Death Benefits

Normally, I make a point of avoiding the topic of abortion. I most frequently describe myself as “squishily pro-choice.” I am extremely uncomfortable with it, but I am not so strong in my convictions that I would want the government to enforce my beliefs. In my own life, I took the coward’s way out: several years ago, when I decided I wouldn’t have kids, I went to a very nice doctor who gave me a very nice valium and then took a razor and a knife and a laser to parts of my body I would not normally want anywhere near such things, and I no longer had to worry about being even tangentially involved in an abortion.

But Cassy’s piece earlier today about Planned Parenthood got me thinking. Several thoughts sprung to mind:

1) As several commenters noted, those numbers mean that Planned Parenthood had about an 11% operating profit. If they weren’t a non-profit, that would make them a better investment than the oil companies, whose 9% rate of return was labeled “obscene.”

2) In one year, the number of abortions Planned Parenthood performed jumped by almost 25,000, an increase of 9.3% over the previous year. Since they are the experts on this, would they care to offer some kind of explanation as to why the hell this happened?

3) Did anyone else immediately find their subconscious drawing parallels between Planned Parenthood’s benefiting from… er… “unplanned impending parenthood” and the news that, at the shelter PETA runs at its headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, the percentage of dogs and cats that it takes in that it eventually kills has shot up from over 70% to over 90%?

4) If you divide the total number of abortions provided by Planned Parenthood in 2006 by 365, you find out that they performed an average of 793 abortions a week day — presuming they operated 24/7/365. If you knock off weekends and holidays, it’s probably closer to 250 days, which brings the total up to 1158.6. That converts to roughly, five years worth of American casualties in Iraq every three and a half DAYS.

That’s one of the ways I avoid dealing with issues: I reduce them to numbers. It helps me keep a certain emotional distance from ugly realities.

Normally, I keep those sorts of things to myself. But in this case, I think they add a bit of context for Cassy’s piece.

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