Debunking the Planned Parenthood Mammogram Myth
Courtney CrandellReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2015 Oct 12
Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms despite continued claims from high-profile supporters that it does, according to a Fact Checker report released by The Washington Post in late September.
In a Sept. 29 House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., claimed that Planned Parenthood provided mammograms.
“All the signatories [of a letter supporting defunding Planned Parenthood] are men, none of whom will get pregnant, or need a cervical screening for cancer, or a mammogram, or a pap smear, or other life-saving services that are provided by Planned Parenthood,” Maloney said.
But the claim that Planned Parenthood “provides” mammograms is false, according to report author Michelle Ye Hee Lee. And the claim earned three-out-of-four Pinocchios from Fact Checker, meaning it contained “significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.”
An Oct. 1 video release by Live Action highlighted those contradictions by juxtaposing statements indicating the abortion giant provides mammograms with Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards’ admission before Congress that “we do not have mammogram machines at our health centers. And we’ve never stated that we did.” The video has drawn more than 2,650,000 views on Facebook since its release.
The video includes statements from Richards, President Barack Obama during his 2012 campaign, Whoopi Goldberg in her Sept. 30 appearance on The View, and Hannah Robison, Miss Tennessee in the 2015 Miss America Pageant. All four appear to promote the idea that Planned Parenthood provides mammograms.
Ye Hee Lee explained the discrepancy by emphasizing the ambiguity of the word Planned Parenthood uses to explain the services it offers women. Planned Parenthood says it provides “access” to mammograms. Access can be interpreted to mean “provides,” or it can mean what Planned Parenthood actually does by referring women to facilities that offer mammograms if a breast exam at a facility uncovers something abnormal.
“When Democratic lawmakers or other supporters assert that Planned Parenthood ‘provides’ mammograms, this is highly misleading language because it could be interpreted to mean that the group directly administers the X-rays,” Lee said. “It is slightly more accurate to say that women have ‘access’ to mammograms via Planned Parenthood, though it’s still slippery language.”
The language is especially slippery when less than 3 percent of breast exams at Planned Parenthood facilities result in referrals for mammograms, according to the report. Women older than 40 typically receive mammogram referrals, but women in that age bracket represented only about 7 percent of Planned Parenthood’s clients in 2013. Of the 487,029 breast exams that year, only about 14,000 led to mammogram referrals—a much smaller number than the 327,653 abortions performed the same year at Planned Parenthood.
Live Action started a petition supporting defunding Planned Parenthood and has received more than 298,000 signatures toward its 300,000 goal. But so far, two attempts to defund Planned Parenthood on the federal level have failed.
“President Obama and some in Congress have opted to keep taxpayer funds flowing to Planned Parenthood, even though the nation’s largest abortion chain is under four congressional investigations and several state investigations, looking into at least three criminal acts it has committed,” Live Action president Lila Rose said.
But some Republicans are mounting another defunding attempt. A coalition of 38 pro-life leaders has voiced support for defunding Planned Parenthood through reconciliation, a legislative process that limits debate on budgetary bills to 20 hours. The coalition aims to prevent filibuster in the Senate.
“Over 1 million abortions are performed annually in the United States, with nearly 330,000 occurring in Planned Parenthood facilities,” the coalition said in a letter to the chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees. “Tax dollars would be put to better use at local community health centers, which provide all the same health services Planned Parenthood does (and usually more), but do not abort the lives of unborn children and callously harvest their body parts for profit.”
Courtesy: WORLD News Service
Publication date: October 12, 2015