Politifact “Factcheck” Falsely Claims Nancy Pelosi Did Not Try to Fund Abortions in Coronavirus Bill

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 24, 2020   |   3:33PM   |   Washington, DC

The so-called “factcheck” web site Politifact is misleading Americans about whether or nor pro-abortion Speaker Nancy Pelosi attempted to fund abortions in the first bill Congress approved to provide support for anti-coronavirus efforts.

As LifeNews.com reported on March 12, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was caught trying to add taxpayer financing of abortions to the bill to combat the Coronavirus and provide economic stimulus to the nation as it deals with the COVD-19 outbreak. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as Pelosi has a long history of promoting abortion and her first act after becoming Speaker in 2019 was pushing legislation to use tax money for abortions.

The Daily Caller first reported the news of Pelosi including abortion funding in the anti-coronavirus bill and LifeNews.com provided additional coverage. Information about Pelosi’s efforts came from senior White House officials working with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who was negotiating the bill with Pelosi and her staff.

As The Daily Caller reported:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sought to include a potential way to guarantee federal funding for abortion into the coronavirus economic stimulus plan, according to multiple senior White House officials.

Speaking to the Daily Caller, those officials alleged that while negotiating the stimulus with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Pelosi tried to lobby for “several” provisions that stalled bipartisan commitment to the effort. One was a mandate for up to $1 billion to reimburse laboratory claims, which White House officials say would set a precedent of health spending without protections outlined in the Hyde Amendment.

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“A New mandatory funding stream that does not have Hyde protections would be unprecedented,” one White House official explained. “Under the guise of protecting people, Speaker Pelosi is working to make sure taxpayer dollars are spent covering abortion—which is not only backwards, but goes against historical norms.”

Four days later, Politifact issued an erroneous and misleading “factcheck” claiming, “This is false. There’s no evidence that Pelosi was sneaking any funding toward abortion services in the bill.” the factcheck is clearly false for a number of reasons:

1. Politifact’s article ignores how abortion funding takes place. There is not a line item in the bill that adds abortion funding, but rather the lack of the inclusion of the Hyde Amendment allows the possibility of funding to pay for abortions via reimbursements. Without the Hyde language attached, abortion funding is a distinct possibility. That’s what White House officials referred to when they spoke to the Daily Caller about the problems with abortion funding.

Politifact referred to this as a “hypothetical” but it was actually the case that White House officials caught Pelosi opening the door to abortion funding by failing to add the Hyde Amendment to a massive government health care funding bill. Pelosi has been a member of Congress for decades and Speaker twice and is no stranger to the Hyde Amendment. Surely she and her staff know it must be applied or abortions will be funded. And when White House officials caught the omission and it became public, the problem was corrected less than 24 hours later.

2. An early draft of the bill Pelosi proposed allowed for abortion funding. Politfact writes, “Concerns were raised that the bill’s language could inadvertently open up federal funds for abortion services, but it’s unclear exactly how. No draft of the legislation had funding for abortion in it. ”

That claim is completely and totally false.

LifeNews.com spoke with a senior Congressional official who reviewed multiple drafts of the anti-coronavirus bill, including drafts the White House saw that contained abortion funding. Initially, some of the funding was stipulated under the National Medical Disaster System program, which does not have the Hyde Amendment protections applied to it — thus allowing abortion funding. Politifact makes the claim that funding was not prsent but provides absolutely no proof of its claim via either interviews, links to drafts or any other source. In fact, Politifact admits that it never heard back from Peloi’s office — “When we reached out to Pelosi’s staff, they declined comment.” — but issued the “false” rating anyway despite having no evidence.

3. Politifact ignores the pro-life groups and elected officials who were familiar with the process who confirmed that Pelosi originally included abortion funding in the bill. Not only did Politifact ignore these groups and people involved in the process and omitted mention of them in its “factcheck” it never bothered to contact them before publishing it.

Senate Ben Sasse slammed Pelosi after he learned the bill funded abortions saying, according to a National Review report:

“While schools are closing and hospitals are gearing up, Speaker Pelosi is waging unnecessary culture wars. Speaker Pelosi should be fighting the coronavirus pandemic, not politicizing emergency funding by fighting against the bipartisan Hyde Amendment,” Sasse told National Review in a statement. “We need to be ramping up our diagnostic testing, not waging culture wars at the behest of Planned Parenthood. Good grief.”

Pelosi also received a considerable amount of criticism on social media over the abortion funding.

4. LifeNews.com was not the only news outlet to report how Pelosi was exposed for including abortion funding in the anti-coronavirus bill. Politifact did not label the Daily Caller’s initial article false nor did or label as false reports from the Washington Examiner, RedState, Fox News, The Blaze, MRCTV, CBN News, the Christian Post, or other news outlets reporting the exact same development as LifeNews.

5. The Politifact factcheck claims “Some raised concerns that language was needed to specifically ensure abortion services weren’t eligible to receive funds. The language was amended by Democrats to limit reimbursements to COVID-19 expenses.” Politifact fails to acknowledge that the abortion funding issue was resolved AFTER publication of the LifeNews article, misleading readers into thinking there was no problem in the first place.

6. According to National Review, Pelosi eventually dropped her abortion funding attempt and produced a clean bill for the House to vote on — confirming abortion funding was present and was a negotiating obstacle in the first place.

7. Politifact erroneously claims the Hyde Amendment “was enacted in 1997,” when it was originally added by Henry Hyde to Congressional legislation in the 1970s and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1980. How can Politifact fact-check the Hyde Amendment when it gets this basic fact incorrect.

8. Politifact is run by liberal media outlets in Florida and is a project of the Poynter Institute (funded by liberal billionaire George Soros). Poynter last year was exposed for trying to take down almost 30 conservative web sites:

Poynter, the journalism institute responsible for training writers and reporters, decided to promote a left-wing smear of conservative groups online. The result was a hit job written by someone who works for the anti-conservative Southern Poverty Law Center for a journalism organization funded by prominent liberal billionaires such as George Soros and Pierre Omidyar.

Poynter is funded by Open Society Foundations, liberal billionaire George Soros’ massive foundations, as well as the Omidyar Network. The two combined for “$1.3 million in grant funding.” Funds were sent to Poynter specifically to establish the International Fact-Checking Network. The ‘UnNews’ list was started to help fact-checking organizations determine what was “unreliable.”

The hit job was so inaccurate and so misleading that Poynter had to remove it.

9. Politifact has a long history of false factchecks on abortion and LifeNews.com has repeatedly had to correct its bias and misinformation:

Politifact Falsely Claims Wendy Davis “Opposes Late-Term Abortions”

Politifact Misleads in Bashing Jon Kyl Over Planned Parenthood

Fact Check Web Site Politifact Claims Whether Abortion Kills Babies is a “Disputed” Fact

Politifact Wrong When it Comes to Planned Parenthood, Abortion

Fact Checking PolitiFact on Abortion: Mostly False

LifeNews.com challenged Politifact, which issued a strike against our pro-life Facebook page along with the misleading factcheck. Politifact eventually removed the strike against our page but refused to take down the false factcheck.