Rep. Jason Chaffetz is a lot like Batman — at least in his own mind. According to the House Oversight Committee Chairman, the evil “baby parts”- selling criminal cabal known as Planned Parenthood killed his parents. On Tuesday, Chaffetz argued that the $500 million the organization receives each year from the federal government took away from cancer research, leading to the deaths of both his parents — deaths he, like Bruce Wayne, has vowed to avenge.
While he offered no evidence of his claims, we imagine it looked something like this:
Working up some crocodile tears, Chaffetz argued that “we don’t spend enough on cancer,” which is true, but ignored the fact that cancer screenings — including breast cancer, which took the life of the congressman’s mother — are a large percentage of the services provided by Planned Parenthood.
But the question before us is does this organization, does Planned Parenthood really need federal subsidy? Does it need federal dollars?” Chaffetz asked. “Every time we spend a federal dollar, what we’re doing is we’re pulling money out of somebody’s pocket and we’re giving it to somebody else.
As part of his crusade to avenge his parents’ murders and destroy Planned Parenthood, which conservatives falsely claim chops up babies and parts them out for for-profit organ sales, Chaffetz presented a monumentally stupid slide to illustrate his point. The slide shows two arrows — one illustrating a decline in cancer screenings and preventative services, and the other a slight increase in abortions since 2006. No source was provided on the slide Chaffetz displayed, but the source was a rabid anti-abortion group:
The chart is so stupid, so full of misinformation, that Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards didn’t mince words when confronted about it. “You created this slide. I have no idea what it is,” Richards said.
“Well, it is the reduction over the course of years — in pink, that’s the reduction in the breast exams — and the red is the increase in the abortions,” Chaffetz said. “That’s what’s going on in the organization.”
Richards informed the congressman that the slide “absolutely does not reflect what’s happening at Planned Parenthood.”
“I’m going to deny this slide that you just showed me that no one has ever provided us before,” she said. “We’ve provided you all the information about everything — all the services that Planned Parenthood provides. And it doesn’t feel like we’re trying to get to the truth here. You just showed me this.”
But Chaffetz was undeterred in his mission to smear Planned Parenthood. “I pulled those numbers directly out of your corporate reports,” he informed Planned Parenthood’s president.
“Excuse me,” Richards interjected. “My lawyers have informed me that the source of this is Americans United for Life which is an anti-abortion group so I would check your source.”
Taken aback by the revelation that Richards had identified the source of the conservative witch hunter’s “information,” Chaffetz was forced to pretend he cares about the truth: “Then we will get to the bottom of the truth of that.”
Media publisher Vox provided a helpful example of what the chart should have looked like:
But the lines were not the only thing that were deceptive, notes Vox’s Timothy B. Lee:
The chart is misleading in another way, too. It’s true that Planned Parenthood performed 290,000 abortions and 2 million cancer-related services in 2006. But the organization also provided more than 3 million treatments for sexually transmitted diseases and nearly 4 million contraceptive services that year. By 2013, the number of STD treatments had gone up to 4.5 million, while the number of contraceptive services declined modestly to 3.6 million
Lee provided another helpful chart we surely will not see Chaffetz display:
So it’s not true, as the chart implies, that Planned Parenthood has been performing more abortions while drastically cutting back the provision of other services,” Lee notes. “The overall number of non-abortion services provided by Planned Parenthood barely changed at all, going from 10.29 million in 2006 to 10.26 million in 2013.
As Chaffetz continues to pretend that he’s some sort of anti-choice Caped Crusader, the rest of us wonder when the GOP will finally drop the nonsense surrounding Planned Parenthood, which is quickly becoming the new Benghazi, and work on solving some of our nation’s actual problems.
Watch Chaffetz get smacked down, below:
Featured image: Americans United for Life