Sen. Gillibrand Cites Widely Contested Three Percent Statistic to Protest Defunding Planned Parenthood

Posted: May 18, 2018 11:30 AM
Sen. Gillibrand Cites Widely Contested Three Percent Statistic to Protest Defunding Planned Parenthood

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) spoke with CNN Friday about the Trump administration’s upcoming Protect Life Rule that would bar entities that receive federal funding for family planning from providing or referring for abortions. The move would cut off some of Planned Parenthood’s Title X funding if they continue to provide abortions. Gillibrand called the move a “direct hit” on the nation’s largest abortion provider and cited a widely contested statistic that abortions are just three percent of the services Planned Parenthood provides.

Gillibrand told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that “this is an issue that should enrage the American public, particularly women, because it’s an attack on them.”

Cuomo followed up by citing the administration’s defense that the move is simply an extension of the Hyde Amendment which bars taxpayer funds from going towards abortion.

“It’s going much further,” Gillibrand claimed, “Planned Parenthood might spend three percent of their budget on abortion services, everything else is reproductive care, birth control, cancer screenings but because that entity provides it somewhere else no federal money goes to it, this new rule’s going to say if you provide it anywhere that you can’t actually get federal funding.”

However, the percentage of the budget Planned Parenthood spends on abortion is likely much higher. A Washington Post fact check called the group’s three percent statistic “misleading” in 2015 because Planned Parenthood “treats each service — pregnancy test, STD test, abortion, birth control — equally,” despite the “obvious difference between a surgical (or even medical) abortion, and offering a urine (or even blood) pregnancy test. These services are not all comparable in how much they cost or how extensive the service or procedure is.”

They added that it was “unfortunate that the public has limited access to data about the organization. Planned Parenthood could end the speculation–and Pinocchios–by providing a more transparent breakdown of its clients, referrals and sources of revenues.”

White House officials said Friday that the goal of the new regulation is to separate family planning services from abortion. They argue the new regulations are a "prohibition of abortion as a method of family planning” and "would better protect victims of sexual assault, incest and rape.”

The administration has emphasized that the rule will simply redirect funds away from abortion providers, but not reduce the overall amount spent on family planning.

While it does bar abortion referrals, the new proposal does not prohibit counseling for abortion.