Omniscient Texas Bus Driver’s Story Falls Apart

I want to follow up on my last post about bus driver Edwin Graning to note that his explanation of why he refused to transport of woman to a Planned Parenthood facility doesn’t make a lot of sense.

His initial claim was that he had been assigned to drive a woman to Planned Parenthood’s South Austin facility:

Graning had asked his wife to call the facility; she heard a recording directing callers to call 911 in case of abortion complications. “I said, dear God in heaven, this woman’s gonna have an abortion,” he said.

But that is different from what he told Focus on the Family:

Before picking her up, Graning called the clinic in advance to confirm someone would be there on her arrival. As he was waiting to leave a message, he listened to a list of the clinic’s services.

Graning – an ordained Christian minister – could not go against his religious beliefs.

“Dear God, this woman’s going to have an abortion,” he said. “I went ahead and called my supervisor at home and told her, ‘I can’t be a part of this.’”

So at first Graning was saying that his wife called the facility and heard a recording about abortion, and so he refused to transport the woman … but then claimed that he called the facility himself and heard a list of services offered by the clinic which included abortion, so he refused to take the woman.

Now that discrepancy might not be particularly significant … especially when compared to the fact that the clinic’s recorded message makes absolutely no mention of abortion at all.  I know because I called the clinic and recorded it:

Thank you for calling Planned Parenthood, the most trusted name in reproductive health care.

You have reached the South Austin clinic at 201 East Ben White Blvd. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 9 am to 6:30 pm and Saturday, 9 am to 3 pm.

For more information about our services, to make a donation, or to join our email activist network, please visit us on the web at

Please select from the following options: for clinic directions or other clinic locations,press 1. To schedule an appointment or to speak with a staff member, please press 0 or stay on the line.

Now where exactly in the message do you hear anything about performing abortions? Nowhere – which is probably why Graning’s attorney, Edward White III of the American Center for Law and Justice, is now claiming that Graning “just figured that that clinic did abortions and because it was so early in the morning, he was assuming that she was probably going there for an abortion.”

Of course, as I pointed out before, that facility offers a whole range of services from pregnancy and HIV tests to abstinence education.  So not only did Graning have absolutely no way of know why this woman wanted to go to this facility, his claim that the facility’s message alerted him that abortions were performed there is flagrantly false.

Graning just assumed that this woman was going to Planned Parenthood to get an abortion and refused to take her.  For that, he was fired … and became a Religious Right hero.