Conservatives Pull Off Yet Another Idiotic Planned Parenthood “Sting”

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The conservo-sphere is in a tizzy today over yet another undercover video. This one, from the group Live Action, purports to show that Planned Parenthood is lying about what they do: if you want an abortion, they’re happy to help. But prenatal services? They’ll turn you down every time. They have dozens of recorded phone calls to prove it.

I’m sure you’re wondering what the catch is. The answer is: there isn’t one. Planned Parenthood is very clear about their mission. Here it is:

Planned Parenthood health centers focus on prevention: 80 percent of our patients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancy.

Page 29 of their 2014-15 annual report breaks this down into the following colorful chart, available to anyone with an internet connection:

Page 30 provides more detailed data: Prenatal visits accounted for 17,149 “clinical interactions” out of a total of 9,455,582. That’s 0.18 percent of the total. I’ve added the blue sliver at the top to illustrate this.

In other words, Planned Parenthood doesn’t pretend that prenatal care represents a big share of what they do. For the most part, they provide contraception, abortions, STD testing, and various screening services. The folks who ran this sting operation knew this perfectly well, and deliberately chose to call and ask about a service that very few clinics provide—all so they could get lots of “undercover” phone calls of Planned Parenthood receptionists turning them away when they asked for help. They could have saved themselves a lot of time by just sticking a camera in front of a couple of pages of Planned Parenthood’s annual report.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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