How to Fact Check Politicians on Planned Parenthood
By Miriam Berg | April 19, 2017, 2:15 p.m.
Congress is on recess, which means dozens of representatives and senators have returned to their home districts — and many of them are hosting town halls. Take advantage of events open to constituents and stand up for Planned Parenthood! Speaking out can change the government’s direction.
When They Go Low, We Go High — With Facts
If your lawmakers are women’s health champions, attending their events and thanking them for their hard work will help boost their energy when they return to Washington.
However, if your lawmakers are working to “defund” Planned Parenthood and block access to care at its health centers, they’ll likely push the following myths at events they host near you. Here’s how to fact check your anti-abortion politicians on the spot.
If they say: Planned Parenthood should be “defunded.”
You say: That’s a misnomer.
Main message: The government does not “fund” Planned Parenthood, and there’s no line-item in the budget for Planned Parenthood. “Defunding” really means blocking patients who use public programs, like Medicaid, from getting care at Planned Parenthood.
Top stat: Most federal dollars that Planned Parenthood gets are Medicaid reimbursements for preventive services. Planned Parenthood gets reimbursed just like any other hospital or doctor’s office.
Supporting statement: “Defunding” Planned Parenthood and shutting down all its health centers would undercut the nation’s health care safety net, take away care from people who already have a harder time accessing it, and ultimately cause a national health care disaster.
We Fact Checked Senator Dean Heller About "Defunding" Planned Parenthood: Nearly 18,000 Nevadans rely on care from Planned Parenthood. Yet Senator Dean Heller says he wants to "defund" Planned Parenthood. But how much does he actually know about the services they provide in the first place.
If they say: Taxpayer dollars go to abortion
You say: That’s not how it works.
Main message: An unfair law already blocks federal funds for abortion — it’s called the Hyde Amendment, and it punishes women on Medicaid and other federal insurance by keeping abortion coverage out-of-reach.
Top stat: About 60% of Planned Parenthood patients rely on public programs like Medicaid to access preventive care, including lifesaving Pap smears, breast cancer screenings, birth control, STD tests, and well-woman exams.
Supporting statement: Misleading the public about how funding works is just part of an extreme agenda to shut down Planned Parenthood and make it impossible to access safe, legal abortion.
New Jersey Rep. Leonard Lance (R) is called out after saying there are 6 other health centers in his district that can take on Planned Parenthood patients. Fact: 2 of the 6 alternative health centers Lance references are dentist offices, and NONE served family planning patients in 2010
If they say: Other providers can take on Planned Parenthood’s patients
You say: Nope.
Main message: Without Planned Parenthood, many patients would have nowhere else to go for care.
Top stat: More than half of Planned Parenthood's health centers are in rural and underserved communities, and experts have demonstrated — over and over again — that community health centers (also called federally qualified health centers) don’t have the capacity to accept its 2.5 million patients.
Supporting statement: The executive director of the American Public Health Association called the idea that community health centers could absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients “ludicrous” — and lawmakers should, too.
If they say: People don’t like Planned Parenthood
You say: It’s actually very popular.
Main message: 20 nationwide and 12 state polls show that the American public overwhelmingly supports Planned Parenthood and strongly opposes blocking patients from care at its health centers.
Top stat: 75% of Americans support Planned Parenthood and oppose blocking Medicaid patients from its health centers, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Supporting statement: If the Women’s Marches and other town halls across the country prove anything, it’s that people care about women’s rights — and we’re not backing down.
Setting Sen. Flake straight on the popularity of Planned Parenthood at a town hall.
If they say: Nobody will suffer if Planned Parenthood shut down
You say: People already struggling will be hurt.
Main message: "Defunding" would have devastating consequences for millions of people who already face barriers to care, particularly people of color, people in rural communities, and people with low incomes.
Top stat: Nearly half of Planned Parenthood patients are people of color, and many of Planned Parenthood’s patients live in rural areas.
Supporting statement: Without Planned Parenthood, there aren’t enough health care providers to deliver the millions of medical services it provides each year.
A nurse stands up to Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake
Tell Your Story
By speaking out, you’ll show your lawmakers that Planned Parenthood matters to you, and that you’ll hold them accountable. But making your voice heard isn’t just about the facts. If Planned Parenthood has helped you or someone you care about, share your personal story to have an even greater impact.
Keep Up the Pressure
Read our blog to learn more about why Congressional recess is so important, and see other ways you can stand up for Planned Parenthood in person, on the phone, and online.
Tags: Abortion, Planned Parenthood, Congress, Fact Check, Recess