"I'd like to think of Planned Parenthood as the LensCrafters of family planning," says Planned Parenthood executive Steve Trombley in a fascinating Wall Street Journal piece on how the 92-year-old nonprofit, long beset by attacks and threats by antiabortion wingnuts, is coming under fire for Starbucksification. (I guess it's worthwhile to mention here that October will mark ten years since the last American abortionist murder. Yay?) So now come the First World Problems: PP clocked in a billion dollars of revenue last year — that's somewhere between Wet Seal and J. Crew — and generated a surplus of $114 million, all this as the abortion rate <a href="http://jezebel.com/345950/experts-dont-understand-why-fewer-american-women-are-getting-abortions
">has gone down! How'd they do it? A savvy combination of tactics pioneered by the specialty retail industry! First off, the organization has targeted the more affluent teen market with special "Must Have" limited edition condoms and nicer, more bulletproof facilities in suburban locations "in shopping centers and malls, places where women are already doing their grocery shopping, picking up their Starbucks, living their daily lives," according to another PP exec. They've added more high-margin products to their offerings: the Morning After pill, but also "jewelry, candles, books and T-shirts."
They took away some of the off-putting marketing messages, replacing this kinda militant line about the right to "reproductive self-determination" from their Mission Statement and replacing it with something about how they want to "leverage strength through our affiliated structure to be the nation's most trusted provider of sexual and reproductive health care" that sounds like it was generated by a corporate Mission Statement algorithm. In many markets a third or more of the clients even have health insurance!
One thing that isn't mentioned in the piece is the uptick in "medical" or pill abortions, which generally cost as much as surgical abortions but have got to be wayyy more profitable...in fact, I'm sure they're probably considered the "cash cow" of the whole industry, not that the industry generally talks about itself like it's about to go public on NASDAQ. Anyway, as you can imagine, mom-and-pop abortion clinics are grousing about Planned Parenthood's Wal-Marty tactics and lowering their prices and the whole thing would be another great chapter in my forthcoming book "Why Normal Countries Socialize Their Medicine Kthanxbai" except, hello, that book would be wayyyyy too long for me to ever finish the proposal.
Related: 'Miffy' Helps Make Abortion A Private Affair [SF Chronicle]