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.
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.