Bachmann Brings Back Her “Planned Parenthood Is the ‘LensCrafters of Abortions'” Schtick


When I read today in Politico that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was “barn-burning” in an Iowa speech where she called Planned Parenthood the “Lenscrafters of abortions,” I felt like I was back in a time warp.  Maybe that’s because it doesn’t matter which state she’s in or what she’s running for, she always tells the same stories.

With the debate in Congress over federal funding of Planned Parenthood, no doubt the catchy phrase is getting more attention this go around.  But although it may be 2011, it’s apparently 2008 in Bachmann’s heart. The video has been removed, but here’s a detail of her speech in 2008, from her fans at Hot Air.

Michele Bachmann (R-MN) gave a short speech on abortion to a mostly-empty chamber last week, and it’s unfortunate that more people didn’t hear it.  In the speech, she detailed the finances of Planned Parenthood, which gets millions each year in taxpayer money to support its efforts.  That funding has helped them spread into upscale malls, an effort that the CEO of Planned Parenthood says makes them the “Lenscrafters of family planning.”

Bachmann and her anti-abortion friends have been touting the line on and off ever since the summer of 2008, when they began misquoting a Wall Street Journal article they said proved the health clinics consider themselves the “Lenscrafters of abortions.”  Minnesota  Independent noted back in 2010:

CNSNews’ Terrence Jeffrey asked Bachmann, “What should Republicans do to advance protect the lives of those unborn babies who are being slaughtered in this country?”

“Well, I think one thing that we can do, quite simply, is to withhold funding from Planned Parenthood,” Bachmann said. “It’s the largest provider of abortion in the United States. They are a billion-dollar industry. As a matter of fact, the head of Planned Parenthood in Illinois said that Planned Parenthood wants to be the Lens Crafters of big abortion.”

But that’s not the quote that the head of the Illinois Planned Parenthood gave back in 2008 in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The article focused on Planned Parenthood’s move toward smaller clinic in suburban areas that don’t actually perform abortions.

“It is high time we follow the population,” said Sarah Stoesz, who heads Planned Parenthood operations in three Midwest states.

She recently opened three express centers in wealthy Minnesota suburbs, “in shopping centers and malls, places where women are already doing their grocery shopping, picking up their Starbucks, living their daily lives,” Ms. Stoesz said.

The mall sites promise walk-in convenience and “clothes-on” care, with services limited to birth-control counseling and tests for pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. Most patients are in and out in less than half an hour.

“I like to think of it as the LensCrafters of family planning,” Steve Trombley, the top executive in Illinois, said as he toured an express center a few doors down from a hair salon and a Japanese restaurant in the well-to-do suburb of Schaumburg, Ill.

Memories are pretty short in politics, making it easy for phrases to come back over and over again.  But google caches are much, much longer.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Follow Robin Marty on twitter: @robinmarty

  • rachel-larris

    There are short memories in Politics but apparently not those who have been watching Bachmann’s career. Great catch Robin!

  • purplemistydez

    Oh horror!!!  PP is availiable to all men and women for their health concerns!!!

  • ack

    Bachmann’s only skill is regurgitating talking points.