Monday, January 17, 2011

A question for Abby Johnson

I've just finished reading Unplanned. It was a great read, with plenty to offer even a jaded old veteran such as myself. But I'm left with a question.

Previous exposes on Planned Parenthood, mostly based on dumpster-diving and public record searches, found that PP made the bulk of its money by overcharging taxpayers for birth control, STD testing, etc. Abortion was more an ideological cause, and a way of restoring clients to a non-pregnant, and thus potentially profitable, state, since a pregnant client would be forgoing pregnancy tests and contraceptive visits for at least nine months.

When I listened to the National Abortion Federation tapes (admittedly over a decade ago), the for-profit abortionists hated Planned Parenthood for undercutting them on abortion prices -- something PP could do because they used tax dollars to cover their overhead and thus allow them to essentially underwrite their abortion projects with non-abortion money.

But Abby described a reversed situation -- one in which abortion was the money maker, and the other services were a financial drain.

I'm going to try to track Abby down on Twitter, as suggested by Jill Stanek, to see if she can answer for me the question of what changed since George Grant wrote Grand Illusions and since I listened to those NAF tapes.

Anybody else with information is welcome to chime in. How did the financial dynamics change?


The Winding Ascent said...

I don't know the answer, but I, too, am curious. I have not read the George Grant book, but I have used curriculum written by him and found a few errors in it. Don't know if that has any bearing here at all. Keep us posted!

Abby Johnson said...

I haven't read anything from George Grant, so I'm probably not going to give you a very good answer. What I do know is the for profit abortion businesses do not get the government funding that Planned Parenthood receives. Also, they are generally abortion only businesses...whereas Planned Parenthood provides other services as well. These other services allow for more foot traffic and therefore more clients. Planned Parenthood generally charges the same amount for abortions as private practice abortionists.

Don't know if that helps...

Christina Dunigan said...

Thanks for commenting, Abby, but that really doesn't answer the question.

I know George Grant is far from infallible, since he also wrote about Dungeons & Dragons (a topic I know a lot about) and he was utterly clueless there.

The answer to "How did abortion go from being a break-even proposition" seems to be that they raised the prices until they were closer to what for-profits were charging. But that leaves the question of how other services became loss-leaders. And where does all the government money go?