Letters: 'Manning Up' And Planned Parenthood

Many Talk of the Nation listeners responded to an interview with Kay Hymowitz, who argues that too many young men are stuck in an extended adolescence. And after a segment on Planned Parenthood, NPR's Julie Rovner clarifies contradictory statistics about abortion.

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NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, and time to read from your emails and Web comments. And we were flooded with both after our conversation about what makes a man. Kay Hymonitz wrote the book, "Manning Up," and argued that too many young men are stuck in extended adolescence.

Many of you disagreed, including M.W.(ph), who emailed: By the time I was 24, I'd worked at a bank, moved to another country, had an AK-47 stuck in my face for my writing and been arrested by a foreign government for journalism. I married my fiancee. I don't think any of those things made me a man. For me, it was committing my life to social change and the sacrifices that come with that decision. Your guest threw around too many stereotypes.

Jaquelyn(ph) in Denver argued: Her husband's pre-adulthood works well for her. I'm a 54-year-old woman married to a man 10 years my junior. He keeps me young and playful, and frankly is still an adolescent in many ways. For us, this has meant that I'm the primary breadwinner and decision maker, and I have more than 50 percent of the power in the relationship. I love it. Keep playing your video games, guys. Pretty soon, you will be housewives.

Listeners were also divided over the Supreme Court's decision that the First Amendment protects even hurtful speech, even if that comes in the form of anti-gay protests at the funerals of U.S. service members.

Brian(ph) is Sandy Creek, New York, wrote: As a gay man and a Christian, I am appalled at the activities of the Westboro Baptist Church. I must say, however, that I am not surprised by the ruling by the Supreme Court. If we cannot protect the right of free speech for those whose ideas we abhor, we cannot protect it for the rest of us. To say that we believe in free speech and then turn around and suppress ideas we disagree with is hypocrisy.

Another listener disagreed. This ruling is outrageous, not because I'm against free speech, but I am for messages like that being delivered at a different time other than a funeral of a military person. Samuel Alito was right to say that a person's privacy should be protected as vigorously as free speech. That email from Rudolph Peters(ph).

Finally, several of you wrote during yesterday's show about Planned Parenthood, about the conflict over what percentage of the agency's clients receive abortions. We've asked NPR's heal policy correspondent Julie Rovner to join us again. Julie, always nice to have with you us.

JULIE ROVNER: Always nice to be here.

CONAN: And we heard two figures from opposing sides yesterday, 3 percent and 10 percent, who's right?

ROVNER: Well, the conflict is really that Planned Parenthood keeps its statistics according to the percent of those services that are provided, not according to how many people get what. So it turns out that there are - that indeed, abortions are 3 percent of the services provided, although - and that was what, I think, Sarah Stoesz from Planned Parenthood kind of misspoke when she said it was 3 percent of patients who come in get abortions.

It is actually a little bit closer to the 10 percent that Marjorie Dannenfesler suggested, because there are about 3 million patients who come in. There are about 300,000 abortions provided.

Now, you can't really divide that because that's not how they keep their statistics. But indeed, that - those are the actual statistics. Three million patients, 300,000 abortions, but you have to contrast that to more than a million pregnancy tests and all kinds of other services provided. So indeed, it's a small amount in terms of percentage of services provided.

CONAN: And the difference might be that the same woman who later received an abortion also got a pregnancy test and counseling and some other services.

ROVNER: Absolutely. So many of those patients are getting more than one services and who - many of the patients who get an abortion are probably getting other services as well.

CONAN: NPR health policy correspondent Julie Rovner, thanks very much.

ROVNER: You're welcome.

CONAN: You can hear that full conversation at our website, npr.org. If you have a comment, question or correction for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name. If you're on Twitter, you can follow me there, @nealconan, all one word.

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