Planned Parenthood and Incentives

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Dan Scotto

Dan Scotto lives and works in New Jersey. He has a master's degree in history, with a focus on the history of disease and the history of technology.

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189 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Okay, i’ll go with the obvious counter. Do anti-abortion groups have incentives to prevent abortions? Adoptions can cost a lot of money especially for the hardest adoptees to get; white infants. If the anti-A group can convince a women to give birth and let them adopt it they may get a lot for that.

    There are incentives and disincentives in just about everything.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

      The US government does not track adoption by religious affiliation.

      There are a bunch of articles out there, however, that talk about how the evangelicals’ pro-adoption movement (something about “living out their faith”) is ethically troublesome given the unethical adoption agencies trying to meet the demand.

      The fact that articles have lines in there about the increase in demand being driven by pro-lifers (or, as you say, “anti-choice”) people doesn’t mean that this dynamic actually exists, of course.

      But, as I said, the US government does not track adoption by religious affiliation.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

        Well I said anti-abortion but that isn’t relevant. There are thousands, tens or hundreds of thousands of kids waiting for adoption but may never get one. They are older and/or have mental health or physical problems. There aren’t any where close to enough people willing to adopt those kids. Infants are easy to adopt out.Report

    • Avatar Dan Scotto in reply to greginak says:

      I would say yes, there are incentives surrounding adoption, but those incentives don’t strike me as creating a dynamic that is morally questionable on its own. It’s not that Planned Parenthood is incentivized to deliver abortions; here, the issue is that the incentives point towards using humans to grow fetal tissue for the purposes of research. I think you can be in favor of abortion rights and find the potential for “harvesting” disturbing.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Dan Scotto says:

        @dan-scotto Wouldn’t you say creating incentives to fight biological fathers over kids that they want to raise is morally questionable? You have an attorney that specializes in fighting biological fathers saying, “Just because the birth father is a sperm donor and has that biological link does not under the law establish his parental rights,” as a defense for why he was fighting fathers that wanted to raise their kids and did not agree to adoption.Report

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    Making money or covering costs?Report

    • Avatar Murali in reply to Chris says:

      Does it matter in this case?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Murali says:

        It matters for this post, obviously. We can talk about the ethical issues of fetal tissue, including informed consent, which PP says they get, but if they’re just covering costs, the bulk of the OP is not relevant to the situation. See CK’s comment below.Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Chris says:

      @chris

      That’s the key question, I think.

      I hate to say this, because I like Dan Scotto’s posts a lot, but I find the approach here irresponsible. The key statement, and the key unproven assumption, it seems to me, are in this paragraph (emphasis added):

      Based on what we see in the linked video, It seems quite clear that Planned Parenthood is making some money by selling the body parts of aborted fetuses. Whether this is profit, or goes into someone’s pockets, or helps maintain facilities, it is something that happens, at least sometimes. (We do not know how frequently it happens.)

      “Making some money” implies profit. “Covering costs,” the Planned Parenthood claim, would not. The second sentence, which reasonably acknowledges uncertainty, therefore contradicts the first one. The rest of the post, however, seems to assume the truth of the stronger charge, largely on the basis of an un-evidenced assertion regarding the existence of a market substantial enough to provide a meaningful “incentive” to Planned Parenthood – an incentive strong enough for PP to break the law and risk tremendous reputational harm.

      “Covering costs” may be controversial enough, but, on the basis of all of the evidence presented – certainly in the body of the post, but also in the Vox article linked – applying the term “making money” amounts, it seems to me, to making an unfounded and scurrilous accusation. What would be left over is a discussion about a hypothetical policy that would not only be controversial, but, apparently, would be against the law – as well as unanswered questions about what seem to be the real issues, in relation to which the post isn’t really very helpful.Report

        • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to CK MacLeod says:

          CK MacLeod: Planned Parenthood has responded:

          Indeed. And the “money quote” here, if you’ll pardon the expression is this:

          At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider does — with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards. There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood. In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field.[emphasis added]

          So what we have here is just another example of Breitbart/O’Keefe style of deceptive gotcha “journalism.”

          I like you, Dan. Please don’t wander down into this cesspool.Report

          • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Road Scholar says:

            Makes me wonder why people fall for it every time.Report

          • Avatar Dan Scotto in reply to Road Scholar says:

            We’re ultimately dealing with contested truth claims. My read of what I have seen is that there is more to it than just covering costs, but if it is exclusively about covering costs, that would negate my incentives argument, yes.Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Dan Scotto says:

              Your read, again (this needs to be said every time you offer it), is based on no facts, and contradicted by the facts. You should just add that to the end of comments:

              “my read*

              *Read based on no facts, and contradicted by the facts.”Report

            • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Dan Scotto says:

              There still might be a marginal incentive in some cases or from certain points of view, but the other thing lacking is an even rough estimate of what the actual incentive would amount to and for whom specifically. There is a huge difference between the implicit claim – “Planned Parenthood’s a massive baby-killing-for-profit scam,” which here depends on the assumption that there really is a lot of money to be made in a “fetal tissue trade” – and a range of other possibilities, such as the one Sarah Kliff at Vox points to, that “conceivably some doctors or abortion providers might be induced in some circumstances to delay or otherwise alter a given procedure.”Report

    • Avatar Dan Scotto in reply to Chris says:

      I think we’ll know more as more information comes out. My read is that there is a revenue stream here, but I’ll admit we’re dealing with imperfect information.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Dan Scotto says:

        Your read is based on no facts. More than that, right now, all the facts contradict your reading. There is no basis whatsoever for your reading. As long as you’re up front about that, that’s cool with me.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Dan Scotto says:

        Dan Scotto:
        I think we’ll know more as more information comes out. My read is that there is a revenue stream here, but I’ll admit we’re dealing with imperfect information.

        The information has already come out. The full unedited video and transcript is available. The information you’re basing this post on is a deceptively edited version of an actor pretending to be a representative of a middleman company procuring tissue samples for research. And by “deceptively” I’m not talking nuance; I’m talking about making it sound like the PP rep is saying the exact opposite of what she is, in fact, actually saying.

        Yes, there’s a “revenue stream.” If my truck goes into the shop for repairs and the company reimburses me for a motel room that’s also a revenue stream. Doesn’t mean I’m actually making any money though.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I’m just glad that everybody can agree that a fetus has worth.Report

  4. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    Ooh, yeah. This is gonna be a nice long comment section 😉 .

    Let me begin by saying how much I appreciate your objective framing of the issue. I can only imagine how much fun Fox is having with this. I predict much heat and little light will be generated.

    Let me also say that I largely agree with your analysis. My comments are going to be more in the nature of addition rather than objection.

    So if we want to focus on incentives and assuming that earlier is at least arguably better (certainly not worse!) than later, then I have to look at the legislative actions of conservatives at both the state and federal levels and note that they seem… unhelpful. While I wouldn’t attempt to draw a direct causal link, cutting off funding to PP, even for their non-abortion or reproductive services, thereby leaving clinic directors scrambling for funding, has to at least make this sort of thing more attractive. Or at least more palatable as a less-bad option.

    Also, more generally, if sooner is arguably less-bad than later, then all these road-block laws being passed lately seem to produce perverse incentives as well. A poor woman is more likely to have to delay the procedure just to get the money together.Report

    • Avatar Guy in reply to Road Scholar says:

      Agreed; see all other things that have been said on “polarization” in politics and ideology, and the speed with which some movements splinter and/or self-destruct. The easiest opponents to punish are almost always those you have the fewest problems with.Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy says:

    “More troubling is that if more developed fetal tissue is worth more money on the market, then Planned Parenthood is incentivized to delay abortions.”

    “The problem is that if more developed fetal tissue–full organs, like hearts, livers, and lungs–is able to fetch a more substantial price on the research market, then Planned Parenthood’s economic incentives cut against the idea that if a woman must have an abortion, ceteris paribus, she should have it earlier rather than later, to lower the odds of murder and to protect the woman’s health.”

    “This also offers us a new look at one potential reason why Planned Parenthood lobbies so intensely on behalf of late-term abortions: if late-term abortions are more lucrative, why wouldn’t Planned Parenthood prefer them?”

    “Even if Planned Parenthood says otherwise, if Planned Parenthood makes more money off of late-term abortions via this secondary market, it is incentivized to encourage more abortions to occur later during the pregnancy.”

    Whole lotta if’s… whole not lotta evidence.

    Here… let me try…

    “IF the penalties for white folks killing black folks tend to be less than the penalties for white folks killing white folks, then aren’t we incentivizing white folks who have the itch to kill to kill black folks?”

    Oh… and I can provide evidence that this isn’t really an if.Report

    • Avatar Guy in reply to Kazzy says:

      That is certainly a very big unsupported assertion in the OP. Good catch.

      Still, it’s very easy to imagine why this might be so – late term fetal tissue is probably the hardest to acquire, due to the lack of late term abortions. Thus late term fetal tissue becomes very lucrative for those who are able to offer it. This is, of course, not even remotely close to evidence that PP is willing to offer such (or corrupt their advising such that they can do so more easily), and there is not, so far as I can tell, evidence that the market for fetal tissue is large enough for such price information to be visible to sellers. Even if the conditions for the incentive are present, if those conditions are invisible, nobody will act on the incentive.*

      *This also applies to the white-on-black murder thing, actually. The very white people most likely to kill black people (as opposed to general people) are those most likely to believe that we punish white killings of blacks more than intra-racial violence.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Guy says:

        But even then… Are we sure — medically and scientifically speaking — later term fetal issue is better? My understanding is that earlier is better because it’s more foundational (hence the desire for fetal tissue in the first place).Report

  6. Incentives matter, but it’s not always clear how or how much they’re mattering, nor is it clear how big this one is.

    If evidence emerges that this incentive is significantly affecting the way Planned Parenthood counsels women seeking reproductive counseling/treatment, then I would by all means be concerned about that. Not so much because of the particular implications for the timing of abortions within pregnancies, but because that would be a rather clear breach of good health care practice, and would indicate deeper problems in the organization.

    OTOH, absent evidence for such an effect of this incentive, I would hope that we could presume that Planned Parenthood’s health counseling practices operate according to best practices independent of its funding streams. Incentives matter, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily having every last effect we could possibly imagine them having in each instance. The effects come out in a variety of ways; if you want to say it’s happening in a particular way in a particular case, you still need evidence for it.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Michael Drew says:

      And, it’s worth noting, things like professional standards, best practices, and similar are themselves incentives–incentives put into place to counteract the potential that an actor might be swayed by inappropriate incentives, or in many cases, even the appearance that an actor might be swayed by inappropriate incentives.

      And, well, bioethics isn’t an exactly unexplored topic. There are rules, practices and standards that exists to cover the use of human tissue for research purposes. And the links above suggests that planned parenthood is following those standards.Report

  7. Avatar Murali says:

    I think a lot of people are ignoring one very basic issue here. Just over in the other thread, we agreed that it was scummy of an artist to take your picture for one purpose and, without informing you, use that for another.

    The current consensus (for whatever that is worth) in bio-ethics is that if I remove your appendix during a routine appendectomy, I cannot use that for research or profit without your consent. I am merely providing a service for you (namely removal of appendix/foetus), I do not have rights over that removed bit of flesh, regardless of whether it is a foetus or an appendix unless you explicitly consent to my use of it. This should trouble us all even if we think that the killing of new-borns is permissible* since they are not persons yet.

    *Kim, I’m looking at you.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Murali says:

      It shouldn’t trouble you here.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Chris says:

        Applying the yardstick here, @chris, how people measure others with their own yardstick. It’s a habit of mine. I don’t particularly want to watch the video, so you correct me if I’m wrong, but there’s a presumption that planned parenthood participates in the illegal trade of infant body parts; and of course, an insinuation that something doesn’t pass the sniff test, but no actual verification of what Planned Parenthood actually does.

        When I try to understand the yardstick that leads to doing this, I have to question if the person(s) engaged are projecting their own yardstick of how to measure life onto others? This is a very common human behavior, expecting of others the worst we know we’re capable of doing.

        Are evangelical and traditional Christians engaged in some sort of illegal body-parts trade? Can we talk about women (and women’s rights to control their own boddies) for a few minutes? Wanna talk about little boys?

        Christians want the benefit of the presumption that they’re good people; they pretty much demand that right in the public square. Liberal people, pro-choice people want that same benefit. Presuming people are bad and evil and must do all sorts of tainted and evil things because they believe in contraception and the right to end a pregnancy (which is a medical decision and moral decision), is disgusting.

        Being pro-choice and supporting abortion rights is a moral act for me; and I have every right to my own moral beliefs. I don’t think it’s an easy decision, and like most liberals, I’d prefer to see as few unwanted pregnancies as possible and hassle-free abortion for those that happen, with the owner of the uterus in question having the right to decide; and I’ll remind you that it’s hers constitutionally. The presumption that pro-choice liberals are not acting out of moral conscience strikes me as bigoted and rude. We saw acorn, an organization that did a lot of good engaging minority communities to there governing process, destroyed over shit like this. Doing harm to these institutions was, I think, a great evil and not in keeping with Jesus’s teachings. John Kasich said, But when I get to the Pearly Gates, I’m going to have an answer for what I’ve done for the poor. These smears and presumption of ill will harm the poor.

        It’s offensive, and the incentive questions are offensive, lacking in the presumption of good will you expect to receive asking them. My husband is a very polite man. But when he hears passive-aggresive questions like this, if late-term abortions are more lucrative, why wouldn’t Planned Parenthood prefer them? (you really need to google the stats on late-term abortion.

        So I’ll make another moral argument based on that link: women are at their peak child-bearing and child-rearing years at the same time they are trying to get an education and establish their working lives. Between college debt, early-career lower wages, lack of good-paying jobs with stable schedules, the high cost of housing compared to wages, incarceration rates of men, and the difficulties women face if they try to enter the workforce later in their lives (after bearing children), our policy standards are the primary are immoral, forcing women who do have children into poverty far too often. 22% of children in the US live below the poverty line; nearly one child in four. What would Jesus think of that? It certainly doesn’t seem to meet the yardstick he laid out for Christians.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to zic says:

          I’m simply going to become angrier and angrier over the course of the day thinking about this. There will be idiot Republicans trying to pass legislation related to this within days. People who are inclined to believe these lies will likely use this case against Planned Parenthood for years, never mind that it’s not true. It is disgusting. It is immoral.

          The American Right has yet another opportunity to do the right thing here. It says all I need to know about them that I have absolutely no hope that they will.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to zic says:

          Acorn was destroyed because liberals turned on it (mostly for doing too good of a job, it was a mite bit embarrassing). The Conservatives were expected, ya know?Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Murali says:

      Murali,
      What the fuck? Is there ANY hospital in the country that will give you an appendectomy without you signing over rights to the damn appendage for research?

      I know where I work, that’s standard, and you do Nothing Whatsoever in the System (including routine outpatient crap) without signing over rights to your tissue samples.

      This is done so pathology can do deidentified research on whatever interesting stuff walks through the door.Report

  8. Avatar zic says:

    You know, if Planned Parenthood needed incentives to make money, they’d just quit doing abortions (about 3% of their clients, as I recall,) and just focus on delivering high-quality reproductive health care — contraception, pap smears, breast-cancer screenings, and cancer of the reproductive organs. That kind of stuff. I mean the abortions are only a small percentage of the people they actually serve, and the abortions are the thing that gets folk all riled up and the abortions are what have limited their funding in state after state after state. So there’s plenty of incentive to get a lot of money simply by not performing abortions.

    Which sort of suggests that there’s more incentive to not perform abortions then there is to fetal parts for money. Yet those evil people at planned parenthood continue to perform those dreadful abortions because women have a right to decide if they want to become parents.

    I am too old, now. But if I were younger, found myself with an unwanted pregnancy, and was asked about this in intake procedures, I would definitely donate fetal tissue for research; just like my driver’s license instructs that my body is to be harvested for organs.

    @road-scholar thank you for including the quote on permissions.

    And remember: the logic that because someone will do an abortion or get an abortion = that they’ll be vile and reprehensible in other ought to be challenged, it’s correlation/causation confusion. Personally, I think it’s vile and reprehensible to think you have a right to butt your heads into a woman’s reproductive business like this. I think it’s irresponsible and immoral to have children you’re not prepared to care for. I think it’s disgusting that some people who preach about the value of life will only adopt perfect babies and not the many flawed children desperately in need of homes. I think it’s immoral and evil to judge woman for controlling their reproductive lives; that a pregnant woman with a nursing infant and a toddler just learning to walk (and perhaps older children, as well,) indicates a great evil may have been imposed on that woman, who may have had the choice of how to control and space her family denied her.

    Report

  9. Avatar Lenoxus says:

    Stated differently, even if you believe that there is no distinction between 7 days, 7 weeks, and 7 months, simple intuition should lead us to assume that it is possible that we’re doing something worse by aborting a fetus at 7 months than at 7 weeks. (The alternative–that it is worse to abort at 7 months than 7 weeks–is illogical.)

    I had to read this a couple times and now I’m pretty sure it’s a typo.Report

    • Avatar Dan Scotto in reply to Lenoxus says:

      Yes, that’s a typo, and a bad one. I will fix it.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Dan Scotto says:

        Even after the clarification I’m still not sure I agree with it. The paragraph now reads:

        More troubling is that if more developed fetal tissue is worth more money on the market, then Planned Parenthood is incentivized to delay abortions. Even if you are pro-choice, surely there is a line somewhere between when the fetus is merely a clump of cells and when the fetus is a living human. (Most pro-lifers believe that the line is at conception.) The further along in the pregnancy a woman gets, the closer we are to that line. Stated differently, even if you believe that there is no distinction between 7 days, 7 weeks, and 7 months, simple intuition should lead us to assume that it is possible that we’re doing something worse by aborting a fetus at 7 months than at 7 weeks. (The alternative–that it is worse to abort at 7 weeks than 7 months–is illogical.) [edited for clarity] Thus, because this is an area of intense ambiguity, if abortion is legal, it seems prudent to err on the side of caution and encourage abortions to be earlier in the term, so that we are less likely to be committing murder.

        If I “believe that there is no distinction between 7 days, 7 weeks, and 7 months,” then no, my intuition will not be that “we’re doing something worse by aborting a fetus at 7 months than at 7 weeks” because my belief is that “there is no distinction between … 7 weeks, and 7 months.” Aborting at 7 weeks and aborting at 7 months are equivalent; one equivalent cannot be worse than the other as a matter of logic.

        Now, the fact is my intuition is uneasy with such a statement, so the antecedent assumption must be false: intuitively, there is a distinction between 7 days, 7 weeks, and 7 months. I personally am at a loss to logically articulate what that difference might be. One human being does not owe another extraordinary efforts to preserve life; perhaps one wishes to extend such efforts and we might find such a desire and such efforts morally praiseworthy. Moreover, to fail to that which is praiseworthy is not the equivalent of acting contemptibly. The potential for a fetus to survive viably outside the womb is irrelevant to these propositions.

        That leaves me with the intuitive notion that somehow the relationship of mother to a gestating (potential) child in her womb is different than, say, the relationship of a person in critical care who needs my rare type of bone marrow transplanted in order to survive an otherwise certainly-fatal illness. Most people would agree that I don’t owe that person my bone marrow.

        Why, then, do we disagree that the mother of a (potential) child seven months into gestation owes that (potential) child two additional months of biological life support, life support which comes at the cost to her of substantial pain, restricted mobility, dietary restrictions, difficulty eliminating and sleeping, and so on? If she wants to bring the child to term and give birth, of course we may praise her for doing so, but it’s a different thing to say she is morally obligated to do so.

        The contrary intuition, driven by the fact that it’s a relationship between mother and child, doesn’t square with logic, my response is that there is something cultural and subjective happening that skews intuition away from logic. Culturally, we assign a high value to the mother-child relationship; most of us are products of nuturing, loving mother-child relationships and those of us who have not had the benefit of such relationships likely keenly feel that absence as compared with more fortunate peers. But that’s not something that necessarily transcends the culture: it is simply not the case that all mother-child relationships are loving and nuturing and to imply that they all should be, at minimum, imposes our modern, western ideals upon people who, perhaps for very good reason, do not wish to share them.

        Writ differently, we still come back to a basic difference in values between people, even within our own culture: some value life as an inherent good with a higher value than the competing good of individual autonomy; others make the converse valuation. We may shade those valuations by bringing in other axes of analysis: we may value the life of an infant, who has not yet made any morally significant decisions, differently than that of a convicted murderer; we may value the freedom of a woman more, less, or equally to that of a man, and so on.

        But ultimately, we’re looking at a comparison of competing goods. We can all agree that in the abstract, life is a good to be pursued, and autonomy is also a good to be pursued. As a society, we aren’t very skilled at balancing competing goods against one another.Report

  10. Avatar Chris says:

    Quick question: in what version of Christian ethics is the deception the anti-abortion activists use here, deception that appears to have fooled Dan and many others, justified by the harm it does to Planned Parenthood?Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Chris says:

      Chris,

      Well, when one is in possession of Eternal Moral Truth (TM), a great deal that would otherwise be considered troubling, forbidden, even unthinkable, can all too easily be construed as unfortunate but necessary collateral damage in service to the greater good.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

      Quick question: in what version of Christian ethics is the deception the anti-abortion activists use here

      Look at it this way: ever since God created dinosaurs to test our faith deception has played an essential role in attaining the Kingdom of Heaven.Report

  11. Avatar Chris says:

    My framing from this point forward:

    Anti-abortionists are anti-organ donation.Report

  12. Avatar Lenoxus says:

    I’m a reasonably-confident “absolute” pro-choicer — which is to say, I believe abortion should be legal throughout pregnancy and that the decision lies in the hands of the proverbial doctor and patient. I’m only “reasonably” confident about the morality of late-term abortion, but I trust that those people weigh the same moral factors I would in making a decision — it’s never frivolous, that’s for sure.

    But this gave me pause. Mainly because, unlike the original poster (I presume), I would want a well-respected counselor on family planning to have no incentive one way or the other — if it turned out there was a nontrivial factor that could bias Planned Parenthood to pressure people out of an abortion, I would also be troubled.

    However, in addition to Road Scholar’s quote above that settles the matter pretty well, it occurred to me that even if this did cause Planned Parenthood to subtly prefer later abortions over earlier ones, it’s unclear how that preference could translate into action. Think about it — how do you counsel someone who comes to you early in the pregnancy to have a late abortion? No pregnant woman would react to any such suggestion with anything but shock/horror, no matter how you worded it. So you have to develop a subtle system to “string people along”, and at a certain point you wonder how the organization would make money on it (considering the cost of counseling people for months). Or maybe you figure out a way to only attract women late in their pregnancies? I dunno.

    It seems like the more pressing concern from a pro-life perspective is the more direct one, that PP could be incentivized to advise abortion over non-abortion. Any other approach by our hypotehtical tissue-selling-motivated version of PP would just run the “risk” that the patient (or whatever the correct term is) changes her mind.Report

  13. Avatar North says:

    Following this line of reasoning it seems obvious to me that abortion opponents are also in on this game of filthy lucre. Consider that their current strategy is to pass, at the state level, endless layers of hoops and hurdles to leap over or through for any potential abortion recipient. All of these policies serve to delay a woman’s abortion. If this is the result then there must be some scurrilous collusion between planned parenthood and pro-life groups. A back alley meeting, an exchange of briefcases full of cash, maybe some cackling and moustache twirling.Report

  14. Avatar Autolukos says:

    Given that we don’t know what PP nets on earlier or later abortions, we don’t actually know what the incentives are here. Even if we did, considering one incentive in isolation from all others and what we know about the organizations behavior seems inadequate (indeed, from what I’ve seen it’s PP’s opponents who are generally working to delay abortions and PP trying to perform them early).Report

  15. Avatar Kim says:

    There are always incentives, yes… But until you show me Planned Parenthood attempting to delay an abortion, you haven’t got a smoking gun. I call bullshit on the whole thing, because I can’t think of a reason why someone would want to risk their health for a prolonged period of time, simply because it gives someone else a fucking payout. You do have altruists in this world, but even so…

    And it’s the antiabortionists who are doing the fucking waiting period, Planned Parenthood and folks like that have been actively lobbying against the damn thing.Report

  16. Avatar Brian Murphy says:

    The fact that the OP has been contradicted by emerging facts but the author sticks to his guns is embarrassing. If the tool who wrote the OP had an ounce of intellectual integrity, he’d retract.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Brian Murphy says:

      No need to call him a tool.Report

      • Avatar Brian Murphy in reply to Chris says:

        He’s a liar. I think the word “tool” isn’t inappropriate.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Brian Murphy says:

          How has he lied? He’s wrong, it’s now very clear that he’s wrong, but he hasn’t lied. He’s bought someone else’s lies. That happens to all of us. Is the world populated entirely by tools (OK, maybe it is)?Report

          • Avatar Notme in reply to Chris says:

            Remember how many Dems and other suckers bought into Obama’s lie that we could keep our insurance? I dont remember that lie ever being retracted.Report

            • Avatar zic in reply to Notme says:

              ObamaCare Myth: You Can Keep Your Current Health Insurance Plan

              Over the years the claim has been made, “If you like your plan you can keep it, period.” The truth is a little more complex than that. Not every American was able to keep their health insurance plan moving into 2014. Assuming your insurer offers your plan and your state allows it, those with private plans that meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, those with grandfathered plans, and those with public health plans can keep their plans. Those who have non-grandfathered plans that don’t offer the benefits, rights, and protections the new law mandates will have to choose a new plan that does by 2014. (This date has been pushed back to 2015/2016 in many States.)

              The truth is that the ACA mandates insurance companies offer minimum cost sharing and minimum benefits, and so insurers elected to drop plans instead of upgrading them in many instances. It’s not like the ACA contains a provision that says you can or can’t keep your plan. The talking point should have been, “If you like your plan you can keep it… assuming it complies with the new higher standards and your insurer continues to offer it or upgrades it.”

              In many cases your insurer will help you make the change to a ACA compliant health care plan, in other cases it will be up to you to shop for a new private plan. This could result in higher or lower premiums based on your individual situation, but will almost always result in better quality health insurance. The truth is many, not all, plans that are being cancelled lacked important protections like the ban on imposing lifetime limits, bans against insurance companies dropping you for reasons other than fraud, and bans on refusing coverage or treatment for preexisting conditions. See Benefits, Rights, and Protections to understand why getting an ACA compliant plan is a good thing.

              Please note that insurance companies are electing to change grandfathered plans and thus asking Americans to choose new plans. While the law states that if a plan is changed you’ll need to choose a new plan, it does not mandate that insurers change plans with grandfathered status. Learn more about Grandfathered Plans and Keeping Your Current Health Insurance Plan.

              UPDATE: In response to the controversy surrounding this myth the President announced a plan to let insurance companies renew and reinstate plans until 2015/2016.

              Source: http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-myths/Report

              • Avatar Notme in reply to zic says:

                Obama made a blanket statement without any qualifications. You can try and explain it away but its weak especially for you zic. Why cant dems just admit he lied?Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Notme says:

                The truth is that the ACA mandates insurance companies offer minimum cost sharing and minimum benefits, and so insurers elected to drop plans instead of upgrading them in many instances. It’s not like the ACA contains a provision that says you can or can’t keep your plan. The talking point should have been, “If you like your plan you can keep it… assuming it complies with the new higher standards and your insurer continues to offer it or upgrades it.”

                So if a new law passes that says your car has to have some safety feature, all new cars have to have that safety feature; and just like the auto industry gets lead time to prepare for the safety-requirement changes, insurers had a couple years to prepare for what they knew would be required. New safety requirements doesn’t mean all the models of cars made previously have to stop being sold; which is basically what you’re claiming. Instead, it means the old models need to incorporate the new safety feature; a Dodge Ram with a new safety requirement is still a Dodge Ram.

                Much of insurance didn’t meet the minimum insurance standards, and insurers knew this and had time to plan (or would have had they not waited with baited breath for what has proved to be nuisance legal challenges to Obamacare). The insurers opted to eliminate those old policies, like doing away with a model of car, instead of upgrading the policies to reflect the new minimum requirements.

                Now those insurers change what plans cover frequently, particularly when it benefits their own bottom line to do so. They have a long history of taking the same plan and updating it; they could have opted to do that for people with old plans under Obamacare. They opted not to do that, and to offer new plans, instead.

                But yeah, keep repeating that. It really helps you make your point and influence people’s thinking. Or not.Report

              • Avatar Notme in reply to zic says:

                Obama didnt say you can keep your plan if we decide its good enough to the public. You can live in your revisionist history bubble all you want.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to zic says:

                “If you like your plan you can keep it… assuming it complies with the new higher standards and your insurer continues to offer it or upgrades it.””

                As you said, that SHOULD have been the talking point. But it wasn’t. Obama was very clear and concise in what he said. The facts turned out to be different. Either he misspoke, misunderstood the legislation, or lied. In ANY version, he is rightly criticized for saying something so divergent from the facts. Personally, I think he lied. But I think and expect everything a politician to say is a lie.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Damon says:

                I think he was so deep in the weeds that he forgot to remind people that nonconforming plans would need to conform, just like nonconforming cars; and I think he didn’t consider that many insurance companies would see this as an excuse to drop cheaper policies instead of upgrade them.

                I think that’s oversight, not lies or misdirection. And the continued use of that incident to make political point speaks more about the person making the point then it does about Obama or Obamacare or liberals and their lies.

                There are plenty of places where liberals need to be held to honesty standards, too. GMOs, vaccines, business, capital, all are subject to gross distortions by some of the left; and I’ll willingly offer correction on any number of topics. This isn’t one of them.Report

              • Avatar trizzlor in reply to zic says:

                I think the best evidence that he wasn’t intentionally lying is that in many speeches he added the caveat that Damon describes and in some he didn’t. Still, it doesn’t and shouldn’t matter because the job of the president is to be understood.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon says:

                Damon,
                Credit obama with the latent skill at being a fucking politician.
                This was a really stupid thing to lie about.

                Ergo, it was probably not an intentional lie.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Kim says:

                That’s rather well put Kimmi, well done.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Kim says:

                @kim
                Frankly, it matters not to me if it was a lie or unintentional.

                It’s just like the economy: the pres is assigned kudos for a good economy and is blamed when it’s bad. That is how the game is played.

                So, like the economy, he takes the blame for his lie, misstatement, deception, wherever. You’ll notice that this is the same as when the other party is in power.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon says:

                Damon,
                Of course he ought to get the demerit for this one!
                Though I’d wager the Democrats ought to be more incensed than the Republicans…

                Part of a politician’s role is communication, and he failed spectacularly.Report

  17. Avatar Brian Murphy says:

    Shortly after I opened the thread, the OP posted some qualification, but it’s pretty weak tea… Sort of like apologizing “if i’ve offended anyone.” There is no evidence PP is making money off selling fetal tissue, so your “competing claims” argument is pure applesauce. The OP is a dishonest even in his so-called “retraction.” This is the worst post in the history of the LoOG, and I hope the editors don’t allow breitbart jr to post again.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Brian Murphy says:

      This is definitely not the worst post in the history of the LoOG/OT, as I’ve written posts here. However, it would be nice if Dan would just come out and say, “There is no reason to think that Planned Parenthood is profiting from this, and it appears that these anti-abortion activists have been deceptive, as this particular activist group has frequently been in the past.” Dan’s new here as a contributor, and this is, I think, a moment for him to step up and demonstrate his character. I’m willing to give him a bit of time to do so.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Brian Murphy says:

      Nonsense. There have been plenty of worst posts in the history of OT.

      I’m glad Dan’s here, and the notion that he shouldn’t be allowed to post is rather disturbing. He gets to have his say, we all get to dissent if we so choose. Personally, I hope he’ll push hard on the presumption that the people who made that video have Christian intent and not evil at heart; finding the capacity to question of himself would be a sign of ability to grow, and I presume to give everyone the benefit of that presumption. I don’t expect it to be growth in an ideological direction I’d prefer, either. But acknowledging evil intent by allies in our ideological battles strikes me as a hallmark of moral and responsible adults.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to zic says:

        I agree with Zic. This whole “I don’t like what this person has written so he must be purged from contributing here or else the entire site is tarred beyond redemption” is a pernicious line of thinking and I don’t think it should be encouraged regardless of who it’s directed at.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to North says:

          Geez, considering my political bent, I’d better limit all future posts to boring science stuff.Report

        • Avatar nevermoor in reply to North says:

          I think there are three outcomes (recognizing I’m not a core voice here and carry about zero weight)

          1. Somehow there are facts out there substantiating the story. Then it’s a totally fair discussion to raise
          2. There aren’t facts, and OP retracts. Fine, though I find the discussion of how he and others were duped to be interesting.
          3. OP sticks to his guns despite a fact-free initial post contradicted by all later-developed facts. That’s not worthy of this site (which I come to explicitly for opposing viewpoints, but only because they are presented with integrity and intelligence). I’m not (NOT!) saying his viewpoint should be banned. I’m saying this site shouldn’t sponsor people who are either (1) not interested in truth in any way or (2) unable to admit when they are wrong. Barring retraction, he’s one or the other in my mind.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to nevermoor says:

            Personally I would rather the post, which I agree is a very weak one, remain, flayed and wrecked in the comment thread like a bloody wreck as an example to others than that the author be chased off the site.Report

            • Avatar nevermoor in reply to North says:

              I’m certainly not arguing that it be taken down.

              I just hope that author either comes to his senses or doesn’t stick around. Purely from a selfish perspective that I’d like to read credible/thoughtful conservative posts instead of credulous/facile/false ones.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to nevermoor says:

                Think of it as a learning experience. If Dan makes a habit of posts that get flayed like this, perhaps there is an issue.

                But he’s new, it’s his first trip to the woodshed, so to speak. Next time he runs across something like this, he’ll hopefully spend the time & do the due diligence to make sure there aren’t some obvious cannon holes in his ship before setting sail.Report

              • I’ll repeat and expand upon what I said in my first critical comment: I’ve enjoyed Dan’s other posts a lot. I think they may be the best “horserace” commentary ever at this site, and I think they’re of high enough quality – insightful, objective, well-informed, well-written – that it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if we lose Dan to some other (paying) venue at any time.

                So, I’m grateful to him for what he’s given us so far, grateful to the editors for bringing him on, and I hope that over time we develop reasons for writers like him to return from time to time even after they’ve moved on up. Tarring and feathering him or any other author in effigy for a post that is outside his usual territory, and that a lot of us think has major problems, isn’t, to say the least, likely to be helpful – or offer an attractive model for other writers, or encourage them to extend themselves – but I don’t think things have gone too far, and I’m glad also to see the commentariat exerting pressure against would-be tarrers/featherers.

                I think that’s how self-correction at a place like this is supposed to work. So far, Dan has been a good sport about the criticism even if he hasn’t (yet?) gone as far in terms of correction/retraction as some (including me) think is warranted. That the post is (last I checked) standing at the top of the site as “first-featured” somewhat amplifies the sense that more correcting needs to be done, but that’ll pass.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Sure. And anyone can be duped. It isn’t the initial post, and it damn sure isn’t the ideological priors. It’s the pathetic update and now refusal to admit error and retract (or even defend himself).Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to nevermoor says:

                IIRC, Dan is in Portland, so for him it is currently 13:45, which means he is probably at work, and quite possibly NOT in a position whereby he could take the time to make a major edit to the post.

                Be charitable, give Brother Dan until after dinner time to get home from work, spend some time with his family, and digest all that has been said & linked.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Now can we conclude this guy doesn’t have what it takes?Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to nevermoor says:

                He believes abortion is murder, right? Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong (I think he’s wrong on that, and I suspect you do too) but the point is, he thinks it’s murder, a moral outrage.

                Outraged people react to things emotionally. They are, in a word, outraged. The outrage dulls and slows the critical thinking response.

                I’m not going to say that it was 100% A-OK to go ahead and react to only one side of an obvious piece of propaganda without at least seeing what the other side had to say. But I can’t say that I haven’t reacted to something emotionally, something that dovetailed with my own, previously- and strongly-held convictions, and made the mistake of dismissing whatever it is the other side had to say out of hand, and proceeding to opine based on incomplete information.

                I can also see how our author was eager to write about something while the issue was still new and hot, to get out in front of what promised to be a wave of opinions and thoughts, to help define the shape of that wave rather than just be a part of it.

                It’s a fine line between gathering sufficient information and putting sufficient thought into a piece to offer real insight, and getting out there fast enough to make a difference in the conversation and simultaneously capture the emotional immediacy of the subject.

                So, trying to find that line, trying to navigate the Scylla of immediacy and the Charybdis of paralysis by analysis, it’s not hard for me to understand how an author might run with incomplete information — and how, in a hyper-polarized (even for this site!) environment, he might then be wary of unequivocal backtracking, lest the backtrack be misunderstood as a repudiation of other points made along the way which are still valid notwithstanding the newly-learned information, notwithstanding whether that information should have been known prior to publication or not.

                TL;DR? Cut the guy a slackburger with cheese, okay? I’ve zero interest in cutting someone from the masthead just because he wrote something that didn’t turn out as well as he’d hoped.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Burt Likko says:

                I suspect you do too

                Yup.

                it’s not hard for me to understand how an author might run with incomplete information

                Completely agree. Which is why I’ve said I’m not bothered at all by that.

                lest the backtrack be misunderstood as a repudiation of other points made along the way which are still valid notwithstanding the newly-learned information

                Don’t understand this at all. Today we’ve learned that PP was not doing something that no one thought it was doing before today. That doesn’t negate any pro-life arguments.

                Cut the guy a slackburger with cheese, okay?

                I’d be happy to. My personal requirement for that is that he, you know, do something to get there. Whether its strike-out the post and say “ooops, was misled” or whatever else, I need more than “PP disagrees with the above” to treat this guy as worthy of a site like this. I don’t think that’s some crazy ask, or some attempt to tar/feather. But, if I’m wrong, at least I’m also completely powerless as a (usual) lurker and (sometimes) commenter.

                All of this just strikes me as the difference between “error” and “untrustworthy” with the latter happening to any one at any time (me absolutely included!) and the latter being a big problem at the site I come to to hear the best arguments I can from smart people who disagree with me.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brian Murphy says:

      Oooh! Point out how his being on the masthead reflects on us as a site!Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to Brian Murphy says:

      @brian-murphy

      The OP is a dishonest even in his so-called “retraction.” This is the worst post in the history of the LoOG, and I hope the editors don’t allow breitbart jr to post again.

      Why I have to be the first to do this I don’t know. Maybe everyone else is too nice. Fortunately, given some of the comments I’ve read over the last two days, I’m in a bit of a mood so here you go…

      https://ordinary-times.com/commenting-policy/

      If you want to whine, do it elsewhere. If you want to rip the post up one side of the internet and down the other like the regular commenters are doing within the bounds of reasonable discourse, have at it. Otherwise, well…you’ll get the idea.

      Commenters seem to be rubbing me the wrong way as of late.Report

  18. Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

    I’m sure his life has a very real worth to the for-profit prison industry

    Notme: How much is his life worth?

    Ask the for-profit prison industry.Report

  19. Avatar zic says:

    I hope you’ll each go and read about what happened to Acorn. It’s vile. An overt and successful smearing based on a selectively-edited video, just like this PP smearing. Propaganda that potentially rises to the level of libel.Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to zic says:

      @zic

      In this particular case, I wonder if PP has a strong enough case to pursue a defamation case given how egregious this is.

      Several years ago, I blasted ACORN’s lawsuit against Breitbart and the two scumbags, er journalists, er something or other, mainly on First Amendment grounds (I think). Anyway, I think karma may have gotten the best of James O Keefe and Nadia Naffe.

      Naffe seems to be a complete nutcase.

      http://popehat.com/2015/06/15/partial-victory-in-pattericos-free-speech-case-before-ninth-circuit/

      Ken White is defending him and when this goes back to the trial court, she’s going to get anti-SLAPPed right between the eyes and with California’s anti-SLAPP statute. Hopefully, she’s toast.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Dave says:

        I wonder, @dave given that Acorn was completely defunded by congress, and pretty much only for the crime of helping minorities, if you still feel their lawsuit was without merit on 1st grounds? Particularly since the unedited versions of that recording, proved to the sting to be a manufactured wrong, manipulated like this one. Federal employees have lost their jobs over these highly-edited propaganda pieces.

        You know in the Acorn ‘sting,’ O’Keefe was ordered to pay one of the Acorn employees (Vera) $100,000. And then he doubled down and kept doing it. So there must be a whole lot of money in this, if $100,000 settlement didn’t put a stop to his exploits in false narrative.

        A good reporter follows the money.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to zic says:

          zic,
          Did you catch moveon shooting itself in the foot while trying to bring down Acorn?
          Acorn lost all its friends because it did too good of a job…

          (But I remain convinced that folks like Acorn know how to play the shell game just as good as Anonymous does… Get big when you need to, otherwise walk softly and be ready to jump when needed).Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to zic says:

          @zic

          I wrote my post (here actually) in September 2009. It appears that the unedited videos were made available sometime in 2010. I didn’t have that info at the time I wrote my post.

          Would I change my mind? Potentially. I was critical of ACORN over that video about it but I didn’t see myself as having a political agenda. I never jumped on the voter fraud/election stealing./anti-ACORN right wing arguments. If I’m wrong and I need to change my position, so be it. That’s the honest thing to do. I worked off of the best information I had. Apparently, that changed about six months after I wrote the post.

          The reason I never had the giant WTF moment with the PP video is that the premise sounded so absurd to me that I best it wait to see what else comes out (maybe it’s because I’m pro-choice I don’t know).

          If the fact patterns are the same, assuming you’re right about that, and I think that PP could potentially sue for defamation, then I’d consider a suit against O’Keefe and Breitbart by ACORN and the fired employees fair game.Report

  20. Avatar LWA says:

    Has anyone here actually had an abortion?
    Been with someone who had?

    The notion that anyone would somehow consent to delay an abortion by even one day is absurd on the level of saying people are infecting their kids with fatal illness to get a free trip to Disneyland.

    Sorry Dan but you are trafficking in the bizarre belief that women get abortions frivolously, on a whim.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to LWA says:

      Been with someone who had?

      Yes.Report

    • Avatar morat20 in reply to LWA says:

      Yep.

      And through planned parenthood no less. It’s been many years, but as I recall it — the woman in question knew what she wanted, and went there to get it done. The only delays were the state-mandated ones.

      The only people that tried to talk her into changing her mind in any way, shape, or form were the protestors out front. The doctor just made sure she was aware of all her options, the details of the procedure, and things proceeded from there.

      I get being “pro-life”. You really want to STOP abortions. But the thing is, pro-choice people? They’re not wanting to MAKE abortions happen, okay? They’re not pushing to abort babies the way pro-life folks are pushing to stop it. They just want the option there, for people who need it.

      I honestly think that the lopsided impulses there often translate into some weird jumping to conclusions. Abortion is not a profitable industry. Quite the opposite. Doctors who perform them aren’t going for volume, offering discounts for returning customers, or trying to cajole women into having them. Pro-choice people aren’t high-fiving after each successful abortion. And the women having them are generally not real thrilled at being there or having that procedure done, even with morning after pills.

      But I think if you’re pro-life, and really, really, really ardently opposed to abortion — it’s pretty easy to see the pro-choice people as being “pro-abortion” the way you’re “pro-life” — because people tend to project like that, unconsciously.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to morat20 says:

        For the sake of Overton window expansion, I think there ought to be an actual pro-abortion movement. Not pro-choice, but pro-abortion in the way “pro-life” folks are anti-abortion: Favouring mandatory abortions for all pregnancies.

        Not that anyone much would get on board with such an idea, but just so that when pro-choice folks are accused of being “pro-abortion” they have somewhere to point, to demonstrate that they are not in fact extremists on the spectrum of possible ideas about abortion, but in fact bang on centre of the thing. The extremists are the pro-life and pro-death movements, while the pro-choice movement is exactly centrist.Report

  21. Avatar Francis says:

    So according to the author, purely hypothetically it might be financially advantageous for PP to delay an abortion. And this dynamic apparently raises troubling moral issues. (In his usual charitable manner, Dreher is already referencing Mengele.)

    Against which we should consider the following:

    Anyone who works at PP is self-selecting to be very committed to providing reproductive services in a challenging environment.

    Anyone who advises a patient to delay a desired medical service even for a day — for the purpose of profiting off of the delay — is committing a gross ethical violation.

    Anyone who has even a sliver of awareness about the provision of abortions knows that late-term abortions are increasingly very difficult to obtain. (ETA: and even illegal.)

    PP is a non-profit.

    The product of an abortion is medical waste. In many cases the patient is going to have no interest in recognizing the ‘death’ of a ‘child’, and so will want the abortion provider to treat the aborted material with the same respect that comes with any operation — none. So now what? Burning it would make sense but when British hospitals were found to be doing that people came unstuck. Why not donate it? And since we live in a capitalistic economy, who is going to pay to move the aborted material from point A to point B?

    The only troubling moral issue here is the extent to which some people want to force women to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.Report

  22. Avatar morat20 says:

    The fact that Planned Parenthood is a non-profit wherein abortion is less than 5% of what they do, yet generations all the screaming and attempts to shut them down, should have made the OP REALLY FREAKING SKEPTICAL of the claims.

    The recent history of these ‘sting videos’ and how they’ve pretty much all turned out to be BS from start to finish, full of deceptive editing and context switches, should also have made him REALLY FREAKING SKEPTICAL.

    Since he swallowed it hook, line and sinker — perhaps he should take a hard look at why he took the bait. But since he’s still walking it back, perhaps he’s not at that point yet.Report

  23. Avatar Chris says:

    From the transcript:

    Buyer [ACTOR]: Ok. I’m just trying to brainstorm. Because, I think offering some people, not only, just offsetting their cost in other areas, seeing the potential for that, besides the potential, for the patient, I’m still going down that road, even though I know, I understand what you’re saying. This cannot be seen as, “We’re doing this for profit.”

    PP [NUCATOLA]: No. Nothing, no affiliate should be doing anything that’s not like, reasonable and customary. This is not- nobody should be “selling” tissue. That’s just not the goal here.

    and

    ACTOR: So that it doesn’t raise any question of this is what it’s about, this is the main — what – what price range would you —

    NUCATOLA: You know, I’m — I could throw a number out that’s anywhere from $30 to $100 depending on the facility, and what’s involved. It just has to do with space issues, are you sending someone there that’s going to be doing everything, or is their staff going to be doing it? What exactly are they going to be doing? Is there shipping involved, is somebody coming to pick it up — so, I think everybody just wants to — it’s really just about if anyone were ever to ask them, well what do you do for this $60, how can you justify that? Or are you basically just doing something completely egregious, that you should be doing for free. So it just needs to be justifiable.

    Emphasis added.

    Time for Dan to strike out the entire post.Report

    • Avatar morat20 in reply to Chris says:

      I was just coming to post that.

      Again: Planned Parenthood is a non-profit. The fact that “seeking profits” was a key factor in this supposed sting should have raised alarm bells. The big question is “Why didn’t your BS detector go off?”

      I’m not talking jumping instantly to “obviously false” but even just “This seems…unlikely. And there’s been a lot of deceptively edited ‘sting’ videos a lot like this that turned out to be total BS”.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to morat20 says:

        @morat20

        Planned Parenthood is a non-profit. The fact that “seeking profits” was a key factor in this supposed sting should have raised alarm bells

        Not for profit hospitals seek “profits” all the time (i.e. revenues > expenses). That didn’t raise my alarm bells here. The framing of this story did, and now I know why.Report

    • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Chris says:

      I think this is an important part of the transcript and deflates much of the story, but I will also highlight this section which is ambiguous:

      NUCATOLA: I think for affiliates, at the end of the day, they’re a non-profit, they just don’t want to — they want to break even. And if they can do a little better than break even, and do so in a way that seems reasonable, they’re happy to do that. Really their bottom line is, they just, they want to break even. Every penny they save is just pennies they give to another patient. To provide a service the patient wouldn’t get otherwise.

      Now I have no idea what doing “a little better” but “in a way that seems reasonable” means but it sounds like profit. On the other hand, the kind of costs Nucatola was talking about are so insubstantial that this could just be an awkward turn of phrase. This is the problem with a partisan sting: she says “No!” a dozen times and could be interpreted as saying “Maybe” once. Does that tell us anything about the entire operation?Report

  24. Avatar zic says:

    Here’s a study on the ethics of fetal-tissue research including how handle informed consent respectfully, if you care to actually find out about the field. Planned Parenthood is not mentioned in the study that I could see. The conclusion?

    Our work demonstrates the delicate nature of this research and the sensitivity that is required when dealing with miscarriage, xenotransplantation, and informed consent. Treating informed consent as an ethical process, rather than a means to an end, was an important aspect of this project. Indeed, choosing to perform detailed informed consent above and beyond what was legally required sends an important message to the community and to science about the prominent role of ethics for this group. The group itself has been strengthened by the ethical approach and if they use this feedback to become self-critical of their own process and improve their methods of research and consent, they will continue to pursue ethical practices in research.

    And here’s Guttmacher’s article on the topic:

    Allowed in accordance with 1993 law, which ensures informed consent, forbids the woman providing the tissue from being paid or knowing the identity of the recipient, forbids altering the timing or method of abortion for the sake of research and attempts to avoid the commercialization of fetal tissue.

    Report

  25. Avatar nevermoor says:

    Some comments have very fairly pointed out that Planned Parenthood disputes my core assumption–that they were making money off of these transactions, rather than just recouping costs.

    JFC dude. This isn’t an “opinions differ” kind of issue. This is “journalists” who have long since lost any credibility through selective editing to distort their “scoops” make allegations that are contradicted by THEIR OWN TAPE and supported nowhere.

    The only interesting question left is why you (and other wingers) are persuaded and/or duped by this outfit time and time again. My suspicion is because as a group you folks ARE willing to sell yourselves out for a quick buck and are therefore readily willing to assume PP would do so. Certainly “The Center for Medical Progress” fits that bill. That said, I suspect you would “dispute[] my core assumption” so I’ll just have to leave this thought experiment floating at the bottom of the thread.Report

  26. Avatar Kazzy says:

    “If Planned Parenthood’s version is accurate, then my argument about incentives would be invalid. I see these as competing claims, now; it is unclear which side is telling the truth. In the spirit of fairness, I am linking to their statement.”

    Here we are with the If’s again. Oy.

    What evidence is there that the claims that PP is selling fetal tissue for profit are valid?

    Because anyone can make claims and call them competing.

    This is the problem with labeling things ‘controversies’ when they really aren’t. It immediately gives validity to both sides. Sometimes, one side is just flat out wrong and ALL AVAILABLE EVIDENCE tells us that the anti-PP folks in this situation are flat out wrong about PP’s actions here.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Kazzy says:

      Yeah, it’s sort-of like a reporter asking a prominent person, “Why do you continually deny fucking pigs?” and then editing their response to make it look like they’re admitting having sex with swine. Discrediting by insinuation.

      Meantime, real women with real needs, including contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy, cancer screenings and treatments, STD treatment are losing their slim hope of health care because of attacks on PP. This war to save unborn children — 3% of PP’s clients — cost the other 97% a whole lot of needed, life-saving care.

      So why do they keep fucking pigs? I’d really like to know.

      /please excuse my crudeness; this is one of my sweetie’s sayings when he witnesses this slime-by-insinuation going down.Report

  27. Avatar Lurker says:

    Ah, selective editing.

    I don’t mind right wing types buying into this, but once it is revealed to be lies, refusing to condemn it as lies is lying or just as bad as lying.

    Report

  28. Avatar John Howard Griffin says:

    Ooooh, this is fun! Can I have a turn?

    —-

    Catholics believe that you can only reach salvation through suffering.

    Catholics want to save everyone by converting them to Catholicism.

    Therefore, the incentive is for Catholics to increase everyone’s suffering so that they are able to reach salvation.

    QED

    —-

    White people have advantages that Black people do not.

    White people understand that making things more equal will most likely make things harder (or less easy) for them.

    Therefore, the incentive is for White people to want Black people to stay where they are forever – getting the short end of the stick.

    QED

    —-

    I could do this all day…

    Hello all. I’ll leave now.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

      @john-howard-griffin

      NO! Stick around! Been too long since I’ve seen you ’round these parts.Report

      • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to Kazzy says:

        Kazzy, I’m around occasionally – just in my accustomed place: neither seen nor heard.

        Couldn’t shut up about this one, alas.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

          Well, I for one would like to see (hear? I never know which it is here on the interwebs) more from you but obviously that is your call.

          Now I’m tempted to lay some JHG bait to figure out what else lures you out from the lurking depths.Report

          • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to Kazzy says:

            I look forward to your attempts at luring the dreaded JHG. We’ll see if it works, and if anyone sustains any injuries in the process (Heaven forfend!).

            🙂

            I know some topics that could lure me in (though, not standard fare around here): Pluto! or the Pentaquark!

            Or, an even better one: the nature of Dark Matter and Dark Energy – what do we know and what do we only think we know?

            Maybe: Can entropy be reversed? or Who is this God person anyway?

            How about: why are children so amazing, no matter who they are?

            Or: why do we spend so much time on the Interne….. nah, that one’s been done too much.Report

              • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to Jaybird says:

                Thanks, Jaybird.

                —-

                And, it isn’t the Assassin’s Creed-ification. (I perused your Batman post)

                Grand Theft Auto-ification is more correct, I think.

                —-

                No Man’s Sky has great interest for me. We’ll see if it ends up being what I hope it might be…Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

              I sent Will Truman a link about the PentaQuark for Linky Friday, does that count?Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

              I can handle the kid one. OMG, it takes all my effort to not constantly post about how awesome kids are because even if I’m talking about my students or just the amazing wonderment of children in general, I’m afraid I’ll come off like the guy who posts too many baby pics on Facebook (Don’t worry, I do that, too). But if there is any sort of desire for that, I’m in.

              The other day, I found Mayo (2-years-old) trying to feed Little Marcus Allen (4-months-old) with a bottle and it was amazing.

              I also had a student use the term “unforget” instead of “remember” and it instantly became my new favorite word. Oh, I could go on…Report

              • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to Kazzy says:

                I feel you, dog. At parties, I’m the guy playing with all the kids.

                Well, at least the two of us would read and comment. On the intertubes, that’s as much as you can hope for, I think.

                Or, that’s as much as I can hope for, perhaps.Report

              • Avatar John Howard Griffin in reply to Kazzy says:

                Kazzy, here is one that my older son said when he was between 1 and 2:

                After dinner, he asked for a dessert or candy or something. I asked what he wanted. He thought for a moment, then looked at the refrigerator and said “I want the white stuff”.

                I wasn’t sure what he wanted, and neither was my wife. She asked “What white stuff, honey?”

                He pointed at the refrigerator and said “The SPECIAL white”.

                I opened the refrigerator and saw a can of whipped cream (you know the kind you use to “Whip It”), and then I understood. He wanted the whipped cream. I gave him a bowl of whipped cream.

                And, to this day, we still call whipped cream “Special White” in our house.Report

            • What if we offered you a guest post about classical music? 🙂Report

    • Therefore, the incentive is for Catholics to increase everyone’s suffering so that they are able to reach salvation.

      Actually, that does explain a lot of medieval history.Report

  29. Avatar Dan Scotto says:

    I was out all day and disappeared from this thread, so my apologies for that. There are some thoughtful comments here, certainly, which I always appreciate. A couple of general replies:

    There is uncertainty in this video. People don’t say exactly what they mean all the time; they lie, dissemble, evade, and speak in euphemisms in real life. What I see when I read the transcripts is that when a person says something like an amount “that seems reasonable” and “if they can do a little better than break even” they’re speaking euphemistically about financial benefits. Maybe it’s all about recouping costs, and it’s all above board. But there is clearly ambiguity there, enough so to encourage me to write this piece about the potential incentive issues. It strains credulity to think that if this were entirely malicious (which I don’t think it is), the perpetrator would admit it all outright. Expecting to hear someone say “We demand 30% margin” is unrealistic.

    This is a moral debate; I’m not looking for certainty. I’m asking for a consideration of the moral implications of accepting a system of incentives that lead to women holding babies they intend to abort for longer than necessary. This really doesn’t trouble people at all, if it’s happening?

    Separately, “profit” was a weak word choice on my part, so I’ll accept blame on that. But really, “non-profits” clearly do “profit-seeking” things. We see this with universities all the time. The monies redound to the benefit of employees and facilities, rather than owners or shareholders, but money is money, and organizations seek to grab it for their own purposes, whether they’re for-profit entities, non-profits, or government agencies. This can be corrupt (someone lining their own pockets), or it can be fully above board (hiring additional people, improving facilities, increasing salaries), but in terms of the actions themselves, relying on “non-profit” status to determine what an organization does or doesn’t do in terms of acquiring money is not a good strategy.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Dan Scotto says:

      And you have made your choice. I was hoping it would be the different, I admit, but at least now we know. C’est la vie.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dan Scotto says:

      “…a system of incentives that lead to women holding babies they intend to abort for longer than necessary. This really doesn’t trouble people at all, if it’s happening?”

      I try not to get worked up about things until we have some substantive evidence that they are really happening. You have yet to provide an iota of evidence that there even exists a medical/scientific preference for fetal tissue from further along in the pregnancy. This should be pretty easy to find. Either there is a preference for older fetal tissue, younger fetal tissue, no preference at all, or a contextual preference. Two of those situations create the possibility of incentives. Two do not. Which of them best describes the way in which the medical and scientific community use (and thus seek) fetal tissue?

      Once we have that answered, we can then look at if this creates an incentive for PP to advocate for delaying abortion, how this incentive interacts with other incentives, and what the ultimate outcome is.

      You haven’t done your homework here, Dan. And it’s sad. Because this video was never really intended for folks like you. It was designed to get Mark Levin screaming on his radio program about all the “little Mengeles” on the left… so that the sorts of people who listen to the Mark Levin show can get up in arms and start writing letters and maybe make a dent in PP’s operating budget by targeting their funding sources (including the government). The video was clearly not made to actually start a conversation about incentives and abortion and best medical practices.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

        I don’t care one bit what medical research has a preference for. Absent evidence that PP counselors are encouraging women seeking abortions to wait an amount of time beyond what is perhaps statutorially required, this is a whole lot of manufactured heat with no fire.

        And if ethical standards are such that they discourage counselors from pressuring women to donate or for those who choose to donate to wait, then the more abstract conversation about incentives has already been had.

        This is shock journalism like we see on the 11 o’clock news (Is your drinking water giving you cancer?) (Short answer, no, but we found something completely normal about drinking water that most people don’t know, & absent certain context/knowledge/experience will find shocking).Report

      • Avatar Dan Scotto in reply to Kazzy says:

        The video was clearly not made to actually start a conversation about incentives and abortion and best medical practices.

        This, I certainly agree with. It’s designed, deliberately, for better or worse, to shock the conscience.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Dan Scotto says:

      Dan Scotto,

      Sigh… I was hoping for better here, Dan. Despite the fact that we’re clearly members of opposing ideological camps, I extended you the benefit of the doubt that what you were reporting on was actually a real thing, a benefit which you are clearly unwilling to extend to Planned Parenthood. I’m disinclined to do so in the future. I’m also disappointed since this venue could really benefit from a fair and thoughtful conservative voice. It seems it still could.

      But while I’m disappointed I can’t say that I’m surprised. Social psych research has examined differences between liberals and conservatives along various dimensions of personality and two characteristics that conservatives tend toward have been described as “seizing” and “freezing.” Seizing is the propensity to form quick judgments from limited information. It can be described negatively as “jumping to conclusions” or in a more positive light as decisiveness, clearly a useful and positive trait in certain situations or professions. Freezing is a kind of stubbornness of belief which, again, can be construed as situationally positive or negative.

      This is a pretty clear example of such, where you initially “seize” onto the belief that PP is perversely incentivized, aided no doubt by generally negative feelings toward the organization, and now “freezing” on that belief despite the complete lack of evidence that they actually have such incentives or are acting as if they do.

      Look, it sucks to have to back down and do the mea culpa thing, particularly in so public a forum. But among liberals it would actually increase your esteem.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Road Scholar says:

        ” Freezing is a kind of stubbornness of belief which, again, can be construed as situationally positive or negative”

        worked pretty good with the whole Russian Winter thing (and serfs in general). Cognitive flexibility is more selected for in the modern age though.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Dan Scotto says:

      I get the impression that you think, when a woman has an abortion, she goes and has an intake appointment, and then goes back a few days or weeks or whatever to actually have the abortion? One of the things liberals have been screaming about is the ‘wait’ period; spreading things over three days.

      Doesn’t this sort of indicate that we’re interested in letting women get this over with in a single day, once they’ve decided that they cannot go through with the life-time commitment of becoming a parent? So I really want to know the mechanism by which you think abortion doctors incent pregnant women, who don’t want to be pregnant, to carry their babies extra time?Report

  30. Avatar Notme says:

    Its okay. Atleast now we see that PP has moved past the common liberal position that its just a blob of cells and now sees it as tissue. They could take the high gound and get out of the tissue trade but they wont.Report

    • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Notme says:

      Why is not donating tissue the “high road”? I’m tempted to conclude this is evidence of thoughtless anti-scientific bias, but it seems more like a(n attempt at a) cheap shot.Report

      • Avatar Notme in reply to nevermoor says:

        Im a lawyer and in at least one case i told some not to do something, not because it wasnt leagal but that it might look bad. PP lives in a charged poltical environment and should probably avoid donating body parts bc it looks bad. PP maybe on the side of the angels but avoidable controversy doesnt help.Report

  31. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    @dan-scotto

    First off:

    This is a moral debate; I’m not looking for certainty. I’m asking for a consideration of the moral implications of accepting a system of incentives that lead to women holding babies they intend to abort for longer than necessary. This really doesn’t trouble people at all, if it’s happening?

    Let’s start with the big issue, there is no evidence this is happening. I agree with you that there is a potential for this to happen, but nothing in that video suggests to me that the potential has been realized. If a series of videos soon appear that shows PP abortion staff encouraging women who want to donate to wait, then this would be a legitimate conversation to have, but from what I hear, medical ethical standards already exist to discourage this, so I’d need to see evidence of a systemic problem that would demonstrate a culture of ignoring or playing fast & loose with established protocols & standards.

    To the other issue, I do think that abortion providers SHOULD encourage women to donate the aborted fetus to research. Fetal tissue is extremely limited in supply, but has immense value and potential for leading to treatments & cures for a number of issues in adults, children, babies, and the unborn. If a fetus is going to be aborted, then let’s at least gain value from the life lost.

    My feeling is that at most, what is happening is (if I have this straight), that medical research firms offer a dollar amount for fetal tissue (e.g. $60), and if the cost to PP for prep, storage, and transport is $55, PP ‘profits’ the $5 extra. Not exactly a massive income stream, given that abortions are such a small part of PPs activities. But, being one of the libertarian types hereabouts (free market kidney donations, Yeah Baby!), let take this further. I think PP, which is providing a service to a significantly underserved population, should be able to profit from such donations as much as possible in order to offset their costs. So much so that even if PP was encouraging women* who had expressed a desire to donate to wait a bit longer in order to increase the value** of the donation, I would be OK with that.

    *While this may incite visions of greedy counselors & accountants aggressively (if politely) pressuring women to hold off, you should recognize that such is the stuff of pulp fiction novels & b-movie villains. In the real world, PP would have to find an extremely delicate & tasteful way to effect such encouragement, which would be no easy task, so much so that as a matter of policy I doubt they would do it because the potential for a careless or incompetent staff member to screw it up & cause a PR catastrophe would be too much. On top of that, even if such a thing was allowed, there would still be ethics considerations attached that PP would have to follow.

    **Value here is questionable, since I don’t know if the value goes up the older the fetus is. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that a a research firm would pay thousands of dollars for a 7 month fetus, but only $100 for a 7 week one. That increase in value is not the result of researchers who are just giddy at the prospect of carving up dead babies that are almost viable (i.e. bad movie plot characterizations again). That value represents the additional amount and types of medical progress that can be made with such tissue. And no, this doesn’t necessarily result in a slippery slope of the ends justifying the means until we have abortions for profit in order to fuel research (or some such thing).Report

    • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      >>”Let’s start with the big issue, there is no evidence this is happening.”

      I think it’s important to discuss this in the context of what was presented in the video. I quoted the section on doing “a bit better than breaking even” above, and I’m quoting the relevant section on asking women to wait below.

      DN: Yea, so that’s where we kind of get into an ethical situation, because what I think most providers don’t want to have do, they don’t want — In terms of the steps and the preparation, and getting them to the actual procedure, you know, if you really want an intact specimen, the more dilation, the better. Is the clinic gonna you know, put in another set of laminaria [used to dilate a woman’s cervix before an abortion] to do something different? I think they’d prefer not to. For example, what I’m dealing with now, if I know what they’re looking for, I’ll just keep it in the back of my mind, and try to at least keep that part intact. But, I generally don’t do extra dilation. I won’t put in an extra set of laminaria, or add an extra day, that’s going to add significant cost of expense to everybody. Basically, if you need to add another set of laminaria, and have the patient come back another day, if you provide procedures enough days in a row that you can do that, then you know, that’s a whole ‘nother consideration. In general, I’d say most people, unless there’s a specific research protocol that’s been I.R.B. approved, try to avoid that.

      Now, again, 9 times out of 10 the PP rep is saying all the right things: nothing should be different for the patient unless the research is approved. But as with the previous statement, there’s a running thread that things are typically *but not always* done this way. When someone’s talking to a buyer, I don’t think we should be comfortable when they say “most of the time we follow the IRB”; that’s like saying that most of the time you follow the law. That’s not a smoking gun, and the video is an obvious hatchet job, but I think there’s an attempt to push the Overton window from the left to claim that this just confirms what a wonderful organization PP is. In the interest of full disclosure, PP should really present hard evidence that “we try to avoid that” actually means “we don’t do that”.Report

  32. Avatar Maureen says:

    greginak:
    Okay, i’ll go with the obvious counter. Do anti-abortion groups have incentives to prevent abortions? Adoptions can cost a lot of money especially for the hardest adoptees to get; white infants. If the anti-A group can convince a women to give birth and let them adopt it they may get a lot for that.

    There are incentives and disincentives in just about everything.

    There are massive disincentives to giving birth to a child you don’t intend to keep. Many of the women who choose adoption are single, the father is not involved/engaged, and are lower income. They do not have the kind of jobs that offer maternity leave or short term disability, which is what some women actually have in the U.S. rather than maternity leave; they are subject to the expense of giving birth (which in the U.S. is very expensive); subject to the dangers of being pregnant (HELPP, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, hyperemesis gravidarum, placenta previa or abruption… pregnancy is a dangerous time for women), post-birth, the drastic hormonal changes can lead to severe post-partum depression; as well as a general lack of support for mental heath problems that may stir when you have gone through such a drastic physical change and walked away without a baby.

    If we’re talking incentives, the clear preference would be to terminate early on if you do not want to give birth.Report

  33. Avatar Francis says:

    ” I’m asking for a consideration of the moral implications of accepting a system of incentives that lead to women holding babies they intend to abort for longer than necessary”

    I will extend you the courtesy of assuming that you’re arguing in good faith. In which case I would like you to consider the moral implications of accepting a system — not of incentives but of direct government regulation — that force many women to hold fetuses that they intend to abort for longer than they want.

    Congratulations, Texas! You are directly supporting PP’s incentives to increase the value of the aborted tissue.

    so on the one hand, you have completely unsupported supposition that abortion providers at PP may have a financial incentive to delay scheduling an abortion (which theoretical incentive is directly contrary to the mission of the organization and the medical training of the staff).

    and on the other hand you have elected officials doing their very best to make abortion as difficult as possible to obtain across many red states.

    I’ll give your moral implications the weight they deserve when you return the favor.Report

  34. Avatar Maria says:

    I have lots of strong opinions on a whole host of details related to the OP, the story itself, and the “journalists” involved, but I will stick with the one that hasn’t really been fleshed out. The medical providers (doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, etc) who work at Planned Parenthood all have the same medical and ethical training as those who work for Kaiser or the Mayo Clinic or wherever. The implication that their ethics become that much more “flexible” simply because they work for PP is insulting to them and to all in their fields. Are they automatically unethical because they are or work with “abortionists?” Hardly.

    This is personal for me as I have many family members and friends in the medical field. I know I am biased, but I can honestly say they are among the most ethical people I know.Report

  35. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Just wondering if there were any new comments in this thread.Report

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