Self-Appointed, Unbiased “Fact Checkers” Strike Again

Posted: Mar 03, 2015 1:20 PM

This time, PolitiFact Rhode Island is attacking Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, R.I., for asserting that abortions account for 94 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services for pregnant women.

Bishop Tobin is quoting my organization, the Susan B. Anthony List, and our latest fact sheet on America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood’s annual report for 2013-2014 outlines its health care services, including one outlier, abortion, the antithesis of health care. Services that represent a direct response to pregnancy, i.e., resolving the pregnancy, break down as follows:

Abortion services: 327,653

Prenatal referrals: 18,684

Adoption Services: 1,880

It is clear using simple math that abortions account for 94 percent of those total services. These three options account for all that can be done for a woman with child.

At the prompting of the fact-checker, Planned Parenthood attempted to refute our claim, pointing out that they also provide pregnant women with pregnancy tests and testing for STDs. They seek to inflate the total number of “services” by adding these options – one to determine if a woman is pregnant and the other…well, we’re not so sure what STD testing necessarily has to do with pregnancy. There are only three services that Planned Parenthood or any other provider can offer a woman that is relevant to her existing pregnancy: an abortion, an adoption referral, or a prenatal referral. Planned Parenthood’s own annual report lists only these three, and we’re at a loss to name any others.

Planned Parenthood further disputes the 94 percent figure because the organization says it does not track all of the prenatal referrals made at its clinics – a fact which PolitiFact then uses to let Planned Parenthood off the hook. “Because Planned Parenthood says it doesn’t track that number,” says Politifact, “we don’t know what percentage of pregnant women seen by the agency receive abortions.” End of story.

Never mind that this admission tells us three things. First, that Planned Parenthood doesn’t care enough about the amount of business it is losing by sending pregnant women and their wanted unborn children away from its clinics (probably not a whole lot!). Second, the fact that Planned Parenthood does refer out for prenatal care underscores the point that this abortion business simply is not interested in caring for pregnant women and their babies. Finally, in a few instances Planned Parenthood probably refers out for abortions – perhaps women who cannot pay the fee or those at five months or later. These referrals may outnumber their prenatal referrals. In any event, you cannot fault Bishop Tobin (or us, by inference) for not reporting data Planned Parenthood neglects to collect.

One final point: for years we have publicly supported reform to achieve comprehensive and timely data collection by the states and the US Centers for Disease Control on abortion and its aftermath in America. Now there are PolitiFacts really worth the time and effort.