In Debate, Obama Accuses Planned Parenthood of Violating Women’s Health Law

Casey Mattox

10/17/2012 1:00:00 PM - Casey Mattox

In Tuesday’s presidential debate and the latest issue of Glamour magazine, President Obama stumbled into accusing one of his campaign’s largest benefactors—Planned Parenthood—of serially violating a federal women’s health law designed to protect breast cancer patients by claiming that the abortion giant provides mammograms even though it has no license to do so.

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

If President Obama’s allegations of impropriety by Planned Parenthood prove true, the nation’s largest abortion chain could face fines of up to $10,000 per day.

While this is a drop in the bucket compared to the over $1.3 million per day that Planned Parenthood receives in taxpayer funds, the fines may significantly undermine Planned Parenthood’s ability to devote resources to campaign expenditures supporting the president and other pro-abortion politicians.

In Tuesday’s debate, President Obama claimed that “there are millions of women all across the country, who rely on Planned Parenthood for, not just contraceptive care, they rely on it for mammograms….”

This is not the first time Obama has made this allegation. He recently told Glamour magazine, “…[I]n many of these states Planned Parenthood is your only possible access to not only abortion but…mammograms.”

He made this same allegation of illegal activity by Planned Parenthood last spring and again—boldly—in a “thank you” video to Planned Parenthood supporters. Even more troubling for Planned Parenthood however is that their own president, Cecile Richards, has admitted the key elements of the president’s accusation.

Perhaps, to the untrained ear, the claims that Planned Parenthood is performing mammograms might sound more like a defense of Planned Parenthood, not an accusation of illegal activity. But if we are to take the president at his (repeated) word, then Planned Parenthood is breaking the law because it has no license to perform mammograms. As this letter from the Obama Administration’s own Department of Health and Human Services confirms, no Planned Parenthood clinic anywhere in the country is certified to perform mammograms.

The Mammogram Quality Standards Act, administered by the Obama HHS, says that “[n]o facility may conduct an examination or procedure…involving mammography” without a certification from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As the FDA explains, there is a good reason Congress wanted to make sure that women were receiving mammograms only from licensed providers: “Congress passed this law in 1992 to assure high-quality mammography for early breast cancer detection, which can lead to early treatment, a range of treatment options, and increased chances of survival.”

The MQSA is a women’s health and safety law, and its licensing requirement is designed to ensure that the mammogram a woman receives is accurate and dependable. Planned Parenthood does not have that required license.

Are there alternative explanations that would exonerate Planned Parenthood from the illegal activity the president alleges? Sure. It could also be that he knows that Planned Parenthood, using its own name to promote him this election season, will only be seen positively if it is incorrectly thought of as a full-service women’s health facility instead of the nation’s largest abortion business. It may also just be that the president is unaware of his own administration’s evidence that Planned Parenthood has no license to do what he claims they are doing—a case of the left hand not knowing what the further left hand is doing.

Fortunately for Planned Parenthood, if HHS ever notices the claims by President Obama that it is violating the MQSA, it will have plenty of evidence on its side to demonstrate that it does not perform mammograms at all.

I don’t often come to Planned Parenthood’s defense, but when it comes to Obama’s claim that Planned Parenthood is providing mammograms without a license, the president is wrong. Planned Parenthood does not perform mammograms.