the best solution to the problem that solves. But scented?

    preying mantis, no offense, but, uh, which side is that an argument for?

  12. Ursula L says:

    It think they may be operating under the definition of “abortion” as “anything they don’t like/want it to be.”

    I suspect that the equation is closer to “abortion” = “any medical care for women other than prenatal care leading to live birth in a hospital and paid for by her husband out of cash savings.”

  13. ACG says:

    This flap over “bundling” really reveals the actual goal of the anti-choice movement: defund PP not to prevent abortion but to punish women who want abortions. It’s not enough to just not give money that would fund the abortion itself. The sluts don’t deserve any associated health care at all, because they got themselves knocked up and it’s all their damn fault.

  14. preying mantis says:

    “preying mantis, no offense, but, uh, which side is that an argument for?”

    It’s not an argument “for” anything so much as an argument against there being something zomg sinister about the numbers for pregnancy tests and abortion-seeking patients being almost one-to-one. If you’re doing a pregnancy test in a Planned Parenthood clinic, it’s likely that you’ve a) already had a positive test at home and b) are not happy about being pregnant. Kind of like if you’re doing a pregnancy test in a fertility clinic, it doesn’t somehow make pregnancy tests part of the actual fertility treatment.

    There’s pretty much no argument you can make that somehow turns a pregnancy test into an abortion. For that matter, you also can’t really find an argument that makes an abortion out of a packet of condoms, a pelvic exam, or an STD test. Or, more weirdly, turns eighty dollars received for a pap smear and pelvic exam into eighty dollars received for an abortion just because oh, hey, it’s the same patient. I mean, there’s pretzel-logic and then there’s Gordian-knot-logic.

  15. I love that they’re angry that Planned Parenthood, after performing an abortion, dares to counsel women on how not to need abortions in the future. How dare they deliberately act to prevent abortions in the future.

  16. Auntie says:

    You know, I had an abortion over a decade ago. The only “services” I was provided by the clinic other than the procedure itself were a pregnancy test (that was required, for obvious reasons) and the antibiotic prescription for afterward. That’s IT! No pelvic, no STD testing, no contraceptives. Maybe times have changed, but for some reason I think the anti-choice crowd is making stuff up.

    That said, as someone who’s been there, done that, I get so pissed off at the wingers when they pull this shit. Stay the fuck out of other people’s lives!

  17. Bitter Scribe says:

    An abortion is invariably preceded by a pregnancy test, yes, but a pregnancy test is not invariably followed by an abortion.

    So does that mean if a client does have an abortion, the test doesn’t “count,” but if she carries the baby to term, it does?

    Anyway, since these people consider even one abortion as too many, what exactly is their point?

  18. Oh, sorry, mantis, I misread, it looked like you were saying there was something sinister, and I was puzzled because I hadn’t noticed you being bugshit in the past.

  19. Sara Pulis says:

    It appears to me that the writer just wants to give the protesters outside the PP office an idea of how many of those sluts they see enter the building are going to have abortions.

    Even to get an IUD, for example, takes a good numer of different services rendered:
    1. pelvic exam
    2. pregnancy test
    3. consultation
    4. one month’s worth of BC (since they never do it same-day)
    5. another pregnancy test
    6. insertion
    7. one more month of BC (just in case)
    8. follow-up pelvic exam

  20. preying mantis says:

    “Oh, sorry, mantis, I misread, it looked like you were saying there was something sinister, and I was puzzled because I hadn’t noticed you being bugshit in the past.”

    ‘sarright. It can be difficult to properly express facepalmitude in text without getting a little ambiguous sometimes. Articles like this really should be satire. It’s like “The nerve of Planned Parenthood, trying to bill packets designed to prevent future abortions as anything but abortions!”

    The pregnancy test thing in particular just struck me as rocking out with a serious case of either privileged ignorance or bad faith. Or maybe the lady’s posting from an alternate reality where you still have to pee on a frog if you want to figure out if you’re pregnant without going to the doctor.

  21. preying mantis says:

    “No pelvic, no STD testing, no contraceptives. Maybe times have changed, but for some reason I think the anti-choice crowd is making stuff up.”

    The last time anyone I knew had an abortion and shared details of her experience, she reported getting an extremely strong pitch for the whole nine yards. She was the sort of patient where it would have seemed necessary, though. She had a very low level of self-care–high number of casual sex partners, infrequent condom use, no alternate form of contraception, occasional tests for HIV but no other STD screening, no prior pap smears–so it seems kind of like a no-brainer that a clinic would take the opportunity to encourage safer practices and screening for related problems. Someone whose routine care was more regular and thorough might have a very different experience.

  22. ya know, i know in my head that PP provides abortions *somewhere*. just never where i am. i have been to PP in California, Alabama and Ohio, and NONE of the PPs i have been to in those states offer abortion. they were all quite willing to refer one to an ACTUAL abortion provider, but were not providers themselves.

    The closest abortion provider for me is not a Planned Parenthood, and none of the Planned Parenthoods of Metropolitan New Jersey (where I’m from) or Greater Northern New Jersey provide abortions. These PPs serve 10 counties in total, and none provide abortions. They all refer, which in the minds of the antis, is just as bad as performing the abortions. But I guess in the minds of the antis, it’s better to lie than to tell the truth and pass it off as equally bad.

  23. I misread that and wasn’t clear on PP’s alleged deceptive practice. The claim of deceitfulness are even stupider than I realized. I’d somehow gotten the idea that they were accused of hiding abortions under the name “pregnancy tests.” So the problem is they don’t say “abortion” loudly enough?

    And I’m still not sure what scented condoms are for.

  24. preying mantis says:

    “So the problem is they don’t say “abortion” loudly enough?”

    Ultimately, I think the problem is the facts steadfastly refusing to be what the anti-choice brigade would like them to be.

    “And I’m still not sure what scented condoms are for.”

    My guess? They want to encourage people to use condoms during oral sex without encouraging it too much, lest somebody get a bad case of the vapors.

  25. Huh. While I’ve never performed fellatio, several who have tell me they find the idea (and, in at least one instance, I believe, experience) of doing so when the gentleman receiving is wearing a condom kinda gross.

  26. preying mantis says:

    “While I’ve never performed fellatio, several who have tell me they find the idea (and, in at least one instance, I believe, experience) of doing so when the gentleman receiving is wearing a condom kinda gross.”

    Dunno. I mean, winding up with an STD hanging out in your throat seems grosser, but yes, using a regular, non-flavored latex condom (never mind any agents used to lubricate it) sounds like it would taste pretty horrible. But! If you make the condoms actually flavored, people might start having too much oral sex, and then civilization would crash and burn, leaving the survivors plunged into a godforsaken hellscape where prenatal care is free and readily available, thorough and accurate sex education is the law of the land, and cheap, convenient contraception options have all but eliminated the occurrence of unwanted pregnancies. The alternate theory–that the author doesn’t realize those condoms being scented is a byproduct of them being flavored–is just unthinkable.

  27. BlackBloc says:

    “Huh. While I’ve never performed fellatio, several who have tell me they find the idea (and, in at least one instance, I believe, experience) of doing so when the gentleman receiving is wearing a condom kinda gross.”

    A bit of latex in your mouth for a couple minutes: gross.

    Herpes sores or genital warts in your mouth for the rest of your life: grosser.

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