The Corner

In Senator Kyl’s Defense

Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona has been subject to considerable criticism and ridicule in recent days. During last week’s budget battle, Senator Kyl claimed that Planned Parenthood “devotes more than 90 percent of its resources to providing abortions.” He did not help matters much when his office issued a press release saying he hadn’t intended his remarks to be a factual statement.

When Planned Parenthood claims they only devote only 3 percent of their resources toward abortion, this statistic is also misleading — though it has escaped the scrutiny of late-night comics. Planned Parenthood runs a number of tests and procedures on women who are seeking abortions, which makes it appear as if abortion services are small percentage of what Planned Parenthood actually does.

Overall, abortion patients constitute 11 percent of Planned Parenthood clients. Furthermore, by conservative estimates, abortions constitute 37 percent of all Planned Parenthood revenues. What Kyl was probably thinking about when he made the statement is that 98 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services to pregnant women (abortion, adoption, and prenatal care) are abortion. According to Planned Parenthood’s 2009 report, it performed 332,278 abortions, saw, 7,021 prenatal care clients, and made 977 adoption referrals.

Of course, Kyl’s error was promptly pounced on by pundits and the late-night comics. On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart said that he would “love this statement to be checked by, uh, anyone.” On his Twitter account, Stephen Colbert ridiculed this remark about 37 times in a little over 25 hours. True, many of these comics poke fun at mistakes made by Democrats, too, but in this case the level of viciousness seems over the top. Could one imagine Stephen Colbert ridiculing President Obama 37 times in a day?

Pro-lifers should take heart, however. The ridicule, scrutiny, and hostility pro-lifers are enduring is actually evidence of pro-life progress. Indeed, the recent LiveAction films and the ongoing budget debates have left Planned Parenthood and its allies feeling very threatened and vulnerable.

Michael J. New is an assistant professor at the University of Alabama and a fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J.

Michael J. New — Michael J. New is a visiting assistant professor of social research and political science at the Catholic University of America and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Demagoguery Is Not Leadership

The government of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand has, with the support of the opposition, decided to enact fundamental changes in the nation’s firearms laws less than a week after the massacre at two Christchurch mosques. This is the opposite of leadership. It is also an example of why ... Read More
White House

The Media’s Disgrace

There will soon enough be an effort to memory-hole it, but the media coverage of the Russia investigation was abysmal and self-discrediting — obsessive and hysterical, often suggesting that the smoking gun was right around the corner, sometimes supporting its hoped-for result with erroneous, too-good-to-check ... Read More
U.S.

Political Theatrics

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Including all you whippersnappers under the age of 50), I’m writing this from somewhere over the Atlantic. At least I hope that’s ... Read More
Politics & Policy

What Was Trump So Annoyed About?

One of the stranger arguments that I heard throughout the Mueller saga -- and am hearing today, now that it's turned out to be a dud -- is that Donald Trump's irritation with the process was unreasonable and counterproductive. This tweet, from CNN's Chris Cilizza, is a nice illustration of the genre: Donald ... Read More