Paul Ryan’s Latest Planned Parenthood Fallacy

Paul Ryan (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)
Paul Ryan (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

Last night, Paul Ryan defended the GOP’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood at a CNN town hall event hosted by Jake Tapper.

Ryan told an audience member who has relied on Planned Parenthood’s care that people who go to the women’s health organization should instead frequent community health centers (CHCs), which he said are in “virtually every community.” He added that if Congress does not defund Planned Parenthood, it would be committing “taxpayer funding for abortion.”

When Tapper pointed out that Planned Parenthood does not receive federal money for abortion services, which is already outlawed by the Hyde Amendment, Ryan said that the group uses money from other services to support abortion: “They get a lot of money and money’s fungible and it effectively floats—these organizations which then use other money. You know, money’s fungible.”

However, as former Planned Parenthood official Clare Coleman explains, this is far from the case. Title X grants, she notes, are “designed to help with costs, not to fully cover them. ” In the case of Medicaid reimbursements, she writes,  if a visit costs “upward of $200, ” the “Medicaid reimbursement rate may be as low as $20,” making it impossible for Planned Parenthood to take advantage of federal dollars “to spend other money in its budget to provide abortions.”

And as Media Matters noted, “experts agree that CHCs lack the capacity, experience, and resources to replace Planned Parenthood,” not to mention that people who use Planned Parenthood services choose to go there for health care.

Ryan’s insistence that patients rely on CHCs also comes across as disingenuous, seeing that he is trying to repeal the very law that allocates billions of dollars to expanding CHCs and creating new ones, which increased “the number of patients receiving care from” such facilities “by nearly 3 million, from 17 to 20 million between 2008 and 2011.”