Saturday, April 16

Hold These Untruths to Be Self-Evident

As has been widely reported, Arizona Senator John Kyl was caught in a bald-faced lie about the amount of funding that goes toward abortion services. Said Kyl, abortions are "90%" of what Planned Parenthood does." In fact, 3% of Planned Parenthood's budget goes to abortions. In trying to provide cover for his boss, aide Ryan Pimintra said Kyl's remarks were "not intended to be a factual statement."

He later said, "Senator Kyl misspoke when he incorrectly cited a statistic on the Senate floor last week regarding Planned Parenthood. Rather than simply state that in response to a media inquiry, I responded that his comment was not intended to be a factual statement; a comment that, in retrospect, made no sense. Senator Kyl neither saw nor approved that response."

The aide is correct that the quote made no sense, but, more importantly, the misstatement of fact really made no sense. However, untruths are often spoken for political or ideological gain.

For instance West Virginians for Life's communications director, Mary Anne Buchanan, said "Planned Parenthood are the abortion giant in this country. One-third of their revenue comes from abortions [appears to be true]. They perform about 27 percent of all the abortions in this country [appears to be true]. One out of every eight people who walks into a Planned Parenthood clinic comes out with an abortion [appears to be false]." Planned Parenthood provided 11,383,900 total services and 332,278 abortions. That means less than 3 in 100 services provided were an abortion from Planned Parenthood. Even in taking into account Planned Parenthoods' own numbers of serving over 3,000,000 clients, the statistic for abortions performed was still 1 out of 9 people that went to one of their clinics.-- less than the 1 out of 8 people that Buchanan states as "fact." In fact, 7 out of 10 people went to Planned Parenthood for either contraception or STI/STD testing or treatment. It also appears that Planned Parenthood plays an important role to provide health services to those who do not have or choose not to go to private physicians.

Also, while about 1/3 of its funding comes from government funding, zero of the federal dollars can be used to perform abortions. Planned Parenthood’s government funding comes from two sources: the Title X Family Planning Program and Medicaid. About $70 million is Title X funding. The rest — about $293 million — is Medicaid funding, which includes both federal and state money.

Regardless of how a person personally feels about abortion, to not fund Planned Parenthood at all for the many important services they do provide would be like not funding schools because they have sex education classes. Unfortunately ideology can get in the way of funding the important services that agencies like Planned Parenthood do provide. Fortunately, truth prevailed at the federal level. At some state levels, truth is in second place to ideology. See: Indiana and Iowa.