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Planned Parenthood rebuts claims it misleads women, calls AUL report ‘ideologically driven’

UPDATED at 2:33 p.m.

As The American Independent previously reported, anti-abortion rights group Americans United for Life (AUL) released Thursday a report of allegations against Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), some of which date back several years. Accompanying the group’s findings is a call for Congress to begin a taxpayer-funded investigation on Planned Parenthood. AUL has accused Planned Parenthood of misusing federal funds; knowingly violating state and federal laws; and misleading women about abortion, fetal development and emergency contraceptive drugs.

On Friday, Planned Parenthood released a statement to media outlets responding to AUL’s “ideologically-driven publication.”

From Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

The publication manufactured by AUL rejects scientific evidence, promotes false health claims, and recycles misleading and discredited charges, as well as old issues that have already been addressed. … Simply put, this “so-called” report actually insults the intelligence of anyone who reads it.


It’s clear that AUL is an ideological organization that will not let facts get in the way of their goal to overturn Roe v. Wade, and undermine women’s ability to go to Planned Parenthood and see the health care provider they trust.

PPFA has fact-checked AUL’s 37-page report and pointed out seven examples of “distortions and misrepresentations.” TAI has abbreviated PPFA’s rebuttal (below) for brevity. Planned Parenthood spokesperson Tait Sye told TAI in an e-mail that the fact check highlights only some of AUL’s “erroneous claims.” He said the charges that Planned Parenthood affiliates misused federal funds and over-billed for family-planning services are “recycled charges that have either been resolved, are pending resolution, or drawing unfounded conclusions from select pieces of data taken out of context.”

AUL Claim: The 2010 U.S. General Accounting Office report “demonstrates that even the federal government does not know” how much federal funding Planned Parenthood receives (p.8).

PPFA FACT CHECK: “This is a recycled charge about alleged missing money that a 2011 PolitiFact fact check rejected as ‘Pants on Fire’ lie. Planned Parenthood health centers … receive payments from public programs like Medicaid for specific medical visits, treatments, and procedures. Planned Parenthood undergoes routine audits to ensure proper use of public funds.”

AUL Claim: “Planned Parenthood failed to provide the young woman who sought its advice essential information, including the fact that induced abortion increases the risk of miscarriage by 55 percent in subsequent pregnancies, and that there exists a heightened risk of suicide and psychiatric admissions to women s who have had an induced abortion” (p.22).

PPFA FACT CHECK: “This is blatantly false and scientifically inaccurate. A 2008 American Psychiatric Association report found no reliable evidence that abortion is linked to suicide. … A Guttmacher report states, “Several reviews of the available scientific literature affirm that vacuum aspiration—the modern method most commonly used during first-trimester abortions—poses virtually no long-term risks of future fertility-related problems, such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion or congenital malformation.”

AUL Claim: “Notably, the RU-486 regimen often fails to cause a complete abortion. … [O]ff-label use by Planned Parenthood clinics up to 63 days or beyond is common, despite the increased risk of failure and the increased risks to women’s lives and health” (p.22).

PPFA FACT CHECK: AUL is false in asserting a high failure rate of medication abortion (RU-486). Medication abortions are successful about 97 percent of cases. AUL is also false in asserting that Planned Parenthood’s use of evidence-based protocol is unsafe. … Planned Parenthood’s Medical Standards and Guidelines are evidenced-based and the 63 day protocol was only approved after research was completed and published in the leading peer-reviewed journals.”

AUL Claim: “[A]bortion represented over 97 percent of PPFA’s pregnancy-related services in 2009” (pg. 2).

PPFA FACT CHECK: “This is a recycled charge similar to a misleading claim made by Rep. Jean Schmidt [R-Ohio] that PolitiFact fact checked, and called ‘false.’ They write, ‘(t)he anti-abortion groups came up with the 98 percent figure by comparing the number of abortions to the number of procedures in the other two categories. … But there are problems with that calculation. First, it assumes that pregnant women only go to Planned Parenthood for one of those three options.’”

AUL Claim: “Ectopic pregnancies ‘treated’ with the RU-486 regimen can rupture and kill the woman” (p.22).

PPFA FACT CHECK: “There is no evidence from published research studies to suggest that mifepristone increases the likelihood of rupture in an ectopic preganancy. In fact there are several studies, including a Cochrane review of 35 studies, that demonstrate that mifepristone increases the success of standard medical treatment for ectopic pregnancy (methotexate). This would suggest that if mifepristone has any impact on the natural course of an ectopic pregnancy it is positive.”

AUL Claim: “Planned Parenthood boasts of its role in the approval of a new drug, ella, yet provides considerable misinformation about the drug” (p. 24).

PPFA FACT CHECK: “The health information on Planned Parenthood’s website is medically accurate and evidenced-based. … For patients that receive emergency contraception (EC), the information shared during the consent process is as follows: How does EC work? One type of EC (Plan B One-Step, Next Choice) is made of one of the hormones made by a woman’s body — progestin. Another type (ella) blocks the body’s own progestin. Both types of EC keep a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs — ovulation. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with sperm.”

AUL Claim: AUL’s website says: “Some drugs classified as ‘contraceptives’ by the FDA, such as Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) and Plan B (the so-called ‘morning after pill’), can kill an embryo by blocking its ability to implant in the uterus. … Thus, if HHS decides to include ‘contraception’ as ‘preventive care,’ all insurance plans will be required to provide coverage of these abortion-inducing drugs.”

PPFA FACT CHECK: “It is scientifically and medically inaccurate to claim that contraceptives such as IUDs and Plan B are ‘abortion-inducing drugs.’ … It is further scientifically and medically inaccurate to claim that blocking implantation is an ‘abortion.’ A World Health Organization letter states, ‘To date, there is no scientific evidence supporting the contention that hormonal contraceptives and IUD prevent implantation of the fertilized ovum.’”

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