The fact-checkers came down from the mountain and they have spoken: Call Planned Parenthood an “abortion business” and you’re fake news.
Sorry, LifeNews.com. Your pro-life site had your chance to play nice, but now a year-old article about Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and his attempt to fund Planned Parenthood is in the crosshairs because it pointed out the obvious: The abortion giant is to terminating pregnancies what McDonald’s is to hamburgers. It’s the most recognizable face of an industry and the largest provider in the United States.
But point that out and boom, hope you like that fact-check ding.
So, here’s the tortuous story in as much of a TL;DR form as I can give you: Over a year ago, under the Orwellian-named “Healthy Women, Healthy Babies” section of his budget, Evers proposed restoring funding to Planned Parenthood. As part of its coverage, pro-life website LifeNews.com published a piece titled “Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers Wants to Force Residents to Fund Planned Parenthood Abortion Business.”
The article got mentioned again because it was part of a widely shared Facebook post in a group called “Recall Tony Evers.” It was shared “over 300 times,” which is apparently when USA Today comes in to fact-check it.
You may think this is of very questionable importance — and you’d be right, but that’s not quite what’s of interest here.
What USA Today dinged LifeNews.com on was the title and this opening paragraph: “Governor Tony Evers announced today that he will force state residents to fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business as part of his state budget. The so-called ‘Healthy Women, Healthy Babies’ initiative would restore funding to the nation’s biggest abortion company that kills 330,000 babies in abortions annually.”
That part actually failed to pass, but never mind that. The first problem USA Today had with the piece was that the money wasn’t going toward the abortion part of Planned Parenthood’s business — and indeed, isn’t supposed to.
“Nearly $28 million would have gone toward services such as cancer screenings, sexually transmitted infection testing and other policies related to pregnancies and childbirth. The bill would have routed federal funds from the family planning and women’s health block grant programs to Planned Parenthood and other entities,” USA Today reported in its April 27 fact check.
“The proposal also would have allowed the health care providers to share ‘nondirective’ information about pregnancy termination as part of family planning services. Generally speaking, that means they could discuss the option.”
Under Wisconsin law, the government couldn’t have even given any money to the abortion side of the business, considering the state only allows taxpayer funding of abortion in the cases of rape, incest or life of the mother. Similarly, the Hyde Amendment forbids the use of federal funds for abortions. (Although, boy, do the Democrats ever wish they could change that.)
Beyond how “nondirective” that whole part about termination would be, there’s a deeper problem here: Why couldn’t this money be given to organizations or clinics that would have provided these services without providing abortions?
But this wasn’t the only fact-checking problem that USA Today had with this piece. They were also irked that LifeNews.com would dare to call Planned Parenthood an “abortion business.”
“According to Planned Parenthood’s 2018-2019 annual report, the organization’s health centers performed 345,672 abortions from October 2017 to September 2018, the most recent data available. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin reported just over 4,600 abortions for the 2017-2018 fiscal year,” the outlet reported.
“In Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood also provided around 105,000 sexually transmitted infection tests, 5,300 cervical cancer screenings, 13,000 pregnancy tests and 860 breast exams.
“Nationwide, patients visited Planned Parenthood for contraception, prenatal services, and preventive care like pap tests or HPV vaccinations. Testing for STIs and HIV accounted for half of all services provided.
“Abortions made up 3.5% of those services, nationwide,” USA Today added.
Yeah, I would like to fact-check that number.
“Even though it is the largest abortion provider in America, Planned Parenthood’s annual report claims that abortion is only four percent of the organization’s ‘medical services’ for the last fiscal year. However, Planned Parenthood arrives at this false statistic by dividing the number of children it aborted (345,672) for the year by the number of ‘services’ the group provided (9.8 million),” read a January news release from pro-life nonprofit law firm Liberty Counsel.
“This means when a woman visits a Planned Parenthood facility to obtain an abortion, she is also given a pregnancy test, an STI test, a cancer screening and contraception. Therefore, the abortion procedure would be considered 20 percent of the ‘services’ she received. This is why the group lists its annual ‘services’ as much higher than the number of patients it saw last year (2.4 million).
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider — no one denies this. That sub-4 percent abortion number is a joke, a myth that’s long been shattered by anyone who cares to pay attention. (Fact-checkers, apparently not so much.)
Abortion has, more or less, become its brand.
But don’t ask me, ask Dr. Leana Wen, the former CEO of Planned Parenthood. She was ignominiously ousted last year — and, in her farewell letter, she revealed part of the reason was because the group’s board “has determined that the priority of Planned Parenthood moving forward is to double down on abortion rights advocacy.”
Wen was pro-abortion enough to lead the largest abortion provider in the United States and yet, she still thought she was walking away from what was either already an abortion business or an organization that was becoming one. They weren’t just doubling down on 3.5 percent, after all.
Does this mean LifeNews.com is owed an apology?
This is a curious fact check at a curious time. Three hundred people shared a Facebook post linking to a year-old article about Evers and suddenly this pops up?
We’re living in the age of that insipid “Plandemic” pseudo-documentary, after all. Isn’t there something a little more important than this?
“Planned Parenthood is still the largest provider of abortions in the United States,” USA Today acknowledged. “But to call it an abortion business is a stretch, as the organization provides other services far more often.”
“We rate this claim PARTLY FALSE, based on our research,” the outlet concluded.
“It’s true Gov. Tony Evers tried and failed to restore funding for entities, like Planned Parenthood, that do provide abortion services. But it is false to say residents would be forced to pay for abortions. Even if the measure had passed, under state and federal law, the money generally couldn’t have gone to pay for abortions. Finally, it’s an exaggeration to call Planned Parenthood an abortion business, when abortions make up a small portion of the services offered.”
There’s a lot about that statement that’s pretty wrong, but that last sentence is the most glaring of them all.
But why should it matter? After all, if abortion is safe and legal — we’ve dropped the word “rare” now — why not let them own it?
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