PEOPLE falsely paints Planned Parenthood CEO as some sort of Renaissance woman

abortion, abortion pill, Ireland, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood

The U.S. Senate is expected to soon consider a healthcare bill which would defund Planned Parenthood for one year. The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed the legislation, but the media has gone to bat for Planned Parenthood, helping the organization to mislead the public on its services.

In a recent example — which is really over the top — People gushes over Planned Parenthood president and CEO Cecile Richards’… er… baking skills, among other things. Yes, you read that correctly.

On July 12, an article by Liz McNeil was published, titled “Planned Parenthood’s Wonder Woman: Cecile Richards Is Fighting to Save Health Care for Millions–and Makes a Mean Cherry Pie.”

The article is a puff piece to the extreme. Early on, McNeil describes Richards as “a marathon-running, passionately committed dynamo whose activism started in middle school and who’s now marshaling thousands in the battle with President Trump’s GOP over women’s health and the availability of abortion services.”

As extreme as the article is in puffing up Richards, the real travesty of McNeil’s article is that it misleads the American public and is in no way actual journalism. Just as many media outlets have previously done, the glowing feature hypes Planned Parenthood’s “nonabortion basic health services” — you know, the same services which clients can acquire at the thousands of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) nationwide, which vastly outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities. This fact goes unmentioned, with McNeil instead pretending that Planned Parenthood’s 600 centers are an impressive number.

In choosing to highlight Planned Parenthood’s cancer screenings, McNeil doesn’t focus on the real story here. The real news is that Planned Parenthood’s cancer screenings have been on a long-term decline. The abortion giant holds only a 1.8 percent market share of the nation’s breast cancer screenings (not mammograms, as they do none of those) and a 0.97 percent market share of Pap smears (cervical cancer screenings).

But McNeil is accurate is in ways she may not intend to be. She provides a glimpse of Richards’ lavish lifestyle; the Planned Parenthood CEO currently makes a salary of nearly $1 million. She says Richards “rallies millions around a healthcare vote as smoothly as she recently organized a party for 100 — complete with Velveeta queso dip and margaritas — while vacationing in Maine.” Why is Richards being portrayed as some sort of domestic goddess/party hostess extraordinaire? And does McNeil realize how stark a contrast Richards’ lifestyle is from that of the average American family? The annual amount of taxpayer funding (about $553 million) to Planned Parenthood continues to grow, along with the number of abortions they commit — and along with Richards’ and other executives’ exorbitant salaries. Yet, at the same time, Planned Parenthood bills itself as a non-profit organization and tells the public that women will die if Planned Parenthood is defunded.

The People feature’s conclusion keeps in line with undermining those who don’t agree with Richards:

“Until we have more people in office who can get pregnant, we will continue to have these fights,” [Richards] says. “It is very frustrating to talk to members of Congress who will never need maternity benefits, never have to deal with an unintended pregnancy or think about whether they can afford birth control. That’s a problem.”

But Richards seems to have conveniently left out the fact that many women already hold office today, and many are pro-life — perhaps the most misleading omission of all. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) is one of those pro-life women. Black has sponsored numerous pro-life bills, and has herself been in a difficult situation, bravely choosing life after facing an unexpected pregnancy. Black once revealed that she, herself, “know[s] what it is like to be single, pregnant, and uncertain of what the future holds.”

This is the kind of woman People should be portraying in glowing terms. But for that to happen, we could be waiting a very long time.

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