A few weeks ago, the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List released a TV ad attacking Planned Parenthood, apparently to provide justification for anti-abortion members of Congress to prevent the group from continuing to receive federal funding for providing women with health care. In an editorial posted Sunday evening, the Washington Post editorial board denounced the ad campaign as “more lies on Planned Parenthood.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, headed up the Trump campaign’s “pro-life coalition” even though she had been a Trump critic early in the primary process. She has been a vocal supporter of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, saying, “In nominating Judge Gorsuch, President Trump has kept his promise to nominate only pro-life judges to the Supreme Court.” Dannenfelser’s ultimate goal is the criminalization of all abortions without exception; she has called an anti-abortion bill’s exception for cases of rape “abominable.”
Her group has also made the defunding of Planned Parenthood a top legislative priority, and the president and congressional Republican leaders have said that they plan to target the health provider.
SBA List Vice President Marilyn Musgrave told Catholic television network EWTN in January that a “Jeff-Sessions-directed Justice Department will go after Planned Parenthood” and that “we look forward to that day.”
The group has tried to point the way by going after Planned Parenthood with its own ads, which it has said were running on Fox & Friends and Morning Joe, that portray Planned Parenthood as strictly an abortion provider and a trafficker of “baby body parts.” The Washington Post’s editorial board slams the ad’s accuracy. Here’s how the editorial begins:
NOT “EVEN a scintilla of evidence.” That was the judgment of a federal judge last month in Texas about allegations of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood. He was not alone in finding that the health-care organization did not illegally profit from fetal-tissue donation: Three Republican-led congressional investigations, 13 states and a Texas grand jury all could find no substance to claims about the alleged sale of “baby body parts,” which gained currency through videos released by anti-abortion activists.
The Post says the Susan B. Anthony List’s ad campaign “uses misleading data and half-truths in a bid to whip up support in Congress for a cutoff of federal support to Planned Parenthood.” While those efforts suffered a setback with the collapse of the Republican health care bill, “it is clear the threat remains and that misinformation will continue to be a key weapon.”
The ad failed to mention that taxpayer dollars do not go towards abortion services and that Planned Parenthood was repeatedly cleared of the accusations that it traffics in “baby body parts,” with the Post noting that the videos that sparked the allegations “have been completely discredited.”
The Post also takes on the effort by Planned Parenthood’s enemies to portray their defunding efforts as somehow good for women:
The ad’s most pernicious distortion centers on the argument that Congress should redirect the federal dollars that go to Planned Parenthood to “real health-care centers for women.” Studies and real-life practice have established that there simply are not enough community health centers to fill the gap that would be created if Planned Parenthood lost Medicaid funds. The truth is that a cutoff would tear a huge hole in the safety net for the 2.5 million patients — the majority of them low-income — who each year go to Planned Parenthood centers for basic medical needs. Congress should reject it.
On that point, Yale lecturer Miranda Yaver found that greater access to Planned Parenthood clinics is associated with fewer teen births and sexually transmitted diseases as well as HIV diagnoses. “While responding to public opinion over abortion can help particular members of Congress get reelected,” she wrote in Monday’s Washington Post, “defunding Planned Parenthood may carry a significant price tag for their districts.”