Lie of the Year: Republicans Engaged in a War on Women

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 7, 2012   |   6:31PM   |   Washington, DC

With the end of 2012 in sight, political fact check web sites are coming out with their lists of the “lies of the year” in politics, but one pro-life writer say they are overlooking what is clearly the biggest whopper.

President Barack Obama, top Democrats and their allies in the pr-abortion movement told what most pro-lifers consider to be the biggest lie of the year — claiming Mitt Romney and Republicans were engaging in a war on women. Although opposing abortion and taxpayer funding of the nation’s biggest abortion business, liberals, abortion advocates and the mainstream media made it appear Romney and Republicans oppose contraception or women’s health care.

Pro-life writer Dustin Siggins says his nomination would be the War on Women lie.

This week, PolitiFact came out with its list of finalistsfor the 2012 ‘Lie of the Year.’ The “lies” cover everything from abortion to health care to taxes to the auto bailout, and hit on an equal number of claims from both sides of the aisle.

Every year PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year” causes controversy. In 2009 and 2010, it rated “death panels” and “government takeover of health care” as the respective Lies, rankling conservatives, and in 2011 it ranked the Mediscare tactics of the Left as the worst Lie.

Each of these “Lie of the Year” awards can be argued and debated endlessly. While “death panels” may not technically exist, it is clear that the Independent Payment Advisory Board does have the power and incentive to limit care to seniors. Is that an effective death panel? Only time will tell.

This year, however, PolitiFact missed what is to me the clear winner of the ‘Lie of the Year’ award: the claim that Republicans are waging a ‘War on Women.’

Siggins talked with PolitiFact Editor Bill Adairto find out why the false attacks about a War on Women were not included.

“Lie of the Year comes from statements PolitiFact has rated ‘False’ or ‘Pants on Fire.’ We rate the ‘Lie of the Year’ as the boldest statement or the statement with the biggest reach. Obviously, it’s subjective,” he said. “We didn’t do a fact-check on a statement that there was a War on Women. It was an opinion, and we don’t fact-check opinions. People used it as a sum-up of a variety of aspects of the 2012 campaigns, but it was an overall opinion, not a statement of policy fact.”

Siggins says PolitiFact is ignoring the overall aspect of the War on Women as the lie of the year.

Unfortunately, I think Adair and his staff missed the boat here. The ‘War on Women’ claim was indeed related to many policy claims. Politicus USA even provided a whole list of policy aspects of the ‘War on Women. Furthermore, the ‘War on Women’ was launched on January 20, 2012 by none other than President Obama when his Administration put out the HHS contraception/abortifacient/sterilization mandate, which is a policy. Prominent liberal pundits like Gail Collins then claimed religious opponents of the mandate were trying to force “their particular dogma on the larger public,” when in fact all the religious organizations wanted was the freedom to not engage in government-coerced action.

The false ‘War on Women’ claim that may have done the most damage to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 was Planned Parenthood’s assertion that Romney wanted to “get rid of” Planned Parenthood, when he was actually talking about federal funding for the organization.

The claim that Republicans are engaged in a ‘War on Women’ was prominently displayed at the Democratic National Convention by Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, among others. And President Obama’s campaign made national news when it released a vote with your “lady parts” graphic (that was quickly deleted).

Of course, in the end, women supported Obama over Romney by a substantial margin overall, especially in key states. How can Politifact argue that the ‘War on Women’ lies Democrats told about Romney and fellow Republicans didn’t have a broad enough reaching effects to be considered for ‘Lie of the Year’?



Besides impacting the election and public opinion, the “War on Women” could result in the shut down the Catholic Church’s entire affiliated network in America. This includes one-sixth of hospital beds in America, schools and adoption centers across the country.

Given how widespread this lie was, the implications for the 2012 elections, and the future implications on health insurance and private education in America, it definitely qualifies as at least a candidate for ‘Lie of the Year,’ if nothing else.

David O’Steen of the National Right to Life Committee agrees that the War on Women and the focus on the stances of candidates on rape, were detrimental.

Early on, the Obama campaign and their allies at Planned Parenthood, EMILY’s List, and NARAL sought to define the abortion issue as a “war on women” and link it to contraception and family planning.  This effort was assisted by the media furor that surrounded the campaign to defund Planned Parenthood in Congress.

Whether or not the “war on women” theme alone would have produced the results desired by Obama and Planned Parenthood became a moot question when Todd Aiken, the Missouri Republican Senate candidate, made his comments on rape and abortion.  From that point on for the media the abortion issue was ONLY about rape.

Pro-life candidates were microscopically examined on the question of rape and abortion.  Mitt Romney’s pro-life position which contained an exception for rape was at times misrepresented and Paul Ryan’s position contained no rape exception.

The media coverage of the Republican convention was greatly dominated by the media’s response to Todd Aiken’s comments and the Republican Party platform was sometimes misrepresented as calling for a ban on all abortions with no exception for rape.  In fact the platform is silent on the question of exceptions and states general principles in favor of life, while calling for the reversal of Roe.  Such reversal would allow the state and federal legislative branches to legislate on abortion within their respective jurisdictions.