Snopes ‘fact-check’ on prenatal care at Planned Parenthood is inaccurate


A “mostly false” ruling from Snopes on a Live Action investigation into Planned Parenthood’s rarely available prenatal services was based on a claim that Live Action never made in its video — that Planned Parenthood claims to provide prenatal care at all of its facilities. In “Prenatal Where?,” Snopes’ “fact-checker” Dan Evon says Live Action gave “the implication that Planned Parenthood claimed to provide prenatal care services at all of their facilities.”

Evon then goes on to note that the actual point Live Action made in their investigation was true, that prenatal care does indeed make up a small portion of Planned Parenthood’s services.

Screen shot from Snopes “Prenatal Where?”

Live Action did not state that Planned Parenthood claimed to provide prenatal care everywhere; instead Live Action presented facts and quotes that demonstrate Planned Parenthood advertises itself as providing far more prenatal care than it actually does.

For those unfamiliar with Snopes, the online site (with no published criteria showing what they use as a standard method of screening or assigning a particular fact checker to a claim) is often accused of favoring organizations that promote left-wing ideologies and using biased “fact checkers” with known political leanings to make their rulings.

Under their FAQ page, Snopes claims readers can validate their work by looking “in the bibliography displayed at the bottom of that page.”

In his piece, Evon cites a New York Times article, which only quotes a Planned Parenthood spokesperson while failing to quote anyone from Live Action. Perhaps Evon is unaware that Live Action News has documented how Planned Parenthood lies to the media, including examples of where the New York Times did not appear to verify certain Planned Parenthood statements regarding a previous Live Action investigation.

Screen shot of Snopes’ FAQ page

And, there are several places where Evon is simply incorrect.

First, he falsely states that Live Action claimed Planned Parenthood offered prenatal care at all their facilities, something Rebecca Downs disputed beautifully in her Live Action News response to Snopes several weeks ago.

Evon wrote:

Live Action offered no evidence that Planned Parenthood lied about these numbers, or that Planned Parenthood claimed they provide prenatal care services at all of their health centers.

He continues:

The Live Action video is based on the implication that Planned Parenthood claimed to provide prenatal care services at all of their facilities, or that the organization was misleading the public about how often it provides these services. However, that simply isn’t the case.

Evon seems to ignore the point Live Action’s videos clearly made, which is how deceptive Planned Parenthood was when they publicly discuss their prenatal care services, which they know are offered at only a few locations. Examples of this deception were evident on Planned Parenthood’s websites when Live Action first began to contact them. What was found, in almost every case, was the word PRENATAL listed in BOLD TEXT at the top of the pregnancy services pages of the majority of the centers that were called.

Samples are below:

Had Evon called Live Action before siding with Planned Parenthood, he would have been told how Planned Parenthood systematically purged the term PRENATAL (in bold text) from those sites. But, not before Live Action captured them for proof.

For example, below is a screen capture from the Tempe Arizona Planned Parenthood center mentioned in Evon’s piece. A screen shot taken just after Live Action released the investigation can be seen on the left ,and one taken shortly after the investigative footage embarrassed Planned Parenthood into purging their websites is on the right:

To further dispel Evon’s false claim that Live Action implied all Planned Parenthood centers (650) offered prenatal care, Live Action’s investigative footage states clearly that only 97 Planned Parenthood centers were contacted (not all 650 as Evon implied).

To draw this distinction further, Live Action openly admitted in the video that its investigators found that 5 Planned Parenthoods (out of the 97 called) offered prenatal care. While Evon went to great lengths to paint Live Action as deceptive, he failed to quote the many Planned Parenthood staffers who plainly told investigators they do not offer prenatal services at Planned Parenthood. Wonder why that is?

A sample of a few of those statements can be seen in the screen capture below:

Prenatal Care Deception PP Statements

The bottom line is that Live Action only contacted 97 Planned Parenthood centers (not all 650) after the majority of those we called listed PRENATAL on the top of their websites under pregnancy services. Then, 92 of the Planned Parenthood centers told our investigators either on the phone or in person that they did not offer prenatal services because in most cases, they offered abortions instead. This prompted Live Action to reveal that Planned Parenthood’s claim that they offer prenatal care was “deceptive.”

Snopes admitted as “mostly true” the general point Live Action was making while ruling as “mostly false” claims not made by Live Action in the video footage. And, despite Evon’s “mostly false” ruling, the Snopes “fact-checker” was eventually forced to admit the obvious:

Although Planned Parenthood does provide prenatal care services, those services are not a primary part of their operation.

Snopes: Prenatal care not a primary service at Planned Parenthood

Media Research Center (MRC) also found the Snopes’ piece less than accurate and, instead, rated Snopes as “Mostly False.”

MRC rightly zeroed in on Evon’s weak point as well, writing:

Well, Snopes asserts that Planned Parenthood has never claimed to provide prenatal services as one of its primary functions. This is despite Snopes’ own admission that they couldn’t explain this quote by Cecile Richards: “Prenatal care. These are the kinds of services that folks depend on Planned Parenthood for.” They also conveniently ignored multiple Planned Parenthood employees who were caught on camera admitting the organization’s name was “deceptive.”

Additionally, Snopes said they found 13 Planned Parenthood clinics in California and six in New York that offer prenatal services on their websites, proving that those women who want to keep their babies and happen to live in the Bronx have access to this type of health care.

Of course, that doesn’t really help if you’re pregnant, poor and live in Kansas. But oh, well.

Then, despite a few minor issues, fact checkers over at the Daily Caller rated Live Action’s overall prenatal investigation as “True” writing this:

The Live Action video demonstrated two things: first, that Planned Parenthood has touted prenatal care as part of its operations to discourage the idea that the organization is primarily devoted to providing abortions; and second, that prenatal care, despite being promoted by the organization, barely registers as a service with representatives from clinic locations across the country.

To show further just how inaccurate a Snopes’ fact-check really is, Live Action News and the Daily Caller previously wrote rebuttals to a poorly researched ruling from Snopes that attacked Live Action’s investigation revealing that Planned Parenthood had abortion quotas. The Snopes piece was so full of inaccuracies that Snopes had no choice but to update it quietly (while still leaving in multiple inaccuracies).

Snopes should stick to research they actually understand and stop fact-checking claims made against Planned Parenthood. Continuing to do so only advances the notion that they approach these topics with a biased view and are far from thorough in their research.

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