On Tuesday, in a segment which could easily have been mistaken for parody, MSNBC’s Ali Veshi relayed Planned Parenthood’s long-discredited and tortured statistic that abortions constitute only three percent of its “services.”
As he did this, Veshi absurdly disclaimed association with this and other fundamentally dishonest claims by the group, saying “I don’t have enough knowledge” to evaluate them, and that he’s “not advocating for Planned Parenthood.”
After his Sergeant Schultz “I know nothing” routine, Veshi naturally brought on Planned Parenthood spokesperson Alencia Johnson, the group’s director of constituency communications, without giving space to anyone with a pro-life viewpoint, or even one of the legion of fact-checkers who have criticized the group’s claims.
The video snip which follows (HT Washington Free Beacon) contains Veshi’s willfully ignorant pre-interview discussion of misleading information provided by the group which commits over 30 percent of all abortions in the U.S., accompanied by a great deal of talking down to viewers who were apparently expressing their displeasure with PP on Twitter:
Transcript (bolds are mine):
ALI VESHI, MSNBC: Let’s take a look at the medical service provider which assists millions of Americans every year. Boy I can feel the, the Twitter exploding before I even say the name of it; Planned Parenthood.
Go ahead, send your tweets in @ppfa, Planned Parenthood for America.
Boy, nobody’s neutral on Planned Parenthood. We hear a lot of talk about funding for Planned Parenthood. What on Earth does Planned Parenthood actually do? OK. Yes, it provides abortions. Although it’s difficult to determine exactly what percentage of its services are abortion-related, the organization says it’s three percent. Some critics have taken issue with the methodology that led them to that number and say that it is possibly higher.
We couldn’t get — I don’t have enough knowledge of it to figure out what percentage of what Planned Parenthood does is abortions. But while we’re on the topic, no federal dollars can be used to pay for abortions at Planned Parenthood. There are very few in limited exceptions courtesy of the Hyde Amendment, which was passed in 1976.
But is there anything else that Planned Parenthood does?
Because some people just say it’s an abortion factory. In fact I can feel it right here on my phone, some of you are tweeting that to me right now. Just stop for a minute.
Put your Twitter down. Planned Parenthood provides health services to 2.4 million women and — are you sitting down for this? – Men, every year. One in five American women has visited a Planned Parenthood center at least once in her life.
For many low-income women, Planned Parenthood may be their only option to access reproductive care. There are 105 counties in the United States where Planned Parenthood is the only full-service birth control clinic. And finally, the organization is a critical tool for helping saving lives. It provides 295,000 pap tests and 320,000 breast exams every year along with 4.2 million STD tests and treatments.
Not advocating for Planned Parenthood, I’m just trying to tell you that it’s a complex organization.”
The three percent statistic Veshi would only concede might be “possibly higher” is so obviously misleading that even the left-leaners at the Washington Post’s “fact-checking” operation gave it “Three Pinocchios” (“Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions”) nearly two years ago. Unfortunately, but also predictably, that same “fact check” gave the same evaluation to the claim by pro-life group Susan B. Anthony’s List (SBAL) that abortion is 94 percent of Planned Parenthood’s “pregnancy services.”
A September 2016 video from the pro-life group Live Action based on 2015 data demonstrates that the true percentage, which the Post admitted could not be obtained because PP does not provide a “transparent breakdown of its clients, referrals and sources of revenues,” is far closer to SBAL’s 94 percent than it is to PP’s absurd three percent:
- Rachel Larimore, the Senior Editor at very left-leaning Slate.com, has described PP’s three percent claim as “The Most Meaningless Abortion Statistic Ever.” (The linked article also admits that “If you measure by how much revenue it brings in, abortion is a huge part of what Planned Parenthood does.”)
- The group does less than one percent of all PAP tests done in the U.S., less than two percent of all breast exams, but (as previously noted) over 30 percent of all abortions.
- PP commits 160 abortions for every adoption referral it makes.
- PP’s bogus three percent stat is obtained by dividing over 300,000 abortions by 9.4 million “services.” As an example, this gives equal weight to a costly abortion and a $10 market-value pregnancy test.
Unfortunately, despite the Hyde Amendment, Planned Parenthood gets so much money from government sources — over 40 percent of its total receipts in fiscal 2013-2014 — that its virtually inconceivable that none of it ends up involved in subsidizing abortions.
Other recent Live Action videos have demonstrated that:
- The vast majority of PP clinics only use ultrasound equipment only to “to determine a baby’s age and position in the womb” to prepare for an abortion. Specifically, “Investigators asked 68 Planned Parenthood facilities for ultrasounds to check the health of their babies, but only three were able to provide them. The remainder either did not do ultrasounds or used ultrasounds for abortions only.”
- Despite PP’s ritually repeated claim that it provides “prenatal care,” only five facilities out of 97 Live Action contacted said that they actually provide prenatal care.
- “Contrary to the claims of Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards and other supporters of the nation’s largest abortion chain, the organization does not provide mammograms for women.”
Unfortunately for Veshi, MSNBC, and others who try to pretend that the group is not primarily about providing abortions, Planned Parenthood is primarily about providing abortions. It’s irresponsible, as well as an insult to viewers’ intelligence, to claim otherwise — or, in Veshi’s case, to go on the air claiming ignorance while allowing the group an open mic to continue its nonstop campaign of deception.