As news of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plans to defund Planned Parenthood makes the rounds, along with news of a Congressional report about the organization’s role in profiting off of aborted baby parts, the January 5 installment of “The O’Reilly Factor” featured a “Factor Followup” segment about defunding the abortion giant (summed up in an episode recap).
Host Bill O’Reilly spoke with Leslie Marshall, who has debated Live Action president and founder Lila Rose on Fox News Channel programs before. Marshall presented an argument in favor of Planned Parenthood retaining funding, also claiming that “there’s a huge misconception from many on the right. I think that they have the idea that if you defund Planned Parenthood the number of abortions is going to be reduced or abortion is going to be gone altogether.” O’Reilly cut in to note that he doesn’t believe that to be the case.
He also stayed on the topic of abortion itself, noting very clearly that Planned Parenthood doesn’t just do a handful of abortions:
… People who don’t believe in abortion, who believe it is the taking of a human life, are then forced to participate in abortion, because that money goes to Planned Parenthood, which performs, or makes possible, about 350,000 each year. So it’s more of a ‘look, abortion is legal in the USA, but I don’t want to pay for it, and I shouldn’t be forced to pay for it.’ That’s the beef.
Federal funds can’t technically be used for abortion except in extenuating circumstances, but money is fungible, and this is problematic. Americans do not want their hard earned dollars paying for abortion, let alone going to an organization that is so scandal-ridden.
O’Reilly reminded Marshall and viewers that abortion is a primary focus for Planned Parenthood, especially compared to its other services: 20 abortions for every prenatal care visit and 200 abortions for every adoption referral.
Marshall seemed to ignore that statistic ,however, as later on in the segment, she repeated common claims about Planned Parenthood:
If you’re taking away healthcare [referring to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act] and then you’re taking away this clinic, where do women go for those other services? Where do they go for the mammogram screenings, where do they go for ovarian, cervical cancer screenings, for prenatal care, for education?
Marshall’s points are oft-repeated by Planned Parenthood supporters but they are wrong.
Planned Parenthood does not perform mammograms, which President and CEO Cecile Richards has admitted. The public has been led to believe that they do perform them, when in reality they merely perform physical breast exams and refer patients elsewhere for mammograms.
As for Planned Parenthood’s cancer screenings, their Pap smear tests make up only a 0.97 percent market share. The previously mentioned statistics on prenatal care are not the only reason why Planned Parenthood is not a trusted source for these services, as women have come forth to share that Planned Parenthood is all too often not willing to provide prenatal care. While Planned Parenthood does provide sex education, whether or not their kind of “education” is healthy for teens is the real question.
Defunding Planned Parenthood is about taking money from a scandal ridden organization which does not deserve to be a monopolizer of funds for legitimate health services, especially when those health services have decreased over the years, and there are Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) outnumbering Planned Parenthood locations 20 to 1 which provide more comprehensive care and are more deserving of federal funds.
O’Reilly responded that private donations can fund Planned Parenthood (which Planned Parenthood has itself bragged about), pointing out that “if all the true believers… who believe in abortion want Planned Parenthood around, certainly those donations will make it possible.” Marshall countered by claiming that she believes in “choice,” and “you have the choice to do what you want with your own body” (even if we were to concede this position, does it then follow that taxpayers must pay for the choices women make with their own bodies?).
While Marshall correctly asserted that Planned Parenthood is not the only entity to perform abortions, she failed to acknowledge that Planned Parenthood does perform the most abortions in the nation, and is also a world leader in abortions.
O’Reilly and Marshall both expressed doubt as to whether President-Elect Donald Trump would sign legislation defunding Planned Parenthood. Trump, however, has pledged to sign such legislation, listing it in a letter to pro-life leaders as one of the issues he is “committed to.”