Media

Snopes uses straw man argument to defend Planned Parenthood against Live Action investigation

On Tuesday morning, Live Action released a stunning investigative video, which shows that despite Planned Parenthood’s claims that women rely on them for prenatal care, only a tiny percentage of Planned Parenthood facilities actually provide prenatal care.

Planned Parenthood now finds itself in the impossible position of saying that it offers just enough prenatal care to merit hundreds of millions of dollars from the government, but not enough to be criticized for failing to provide it when a pregnant woman seeks it at Planned Parenthood facilities. While Planned Parenthood claims to provide “reproductive health care” to millions of women, where is the “reproductive health care” for pregnant women who intend to give birth?

And as if right on cue, Snopes came to Planned Parenthood’s defense with a “Fact Check,” which is… to say the least, wholly biased and sorely lacking. In “Does Planned Provide No Prenatal Care, Only Abortions?,” Snopes’ Dan Evon ranks Live Action’s claim “that Planned Parenthood lies about providing prenatal care” as “Mostly False.” He writes:

Planned Parenthood offers a number of reproductive health services other than abortion — including prenatal care (and referrals to prenatal care providers) — at multiple health centers across the U.S. and has not claimed to offer prenatal care at all their centers….

The gist of the video’s presentation was that Planned Parenthood lies about providing reproductive and health services such as prenatal care, instead focusing solely on providing abortions[.]…

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….

But Live Action’s investigative video never says that Planned Parenthood “claimed to offer prenatal care at all their centers.” It also never says that Planned Parenthood solely provides abortions.

Rather, Live Action is aiming to debunk the very lie that Planned Parenthood tells — and which Snopes furthers — that its other services constitute enough to make the organization more than an abortion-focused business.

In fact, Live Action itself says that there were five (out of 97 facilities contacted) which offered some form of prenatal care. Live Action’s investigators called a sampling of centers, not an exhaustive list of all 650 Planned Parenthood locations (though they did contact facilities from 41 of Planned Parenthood’s affiliates — all the affiliates where undercover recording is permitted by state law). If we take the sampling and expand upon it, we could estimate that about 32 Planned Parenthood centers (or 5 percent), out of all 650 nationwide, provide some form of prenatal care.

What constitutes prenatal care? That information is not given to us. However, Live Action News previously reported that a Planned Parenthood employee claimed the organization’s idea of ‘prenatal care’ is telling women to take prenatal vitamins. The employee also said the counseling offered by Planned Parenthood was rushed and promoted the idea of abortion, which is commonly reported.

 

Nearly all Planned Parenthood locations mention that they provide pregnancy tests and ‘pregnancy services.’ But what does ‘pregnancy services’ actually mean? It appears from the investigation, as confirmed by several Planned Parenthood employees who were recorded, that the extent of many Planned Parenthood locations’ ‘pregnancy services’ is a pregnancy test and… abortion. Many of the sites have no OBGYNs, no pregnancy care — but they offer pregnancy testing, despite offering little to no help for women who want to give birth. According to women who have first-hand experience with Planned Parenthood, the pregnancy test provides an opportunity for the abortion giant to do what they do best: sell abortions.

In his ‘fact check,’ Evon mentions that some Planned Parenthood locations advertise prenatal care… but as the Live Action investigation clearly shows, what Planned Parenthood advertises isn’t always reality. The Virginia Beach location, for example, claims in their on-hold messaging that they offer prenatal care — but when asked, a Planned Parenthood employee at that location says they don’t actually offer prenatal care there, or at the Hamptons or Richmond locations. This didn’t stop Evon, however, from attempting to bolster Planned Parenthood’s own claims, seemingly without doing any fact checking of his own, asserting that the five out of 97 claim is “misleading at best.”

Live Action News’ Carole Novielli also pointed out that while multiple Arizona Planned Parenthood facilities list “prenatal” as a service on Planned Parenthood’s website, Arizona Planned Parenthood’s CEO Bryan Howard claims they have never provided prenatal care in the entire state and never said they did. Hmm.

In his ‘fact check,’ Evon himself admits (emphasis added):

Although Planned Parenthood does provide prenatal care services, those services are not a primary part of their operation. According to organization’s annual report for 2014-2015, they only provided 17,419 instances of prenatal care services (compared to 3,533,522 STD tests and 323,999 abortions.)

“Not a primary part of their operation.” Isn’t that exactly what the Live Action video emphasized? That even though Planned Parenthood presents prenatal care as if it is a significant part of what they do, it, in fact, isn’t? So how can Evon possibly call Live Action’s video “Mostly False”?

If prenatal care services count for so little, why, then, do Planned Parenthood’s top employees, including CEO and president Cecile Richards, mention it? And why do even Planned Parenthood’s own employees (some featured in the video) believe no Planned Parenthood facilities provide prenatal care? And why do some employees in the undercover investigation claim Planned Parenthood’s own name is deceptive?

Evon attempts to portray Live Action as deceitful, but the truth is, Live Action did not force or goad Planned Parenthood to openly tout its supposed provision of prenatal care. Why would Planned Parenthood promote a service provided by almost none of its centers, if not to deceive Americans about their most lucrative service (abortion), for fear of losing taxpayer funding?

While Planned Parenthood boasts of its 2.5 million clients (a number which has been on the decline), it only provides prenatal care to a minuscule percentage of these clients. It’s Planned Parenthood who is being deceptive in touting prenatal care to the public as one of their services. Planned Parenthood uses prenatal and health care language to win public support, but their health care services are extremely limited and are practically nonexistent for pregnant women seeking prenatal care.

How can Snopes be trusted as a fair and objective fact-checker if it effectively sets up this straw man argument so deceptively, from the very beginning of Evon’s account? Unfortunately, it’s this dishonesty and bias, from a fact-checker no less, that helps Planned Parenthood, and causes those of us who know the truth about the abortion giant to have great distrust for the media.

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