Politifact Misleads in Bashing Jon Kyl Over Planned Parenthood

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 11, 2011   |   11:50AM   |   Washington, DC

The political fact checking web site Politifact has issued a misleading report criticizing pro-life Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona concerning a statement he made about Planned Parenthood.

During a recent commentary on the Senate floor, Kyl talked about the way in which Planned Parenthood is an abortion business and its status as such should make it ineligible to receive tens of millions in taxpayer funds from the federal government.

“Everybody goes to clinics, to hospitals, to doctors, and so on. Some people go to Planned Parenthood,” he said. “But you don’t have to go to Planned Parenthood to get your cholesterol or your blood pressure checked. If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.”

Politifact said it “got many requests to fact-check his statement” and “Planned Parenthood says the statistics are dramatically different — that 90 percent of its services are preventive in nature, compared with 3 percent that are abortion-related.”

“Planned Parenthood calculates the numbers by services provided, rather than dollars spent,” the web site said. “By this tally, abortions accounted for just under 3 percent of the procedures Planned Parenthood provided in 2009, which is the most recent year for which the group is reporting statistics. And that would make Kyl’s statement way off. Kyl has vastly overstated the share of abortions.”

Kyl’s office responded to the criticism in a statement saying his remarks were meant to “illustrate that Planned Parenthood, an organization that receives millions in taxpayer dollars, does subsidize abortions.”

But Planned parenthood’s own figures show Kyl was right in the sense that Planned parenthood is primarily an abortion business and, for pregnant women, abortion is the only option they essentially present.

In February, Planned Parenthood Federation of America posted on its website what it calls its service numbers for 2009. This document, dated February 2011, shows Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide did 332,278 surgical abortions or abortions using the dangerous RU 486 abortion during in 2009.

That’s 2.5 percent more abortions than the September 2010 report the abortion business released covering 2008 and showing it doing 324,008 abortions, which was a 6.1 percent increase over the 305,310 abortions it did in 2007. The 2007 figure was itself a 5.3 percent increase over the 289,750 abortions Planned Parenthood did in 2006.

With approximately 1.2 million abortions done annually in the United States via surgical abortions or the mifepristone abortion drug, Planned Parenthood has increased its share of the abortion industry to 27.6 percent of all abortions done annually.

The new document the abortion organization posted shows Planned Parenthood provided prenatal services to merely 7,021 women and referred only 977 women for adoption services. These numbers were a 25 percent drop in prenatal care clients and a whopping 59 percent decline in adoption referrals from the 2,405 adoption referrals in 2008. The abortion business helped only 9,433 prenatal clients in 2008, down substantially from the 11,000 women it provided prenatal care to in 2007 — showing health care given to pregnant woman has fallen substantially over the years.

As a result, Kyl is correct because 97.6 percent of pregnant women going to Planned Parenthood are sold abortions while less than 2.4 percent of pregnant women received non-abortion services including adoption and prenatal care. That’s up from 96.5 percent of pregnant women going to Planned Parenthood getting abortions in 2008.

The PPFA report also shows Planned Parenthood does 340 abortions for every one adoption referral and 47 abortions for every one prenatal care client — both of which exceed the “90 percent” figure Kyl cited in his remarks. The report also shows Planned Parenthood had only 19,796 primary health care clients as opposed to the 332,278 clients who obtained abortions.

As such, Politifact’s assessment of Kyl’s remarks is false and misleading and fails to focus on the percentage of “services” Planned Parenthood provides to pregnant women — which was the intent of Kyl’s remarks.