During a March 15 CNN townhall, Health & Human Services Secretary Tom Price was asked a question regarding funding for Planned Parenthood. Katie Needle, a New Yorker, asked:
Planned Parenthood provides an array of vital health services for women, and the majority of their patients are on Medicaid. I’m a Medicaid enrollee, and I’m a Planned Parenthood patient, and I would be absolutely devastated if Planned Parenthood were defunded. We’ve already seen in Texas that cutting access to Planned Parenthood means women can have less access to health care. More women’s health centers didn’t just magically appear because Planned Parenthood was defunded. That just doesn’t happen…
How do you expect the millions of low-income women, nationwide, who depend on Planned Parenthood for these vital human services, basic needs, to access these things if Planned Parenthood is defunded?
Pro-abortion outlets Raw Story, The Huffington Post, Bustle, and Mic reported that Needle “schooled” Price. But that’s just their side of the story. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards claimed that Needle represented Planned Parenthood patients everywhere, but that’s not exactly true…at all.
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) March 16, 2017
Price remained calm throughout the emotional questioning, acknowledging that “this is an important question because the fact of the matter is that the American people have for decades said that they didn’t want their tax dollars, their federal tax dollars, going towards, to be used for the provisions of abortion services.” Price focused on defunding Planned Parenthood as a way to “respond to the desires of the American people in a way that answers their concerns.”
Needle had not referred to abortion in her question, though anyone who is intimately familiar with Planned Parenthood is aware that abortion is something the organization constantly pushes. Planned Parenthood performs the most abortions of any one group in the country, but its supporters and staff tend to ignore or downplay this like Needle did. She did, however, repeatedly use the word “vital,” in describing what Planned Parenthood does. However, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards used this very word to describe the abortions her clinics commit and specialize in every day. (D&E abortions, explained by former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino in the video below, are the most common second trimester abortion in the U.S.)
Price emphasized how legislation to replace ObamaCare and defund Planned Parenthood “actually increases, increases money for women’s health services. And we do so by providing those monies through community health centers.”
He explained that “there are over 13,000… community health centers across this country, and there are in the hundreds of Planned Parenthood facilities.” Price framed the solution of redirecting Planned Parenthood’s funding to these community health centers as “trying to… respond to the American people and their concerns about having their tax dollars… used for the provision of abortion services, and make certain women not only have more ability to get to a health center, but have more resources to be able to do so.”
With there being over 13,000 community health centers to 665 Planned Parenthood locations, Planned Parenthood is outnumbered 20 to 1. Only 0.9 percent of Americans turn to Planned Parenthood for health care.
CNN’s Dana Bash felt the need to bring up other numbers, however, highlighting the selective numbers game Planned Parenthood’s allies often play. She parroted the oft-repeated pro-abortion claim that 105 counties lack providers other than Planned Parenthood “offering a full range of contraceptive methods to women.” This figure comes from the Guttmacher Institute, formerly the research arm of Planned Parenthood. That number also ignores the fact that many of these 105 counties still have providers a few miles away in a neighboring county. (Take the example of Speaker Paul Ryan’s Racine County highlighted here.)
Price spoke of increasing the number of community health centers even more, mentioning that “community health centers will spring up to provide services for individuals.” He also spoke of “other avenues” including the county health centers that already exist and can expand their services. When Bash asked new centers would pop up, she was met with laughter and applause from the audience. But Price stayed steady, restating his commitment to making sure underserved women get quality health care from centers that care for them without committing abortions.
What Bash and Planned Parenthood advocates constantly fail to note is that the solution is not to leave women with Planned Parenthood, but to provide them more choices and access to better and more comprehensive care. As Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa of New Wave Feminists said when asked why America should defund Planned Parenthood: “Just because we are poor or uninsured, it doesn’t mean we should be forced to go to an abortion provider for our healthcare.”
Planned Parenthood supporters also seem to forget that the legitimate health care services provided by Planned Parenthood have decreased, even while its taxpayer funding has increased. The oft-mentioned cancer screenings? Planned Parenthood provides only 0.97 percent of the U.S. market share of Pap smears, and a mere 1.8 percent market share of clinical breast exams — none of which are mammograms. Mammograms are not provided at any Planned Parenthood location and never have been.
As Price emphasized the importance of not sending federal tax dollars to an organization that commits abortions, Bash evoked the Hyde Amendment barring federal funds from paying for abortions. Price mentioned, however, the logical conclusion that money is fungible, and Bash admitted, “That is true.” If federal funding goes to Planned Parenthood for any of their services, money is logically freed up for abortions. This problem doesn’t exist when community health centers are funded instead.
Needle’s plea may have played on the audience’s emotions, but what she fed them were inaccuracies and deceptions. She failed to speak of the fact that Texas women just did fine without Planned Parenthood, thanks to the Healthy Texas Women Program. Reporting from The Federalist mentions Texas’ actual facts to debunk the idea that women in counties without Planned Parenthood will lose care their access to contraception. When it comes to Medicaid reimbursements for Planned Parenthood, not only is there the rampant fraud the abortion giant has committed, but the whole situation is just not as simple as we’re led to believe by Planned Parenthood’s talking points — even when they’re spouted by sympathetic people like Needle and Bash.
No matter what emotional pleas are made on behalf of the nation’s abortion giant, women can and will get better care without Planned Parenthood.