This White House has never been expert at researching claims in presidential speeches, but one would think that Barack Obama would know something about a key political ally before making claims about it. Earlier this month in a forum on “women and the economy,” Obama may have cost women a little extra cash – or at least some lost time — by referring them to Planned Parenthood for mammograms:
When people say we should get rid of Planned Parenthood, they’re not just talking about restricting a woman’s ability to make her own health decision; they’re talking about denying, as a practical matter, the preventive care, like mammograms, that millions of women rely on.
First, no one is saying that “we should get rid of Planned Parenthood,” as Obama claims. People oppose giving federal dollars to Planned Parenthood because their core business is abortions. It’s their profit-driving activity, not handing out contraception, and certainly not performing mammograms, to which I’ll return in a moment. Planned Parenthood should be able to operate on their own, just like any other business, and taxpayers shouldn’t have to subsidize it to keep it alive. Obama’s claim is a strawman argument that amounts to a statement that a lack of federal funding equates to criminalization, which is ludicrous as well as demagogic.
Why aren’t mammograms a profit center for PP? They don’t provide mammograms, that’s why. They refer all requests to other caregivers, which means that if Planned Parenthood disappeared tomorrow, it wouldn’t eliminate a single mammogram in this country. That’s one reason why the breast-cancer awareness organization Susan G. Komen Foundation cut off Planned Parenthood, and they admitted that PP didn’t do mammograms a year ago:
In new emails Susan G. Komen for the Cure is sending to people complaining about their grants to the Planned Parenthood abortion business, officials claim the grants are given to help women obtain breast cancer screenings. Yet, Komen also admits Planned Parenthood doesn’t do mammograms. …
However, a late March expose’ from Live Action revealed no Planned Parenthood centers nationally provide mammograms.
Live Action released videotaped footage of calls to 30 Planned Parenthood centers nationwide in 27 different states where abortion facility staff were asked whether or not mammograms could be performed on site. Every one of the Planned Parenthood centers admitted they could not do mammograms. Every Planned Parenthood, without exception, tells the women calling that they will have to go elsewhere for a mammogram, and many clinics admit that no Planned Parenthood clinics provide this breast cancer screening procedure.
“We don’t provide those services whatsoever,” admits a staffer at Planned Parenthood of Arizona while a staffer at Planned Parenthood’s Comprehensive Health Center clinic in Overland Park, Kansas tells a caller, “We actually don’t have a, um, mammogram machine, at our clinics.”
In its email to people concerned about the Komen-Planned Parenthood connection, a Komen official admits Planned Parenthood doesn’t provide mammograms for women with its grant money. Komen makes it clear the money is merely funneled through the abortion business to legitimate medical centers that actually perform mammograms.
So no one is arguing to ban Planned Parenthood, and even if they closed their doors tomorrow, it wouldn’t reduce the availability for mammograms by even one single scan. Other than that, Obama had his facts straight, which is to say, not at all.
Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.
Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!
Join the conversation as a VIP Member