Lost in the debate over whether government funds ought to be given to Planned Parenthood is exactly what it achieves. Proponents would argue that the large amount of prescriptions written for contraception, pap smears performed, and referrals for mammograms indicate that Planned Parenthood is not, indeed, all about abortion.
Let's look at the statistics, however. Planned Parenthood's Guttmacher Institute estimates approximately 1800 abortionists in 2008, 38% fewer than in 1995. The same source notes that a 1st trimester abortion cost about $470 in 2009, and it's well known that not too many abortionists do second and third trimester infanticides.
So what we have, more or less, is revenue of about half a billion dollars (maybe twice that including 2nd and third trimester abortions) spread among close to 2000 abortionists; somewhere between $200k to $500k per abortionist. After you subtract the costs for buildings, staff, and the like, that's not much left for the average gynecologist's $250k salary. Averaged for medicine in general, your doctor takes 10% or less of your medical bills--so the cash flow for abortion is in a really bad place.
We would infer that the median abortionist would need a second job in order to make ends meet; after taxes, school debt, and the like, they often will not have the option to take a lower wage to be "charitable". That runs into a problem; an awful lot of people, even those who aren't particularly pro-life, don't want to patronize doctors or even clinics or hospitals that provide abortions. So doctors who perform abortions find their career options limited, especially outside of large metropolitan areas.
That problem is solved as Planned Parenthood gets subsidies to provide care to the poor, who do not have a choice in where they get care. If we assume the three hundred thousand abortions committed annually by Planned Parenthood are paid at the ordinary rate, that's somewhere around a quarter billion dollars for 500 doctors--again, that doesn't pay the bills. Have them do a lot of contraception, pap smears, and the like and add in another half billion dollars (plus state subsidies and the like), and the business proposition makes a lot more sense.
In other words, government subsidies are about the only thing that keeps abortion available outside of large metropolitan areas.
Sunday Firesides: Know the Rules, to Better Break Them - Though something of an iconoclast himself, Fr. Richard Rohr argues that “it is much easier to begin [life] rather conservative or traditional” than it is...
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