The Anti-Choice Movement: “Not Intended to Be Factual”


Last week, during the high-drama of the budget crisis and impending shutdown of the federal government, Senator John Kyl took to the floor of the Senate to pillory Planned Parenthood. He had no real evidence with which to do so, so like any good soldier in the ideological war on women, he just made something up, by falsely claiming that abortion is “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.”

When confronted by journalists with the actual fact that over 90 percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood clinics throughout the country are comprised of preventive health care services such as breast and cervical cancer screenings, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, and the provision of contraceptive supplies, Kyl’s office replied as follows:

The Senator’s statement on the floor of the Senate was “not intended to be factual.”

I am sure Kyl’s office did not intend it as such but this is perhaps the most apt and revealing description of the anti-choice movement ever offered by one of its members. 

It is a movement not intended to be factual

In fact, it is based on a foundation of lies so deep I’d recommend regulation by the Mine Safety and Health Administration if I thought they did their job regulating coal mines effectively in the first place.

Here are just a handful of the many and most pervasive lies spread by the anti-choice movement, which can be disputed by facts, yet based on which, increasingly, actual laws and policies are in force or being created and actual women’s lives being profoundly affected.

Lie #1: Federal funding of abortion care is widespread. This is perhaps the most pervasive current lie out there.  Because of the 40-year old Hyde Amendment, federal support to low-income women facing unintended and untenable pregnancies is non-existent except in extraordinary circumstances. The Hyde Amendment forbids the use of federal funds for abortion care except in cases of rape, incest, and threats to the life of the mother. The obstacles to gaining access to federal funds are so large that even under the exceptions, there is virtually no federal funding for abortion care in the United States.  In 2006, a total of 191 abortions were supported by federal funds in the United States when accounting for all exceptions of the Hyde Amendment. This is out of a total of some 1.2 million abortions each year paid for privately.

Lie #2: Fetuses feel pain. Laws in various states, such as one recently signed in Kansas, seek to limit abortions before viability on the basis of the argument that “fetuses feel pain.”  These bills are based on lies because medical experts in both the United States and United Kingdom agree there is no evidence whatsoever that fetuses feel pain.

Lie #3: Pregnancy begins at fertilization.  The medical definition of pregnancy involves the successful implantation of a fertilized egg into the uterus.  A fertilized egg that has not implanted or fails to implant can not effectively be detected and there is no pregnancy unless and until said egg implants successfully in the uterus.

Lie #4: Abortion causes, variously, breast cancer, depression, suicide, and miscarriages.  These are the “we-care-about-women” tactics of the anti-choice movement, none of which are based on fact and belie the fact that they don’t care about women at all, except in their desire to control them.  There is no proven link between abortion and breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute, which, forgive me, I consider to be a more valid source on these issues than Family Research Council, Susan B. Anthony List and LifeSite News, says the following:

In February 2003, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) convened a workshop of over 100 of the world’s leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk. Workshop participants reviewed existing population-based, clinical, and animal studies on the relationship between pregnancy and breast cancer risk, including studies of induced and spontaneous abortions. They concluded that having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer. A summary of their findings, titled Summary Report: Early Reproductive Events and Breast Cancer Workshop, can be found at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/ere-workshop-report.

Then there is the abortion and mental health lie.  A study published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine found no links between abortion and mental health problems with abortion as a causal factor.

Despite the fact that medical science utterly refutes these claims, South Dakota recently passed a law mandating that women thinking of terminating an untenable pregnancy be counseled at so-called crisis pregnancy centers which repeat, over and over, these lies.  Think of it: A law mandating that women attend fake clinics and be subjected to lecturing with lies before undergoing one of the single safest medical procedures in existence.  You can not get more Orwellian.

Lie #5: Planned Parenthood uses federal funds to provide abortions. Untrue. Abortions performed at Planned Parenthood clinics as well as at other clinics in this country are paid variously with the client’s own funds, funds raised by the clinics themselves, and/or with funds raised by organizations such as the New York Abortion Access Funds or the D.C. Abortion Fund to help cover costs for low-income women facing untenable pregnancies but unable to afford an abortion.

Lie #6: Planned Parenthood “targets” African American women for abortion and a disproportionate number of clinics are located in African American communities. This is patently false. Fact: Fewer than one in ten clinics providing abortion are located in African American communities or those that are predominantly black.  The facts are that more clinics are needed in low-income and minority communities because all members of those communities–women, men, and children–struggle for access to health care of all kinds.  African American women in particular urgently need more access to reproductive and sexual health care because they suffer and die at higher rates from treatable conditions.  But the anti-choicers “care” so much about the fate of people in predominantly African American communities that they are seeking to deny them the health care that does exist.

Again, these are only a few samples of the “not-intended-as-factual” contrived non-realities of the anti-choice movement.  Others include but are not limited to the contention that abstinence-only-until marriage programs work (not true), that abortion is the root cause of the social security problem, that emergency contraception, which prevents a pregnancy in the first place, causes abortion.

It’s past time for the media and the public to stop taking these people seriously.

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  • vvilott

    Thanks for the great post, as always, Jodi.

    Re: Lie #5 – local abortion funds are always in need of donations to help make abortion access a reality. The DC Abortion Fund is doing an emergency appeal after the DC Abortion Ban was put back into the CR – to contribute, go to: http://bit.ly/singledout

    You can also find the abortion fund nearest to you at http://www.fundabortionnow.org.

  • rebellious-grrl

    Thanks Jodi! I watched John Kyl on the floor of the senate lie his ass off about PP. So thank you for taking this to task and spelling out the outrageous lies of the antis.

    Michele Bachmann just got busted by CNN for lying about PP too. The article is posted at MN Independent,
    http://minnesotaindependent.com/80222/cnn-bachmanns-planned-parenthood-claim-is-false.

  • kj

    I hear these lies all the time.  In particular the ones relating to the ‘link’ between breast cancer and abortion and sucide and abortion.  And the funny (or not so funny thing) is that even when I refute these claims with sources such as the APA or the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, people don’t beleive these reputable sources.  This has convinced me that anti-choice belifs are so founded on lies that anti-choicers can’t tell reality from fiction.  Or else they arereally good at putting their fingers in their ears and going “LA LA LA, I can’t hear you!” 

  • hearsawho

    All it takes is a little bit of mental gymnastics to believe your own lies. Anti-choicers have mastered mental gymnastics as well as manipulation and harrasment. It makes me sick to think of how far they will go to control another human being.

  • arekushieru

    Love your screen name.  I’m presuming it’s tongue-in-cheek?  If so, it’s very appropriate.  At least I think so….

  • arekushieru

    If they don’t believe them, KJ, then they shouldn’t believe any of the other claims these reputable sources make (but, with their typical hypocrisy, they do…).

  • labman57

    Deliberately disseminating information known to be false for the expressed purpose of influencing public policy decision-making — isn’t that what we call “spreading disinformation“?

  • gordon

    Does anybody know whether Sen. Kyl claims to be a Christian?  The last time I read the Ten Commandments, God had an opinion about bearing false witness against one’s neighbors.  Anybody out there from Arizona care to post that question on some local sites?

  • beenthere72

    If you missed the Colbert Report this week, you MUST watch it:

     

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/381282/april-11-2011/pap-smears-at-walgreens

     

    It’s hysterical.

  • wendy-banks

    Yes, that twit Kyl is a “good christian”, and has 12 children. He is a woman hateing thug who basicly believes women should “know their place”. He’s a creep, plain and simple. 

    And I have the misfortune of haveing tea-baggers and far-right wingers running my state (Arizona) *gags*.