Jon Kyl’s Feelings About Planned Parenthood Are Invalid

On April 8, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl spoke on the Senate Floor about Planned Parenthood, but not really. Instead of talking about Planned Parenthood’s services and the needs it addresses for various communities across the nation, he was talking about abortion, and his feelings:

“Everybody goes to clinics, to hospitals, to doctors, and so on. Some people go to Planned Parenthood. But you don’t have to go Planned Parenthood to get your cholesterol or your blood pressure checked. If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood. And that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.”

Now I understand that everyone has feelings and that Republicans have a lot of feelings about abortion / women / keeping women in the kitchen and the nursery these days, but there is something important to note here. Jon Kyl was lying. He was lying a lot. Jon Kyl’s feelings about Planned Parenthood are invalid.

Batman's feelings = valid

For example, there are facts that invalidate Jon Kyl’s feelings. Like these:

+ Three percent of Planned Parenthood’s work is abortion services. The only category of services less popular than those in their annual report was “miscellaneous,” or “other.” In other words, contraception services, cancer screenings, and STI prevention is a bigger portion of their work and their overall services provided. Jon Kyl’s facts about Planned Parenthood are invalid. For reference, 90 and 3 percent are very far apart statistically.

+ Planned Parenthood’s funding comes from, in close to equal parts, government grants, personal contributions, and health center income. Therefore, the government does not really pay for a majority of the services they are rendering. Also, the Hyde Amendment (prequel to War On Women: The 2011 Story) prevents federal funds from providing abortion services. Jon Kyl’s distress about funding abortion is invalid.

Jon Kyl could’ve found out the truth about health services provided under Title X by, well, the government. Or by reading Title X. This would have helped Kyl find some valid information. In fact, Richard Nixon, everyone’s favorite Republican, passed this list of services when he was in charge. This was far before Jon Kyl, so I’m sure he’s familiar with it, but I think he forgot. This is a list of the services Title X mandated the government provide for low-income people:

+ Contraceptive information and services
+ Gynecological examinations, basic lab tests, and other screening services for STDs and HIV
+ High blood pressure, anemia, and breast and cervical cancer screening
+ Pregnancy testing, sterilization services, and natural family planning
+ Community education and Outreach

Three hundred million dollars for those services come from Title X, and this is only 12 percent of the overall financial resources used to extoll that list each year. The rest comes from Medicaid. And guess who Medicaid funds? Right. Planned Parenthood. This makes Jon Kyl’s argument invalid for one more reason… it destroys the resources Title X gives low-income people that allow them to make better health choices, live in better health, and, ultimately, prevent abortion:

The House budget bill, HR 1, aimed for Planned Parenthood and Title X in two overlapping ways: It eliminated Title X funding altogether, and it also specifically defunded Planned Parenthood, which also “receives roughly $360 million in federal assistance annually through Medicaid, Maternal and Child Health block grants and other sources.”

Jon Kyl’s argument is invalid. You should know that, and you should let everyone else know.

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

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13 Comments

  1. Man, if I were like this Jon Kyl guy and I could just feel things and make statistics out of them, I probably would have done a lot better in math class. It appears, however, that he and I have about the same amount of real math ability as he seems to have difficulty understanding that 3 and 90 are not equal or anywhere close to equal.

  2. I feel as though during all political speeches there should be a bright young thing equipped with Mendeley and google scholar who can simultaneously fact check, and then the real figures will be projected behind the heads of whoever is speaking.

  3. I made the mistake of reading some news article that came up on Google News about being in defense of Jon Kyl or something on some website with a name like Life News and basically all they did was say the 90% figure was invalid because *frantically start dividing numbers by other numbers to get percentages that make absolutely no sense* AND GOD SAID SO.

    • Isn’t that ALWAYS their go to line when they can’t think of anything logical or back anything up with real facts? “God Said So…so there!” Then they stick out their tongues and walk away! Silly people – civil rights are for everyone! :)

  4. I live in the UK, so I may not be understanding the issue properly, but it seems to me that if they mess up Planned Parenthood they’re going to look pretty sick when their daughter/son comes home with an STI they picked up from a partner who couldn’t afford STI testing or treatment.

    It doesn’t take a genuis to figure out that treating people with infectious diseases is a Good Idea for the whole of a society, not just the treated individual.

  5. Kyl, when corrected about his made-up 90-percent fact said that it wasn’t intended to be a factual statement. So Stephen Colbert took to Twitter armed with the hash tag #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement. My favorites:

    Jon Kyl can unhinge his jaw like a python to swallow small rodents whole. #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement

    Jon Kyl developed his own line of hair care products just so he could test them on bunnies. #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement

    Once a year, Jon Kyl retreats to the Arizona Desert and deposits 2 million egg sacs under the sand. #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement

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