Politifact Falsely Claims Defunding Planned Parenthood Won’t “Save Lives” From Abortion

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 15, 2021   |   1:52PM   |   Washington, DC

Emphasizing the “politics” and not the “fact,” a new PolitiFact article claims it is “false” to say defunding Planned Parenthood of taxpayer dollars will save lives.

PolitiFact examined a statement by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott involving the state’s efforts to cut off tax dollars to the abortion chain through Medicaid.

On Jan. 24, Abbott wrote a comment on Twitter about how “innocent lives will be saved” when Texas defunds Planned Parenthood.

Texas nearly achieved this goal after a federal appeals court sided with it late last year. However, Planned Parenthood filed an emergency injunction request, and a judge agreed to block the state from defunding it earlier this month.

PolitiFact rated Abbott’s statement as false, arguing that Medicaid does not fund abortions and Abbott did not provide any evidence to support his claims.

“Since 1976, Medicaid dollars have never been used to fund abortion or abortion-related services thanks to the Hyde Amendment. Instead, the federal funding the state is attempting to block from Planned Parenthood provides family planning services and healthcare for 8,800 Medicaid patients,” the fact checker argued.

It acknowledged Texas pro-life leaders’ argument that “Planned Parenthood’s referral practices lead women to abortion facilities,” but noted that they did not “provide proof of that claim.”

PolitiFact also quoted several university professors to support its “false” rating but it did not fact check one of these “expert’s” claims.

Associate professor Abigail Aiken of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas told the fact checker: “It’s problematic to say that innocent lives will be saved. Given that if people can’t get access to mammograms and cervical cancer screenings, perhaps lives will be lost.”

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But Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms – a claim that repeatedly has been exposed as false.

Even so, PolitiFact repeated the false claim at another point in the article, writing, “Planned Parenthood uses those funds for non-abortion services for Texas’ poorest women — services such as mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, contraception and STI tests.”

Planned Parenthood does do abortions: 14,220 last year in Texas and more than 345,000 across the U.S. What’s more, one of its own former CEOs admitted that abortions are its “core mission,” and its current CEO is lobbying lawmakers to force taxpayers to directly fund abortions through Medicaid by ending the Hyde Amendment.

PolitiFact relied on the Hyde Amendment to support its rating. The long-standing federal policy prohibits taxpayer funding for most abortions through Medicaid. However, the amendment does allow funding for abortions in cases of rape, incest or risks to the mother’s life – something the fact checker did not mention.

The Hyde Amendment does not prevent Medicaid from subsidizing Planned Parenthood’s vast abortion practices either and tax dollars are easily fungible.

Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas, said, “As clinic director, I saw how money received by Planned Parenthood affiliate clinics all went into one pot at the end of the day – it isn’t divvied up and directed to specific services.”

Planned Parenthood’s own annual reports also show a curious thing – a steady increase in tax dollars (which it primarily receives through Medicaid) and abortions coupled with a decrease in patient numbers and actual health services, such as cancer screenings, breast exams, pap smears and even contraception.

Life-destroying abortions are the primary focus at Planned Parenthood. It even demonstrated its willingness to prioritize the killing of unborn babies above actual health care for women in need when it stopped participating in the Title X family planning program under President Donald Trump.

While protecting unborn babies from abortions is the primary goal of defunding Planned Parenthood, pro-lifers believe it also would protect women’s lives.

key factor in Texas’s argument for defunding Planned Parenthood is its treatment of women. Texas kicked the abortion chain out of Medicaid after undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress showed Planned Parenthood leaders allegedly violating federal laws by changing abortion procedures to procure “intact fetal cadavers” and selling the body parts of aborted babies. Changing an abortion procedure for the purpose of harvesting organs from an aborted baby is unethical and dangerous because it puts women’s lives at a lower priority.

Defunding Planned Parenthood will save lives – women’s and children’s – because tax dollars no longer will be subsidizing the largest abortion chain in the U.S.