Cecile Richards says Planned Parenthood has never been more popular. She's wrong.
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Cecile Richards says Planned Parenthood has never been more popular. She’s wrong.

This week, Cecile Richards appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” with host Mika Brzezinski to talk about the future of Planned Parenthood. Richards gave the usual talking points, trying to convince Brzezinski that Planned Parenthood is a health care provider that is vital to American women, as well as making the bizarre claim that Planned Parenthood is more popular than ever.

Unfortunately for Richards, everything she said was a lie — and we can prove it.

The interview began with Brzezinski asking Richards how she felt about Planned Parenthood’s future. “I’m nervous about Congress, but I’m very optimistic about Planned Parenthood. I mean, we’ve never been more popular,” Richards answered. “We just hit 10 million supporters. And the reason we’re popular is because 1 in 5 women in the country come to us for health care. … For so many women, we’re their only health care provider.”

It would be interesting to know where Richards got that data from, considering that multiple polls found that more Americans had a negative view of Planned Parenthood in recent years than ever before. Much of this is due to the Center for Medical Progress’s exposé of Planned Parenthood’s willing participation in a fetal body parts trafficking scandal, which appeared to show that Planned Parenthood was illegally profiting from the sale of body parts of babies they aborted. Both Quinnipiac and Gallup found that Planned Parenthood’s favorable ratings were plummeting, despite the fact that Planned Parenthood was spending more money than ever on marketing and fundraising.

Infographic courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom.

Next, Brzezinski and Richards moved on to Planned Parenthood’s supposed role as a health care provider that millions of women depend on. Strangely, Richards tried to downplay the massive amounts of federal funding that Planned Parenthood receives.

“Planned Parenthood doesn’t get a check from the federal government,” she claimed. “We work just like every other hospital or health care provider. We get reimbursed for the services we provide, which are all preventative. This is birth control, cancer screenings.”

Yet while she may not want to call too much attention to it, Planned Parenthood does, indeed, receive a check from the federal government — half a billion taxpayer dollars every year. As for their services being mostly preventative care, like cancer screenings and birth control, that’s a falsehood she continued to repeat throughout the interview.

“Women are concerned. They’re concerned about losing their access to family planning at Planned Parenthood,” she said. “We have heard repeatedly, and publicly, that community health centers have said, that Federally Qualified Health Centers have said, we cannot possibly absorb the millions of patients that Planned Parenthood sees. We are the expert in birth control.”

And this is perhaps her most blatant lie of the entire interview.

Richards frequently makes the claim that 1 in 5 American women rely on Planned Parenthood for health care. But the reality is, they serve only a small percentage of women. They perform less than 2 percent of all cancer screenings, less than 1 percent of all pap exams, and less than 2 percent of all breast exams in the nation. Meanwhile, they perform more abortions than any other abortion provider in the United States, and are responsible for over 30 percent of all abortions in the country.

Number of women served by Planned Parenthood annually, compared to total women of reproductive age in the United States.

Planned Parenthood serves about 2.5 million women each year, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion organization that used to serve as Planned Parenthood’s research arm. Yet Richards wants to pretend that it would be impossible for other clinics to absorb those patients? It’s ludicrous, considering that comprehensive care clinics across the country outnumber Planned Parenthood clinics 20 to 1. There are over 1100 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) operating at 6,000 sites around the country, and another 9,000 community health care clinics. For these clinics alone to absorb all of Planned Parenthood’s patients — if no other health care facility was able to care for them — that would only require the clinics to take on an additional 250 patients a year, approximately.

When you consider that the majority of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion — 94 percent of its pregnancy-related services for women who know they are pregnant is abortion — the number of patients these clinics would need to absorb would be even lower.

The real shame is that Brzezinski allowed Richards to make all of these incredibly false claims without really challenging her on them. Cecile Richards doesn’t want to emphasize what Planned Parenthood’s real priority is — abortion — so she has to try to convince people that Planned Parenthood is a legitimate health care provider. But it simply isn’t working anymore; people aren’t buying their lies. And it’s time for the entire country to see Planned Parenthood for what it really is: an abortion provider that does not truly care about women, or their health care.

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