Analysis

Planned Parenthood, known to mislead the public, wants ‘real-time’ abortion fact checks during presidential debates

Planned Parenthood, debates

Just ahead of the upcoming presidential debates, Planned Parenthood is leading a coalition of groups demanding that debate moderators fact-check the candidates’ statements on abortion during the debates.

Joined by other pro-abortion organizations like UltraViolet Action, Women’s March, BlackPAC, Color of Change PAC, and Media Matters Action Network, Planned Parenthood Votes Executive Director Jenny Lawson wrote a letter claiming to express concern about the debate, “demanding that presidential debate moderators fact-check and correct misinformation on abortion and systemic racism in real-time.”

The coalition expressed disappointment that moderator Chris Wallace did not meet the abortion industry’s approval in a 2016 debate because he “used the medically inaccurate and stigmatizing rhetoric of the anti-abortion movement” when asking questions on the topic of abortion.

Planned Parenthood’s concern about misinformation rings hollow when the abortion corporation still refuses to address its own lies.

Fact-checking abortion

The letter continued by complaining — yet again — that political debates aren’t mentioning abortion enough. “We are asking you two important things: One, moderators question the candidates about access ‘to sexual and reproductive health care, including birth control and abortion,” the letter read. “Two, we demand that the questions be based on medically accurate information and that moderators be prepared to fact-check in real-time when candidates mislead or spread inaccurate, stigmatizing rhetoric.”

 

Americans do deserve to know where their candidates stand on abortion. However, Planned Parenthood has little room to complain about inaccurate, misleading rhetoric when the corporation has misled the public numerous times and has been repeatedly called out for it by major media outlets.

Planned Parenthood’s frequently repeated claim that women died from abortion by the thousands ever year before Roe v. Wade was given four Pinocchios by the Washington Post — meaning that it is completely false. The corporation has also tried to lie about how many Americans support abortion. While Planned Parenthood claims that virtually all Americans support “the right to access abortion without interference from politicians,” actual polling has found that only 12% of Americans support abortion without any restrictions whatsoever. Most Americans, in fact, want abortion to be heavily restricted.

Planned Parenthood also frequently lies about its own services. It has for years downplayed the number of abortions it commits and how important it is to their bottom line by claiming that abortion is only “3 percent” (now 4%, according to updated figures) of its services. The Washington Post also debunked this claim, giving it three Pinocchios and calling it “misleading.”

Planned Parenthood has also tried to paint itself as a legitimate health care provider, misleading the public to believe its facilities perform mammograms — they don’t — and exploiting cancer survivors despite performing less than 2% of the country’s cancer screenings, pap tests, and breast exams. Planned Parenthood even used the COVID-19 pandemic to falsely claim that it would provide health care for people experiencing COVID symptoms, yet it simply remained open to offer abortions. And while Planned Parenthood touts itself as a legitimate health care provider, it fired its previous president, Dr. Leana Wen, for trying to make health care a higher priority than abortion.

Fact-checking racism

The coalition also complained that language regarding the first debate theme — race and violence in American cities — plays into “racist stereotypes.” The letter stated, “It’s this sort of rhetoric that brings about more violence at the hands of militiamen and white supremacists claiming to be fighting for the protection of private property. The perpetuation of this language and misinformation puts our bodies in danger and dehumanizes people of color.”

But as usual, Planned Parenthood completely ignores its own racist history as well as racism occurring within the organization today, as reported by current and former employees.

 

Planned Parenthood is slowly acknowledging its racist, eugenicist roots from founder Margaret Sanger, but it is pretending the racism endemic in its own organization isn’t there. Meanwhile, hundreds of former employees have accused the organization of white supremacy and of systemic racism that they claim has harmed Black and minority women who visited Planned Parenthood facilities. In the past, Planned Parenthood’s eugenic philosophy has led to the involuntary sterilization of many women and even some men. Black women being sterilized. The organization was also caught on undercover recordings accepting racially-biased donations, and some sources complain that the corporation places most of its facilities in minority neighborhoods.

It’s hard, given Planned Parenthood’s own issues with racism, to believe that this sudden concern is anything other than posturing.

If anyone needs to be publicly fact-checked for inaccurate and misleading rhetoric in front of a global audience, it’s Planned Parenthood.

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