Madeleine Ellis, Digital States Campaign Manager for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, contributed to this blog.
You’d think that our elected officials would base legislation on things like facts, right? Wrong.
When it comes to legislating reproductive health, anti-abortion politicians will use proven lies to push their extreme agenda.
Case in point: Politicians in nearly half the states across the country are using a discredited and fake video campaign as an excuse to threaten more than half a million patients’ care at Planned Parenthood.
We’re calling them out on their flat-out lies and the real harm that could be done to the women, men and young people who rely on Planned Parenthood.
A Long String of Lies
Since a slew of faked videos hit in July 2015, politicians in a whopping 24 states have tried to “defund” Planned Parenthood --- banning patients from getting essential health care services such as cancer screenings and birth control at Planned Parenthood health centers.
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They’ve tried to cut funding in every way possible: by illegally preventing Planned Parenthood health centers from serving patients enrolled in Medicaid, or serving patients through essential programs such as Title X, and they’ve also gone after our participation in specific initiatives like the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program; the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA); the Minority AIDS Initiative; and STI prevention programs.
As a result, they’ve targeted or eliminated programs that provide STD testing and treatment, a Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program, and domestic violence prevention.
But wait, there’s more: Officials in 12 states have concluded investigations into claims that Planned Parenthood profited from fetal tissue donation and each one has cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing. Another eight states have declined to investigate based on a lack of evidence. This underscores what this is really all about--politics. And then — when politically motivated investigations turned up nothing — politicians in states like Ohio, Florida and Missouri pressed on anyway with their defunding attempts.
If that weren’t despicable enough, consider this: Legislators in states across the country are still doing it. Anti-abortion politicians continue to use the faked videos as a basis for their anti-Planned Parenthood legislation.
And that’s in spite of the fact that Planned Parenthood did nothing wrong, and the criminals behind the videos — at the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) — spent three years creating a fake company and fake identities, breaking the law, manipulating the public, and spreading malicious lies... and despite the fact that CMP’s founder, David Daleiden, has been indicted on a felony.
Liar Legislator’s 5 Most Lyingist Lies
Politicians out to block patients from care at Planned Parenthood keep stooping to new lows. Outright lies are not beneath them, and here are five that truly stand out to us for their infuriating wrongness.
OHIO: GOV. JOHN KASICH
Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill into law that blocks access to care at Planned Parenthood for for STI prevention, as well as the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, (we’re not done yet) VAWA, the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative, and (did you think we were done?) the Personal Responsibility Education Program, and 2,800 new or expectant mothers who had relied on Planned Parenthood for health care and health education through its “Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies” program. This in a state that has one of the highest infant mortality rates for African Americans in the nation.
“I don’t think we can look the other way in terms of what Planned Parenthood has done,” he told a man who asked about the family health program.
“What have they done?” the man replied.
“Selling body parts,” Kasich said.
OHIO: MIKE DEWINE
The Attorney General of Ohio who used his investigation into the CMP videos to threaten to sue Planned Parenthood, claiming it breaks the law when it comes to fetal tissue disposal. Also, completely false.
According to a pro-life news site, “LifeNews”:
“Disposing of aborted fetuses from an abortion by sending them to a landfill is callous and completely inhumane. It is important the public be aware that these practices are taking place at these Ohio facilities.”
The implication? That Planned Parenthood broke the law. Eventually, he backed down from his claims after a U.S. District Court granted Planned Parenthood's request for a temporary restraining order, and blocked the AG's request for further action.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: SEN. KELLY AYOTTE
Kelly Ayotte has voted repeatedly to defund Planned Parenthood, and has spent years calling for an end to safe, legal abortion and for Roe v. Wade to be overturned.
Every chance she’s gotten, she’s voted to cut women off from essential health care like birth control and breast and cervical cancer screenings. What does she use as her excuse? You guessed it: More lies.
"...what was revealed in these disturbing videos that show the practice of the harvesting of organs and body parts of unborn babies. So I support the efforts of the Judiciary Committee to investigate these disturbing videos...that is why last month I joined a bipartisan majority of Senators in voting to redirect Federal funding from Planned Parenthood," Ayotte lied, er, said.
NEVADA: REP. JOE HECK
Here they go again. This time, it’s Nevada’s Rep. Joe Heck attacking access to care at Planned Parenthood by pointing to the discredited video campaign.
"In the wake of what's come out, the federal dollars that go to Planned Parenthood should go to other women's health clinics." [POLITICO, 8/28/15]
The idea that other providers could just absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients has been resoundingly dismissed by experts -- in fact the American Public Health Association called the idea ludicrous. Across the nation, a majority of Medicaid programs are experiencing provider shortages. More than half of Planned Parenthood's health centers are in rural or medically underserved areas, meaning that often without Planned Parenthood, patients would have nowhere else to turn for reproductive health care. For many young women of reproductive age, in particular, Planned Parenthood is their only source of care.
Here's what we think: In the wake of what's come out of every investigation and every credible news source, all backwards politicians should stop blocking patients who rely on public programs from care at Planned Parenthood. How about that?
IOWA: SEN. JONI ERNST
It’s no secret that Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst voted to defund Planned Parenthood in the state. To get a sense of what Ernst thinks of the women that would be hurt by such legislation, just remember what she did during the last election: She walked away mid-question when asked what Iowa women would do if Planned Parenthood got defunded. So it’s no surprise that she, too, is stooping to relying on lies to continue her attacks.
“Over the last several weeks Iowans have watched disturbing videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s role in harvesting the organs of unborn babies...With that in mind, I introduced legislation to defund Planned Parenthood," she said.
Get Out the Truth
These lies can’t stand up to the facts. So we’re asking you to stand with Planned Parenthood.
Here’s how you can take action and spread the truth.