Planned Parenthood: America’s sex retailer

Commentary by Jim Sedlak

It's the holiday season and retailers all across the country are scurrying to attract shoppers into their stores. The super sales on "Black Friday" have given way to price cuts and free giveaways as the giant chains go after every customer they can get.

Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion chain and one of the biggest drug chains in the country, is no exception. In a brazen move to promote sexual activity, many Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country are giving away a free Plan B "emergency contraceptive" kit to anyone who comes to their facilities and asks for one on December 6, 2006.

Because the Food and Drug Administration has approved over-the-counter sales of Plan B for people 18 and older, these products can be given out at will. If you are under 18, Planned Parenthood is also encouraging you to come in and get one and implies there will be very little hassle.

Although most news stories reporting on this event talk about women getting the kit, men can also go in and get it. In fact, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has a flier with the headline, "MEN GET FREE EC? YES."

Now we know that many teenage girls under 18 are in sexual relationships with men over 18. Some are consensual and some are abusive. A number of the "consensual" relationships are actually statutory rape because of the age of the girl. Yet here is Planned Parenthood advertising that men over 18 are welcome to come in and pick up a free Plan B kit. Clearly this will enable these men to continue abusing and raping these girls with an increased perception that they will not get pregnant.

You might ask why Planned Parenthood is conducting this promotion. What does it have to gain? Planned Parenthood says the promotion is "in celebration of the FDA approving over-the-counter status of Plan B." But the real answer lies in the following two facts.

First, Planned Parenthood normally sells Plan B for significantly more than what it pays for it. Planned Parenthood has an arrangement with Barr Pharmaceutical that allows Planned Parenthood to purchase each Plan B kit for $4.25. A survey of Planned Parenthood affiliates shows that the average price Planned Parenthood charges for each kit is between $25 and $30. Thus, if Planned Parenthood can sell an additional Plan B kit to one of every six people who come for the free kit, it will cover all its costs.

Second, although Planned Parenthood felt that the over-the-counter approval of Plan B would send sales skyrocketing, this has not happened. In fact, on November 26, in Trenton, New Jersey, The Times ran a story headlined: "OTC sales slow for morning after pill." Thus, like any good retailer, Planned Parenthood is running this free giveaway promotion to get more people interested in this product ? which Planned Parenthood sells at a significant markup.

Although this promotion is being held across the country, not every Planned Parenthood affiliate is participating. Planned Parenthood is a federation of 117 separate affiliates that are each independently incorporated and must follow overall standards imposed from the national office. However, like many other franchise operations, the independent affiliates can choose whether or not to participate in promotions such as this.

Some affiliates are more reluctant than others to give up even a little bit of profit. For example, in Dallas, Planned Parenthood of North Texas is limiting the free giveaway to "new patients only" and these new patients "must receive an initial exam to take advantage of the free EC." This insures that it will at least get a new customer on board, plus a fee for the initial exam, for the $4.25 each kit given away will cost it.

Planned Parenthood has recently announced plans to become more aggressive in pushing what it considers the positive aspects of its operations. Obviously, this marketing campaign is designed to drive people into its stores and to increase its income and profits. After all, the $272 million it gets from the United States taxpayers just isn't enough to cover all the sex programs it wants to push.

Planned Parenthood likes to portray itself as a healthcare organization, but the fact is that it is just a sex retailer. It makes money from the sale of birth control, abortions and other sex-related products. "Oh, no," Planned Parenthood will protest, "we charge on a sliding scale fee." Yet whatever the scale is, it resulted last year in the organization achieving a profit of $63 million. Over the last 19 years it has made a profit every year, with the total profit now standing at $649.6 million.

Now the organization has come up with this free giveaway to drive up customer traffic and, Planned Parenthood hopes, kick-start the sale of Plan B, while further increasing Planned Parenthood profits.

Over the course of the last month, Planned Parenthood has sent two communications to its supporters that specifically identify American Life League as its chief opponent. With Planned Parenthood targeting our young people (70 percent of its birth control customers are under the age of 25) and killing our preborn children (255,015 in 2004), American Life League will continue to oppose Planned Parenthood until the organization is forced to close its doors because it can't get to our children or our money.

Release issued: 1 Dec 06