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Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Newsmax Columnist Pushes False Claims Against Planned Parenthood
Topic: Newsmax

Is Newsmax getting back into the crazy-right-wing-commentary business?

You may recall Newsmax started toning things down on its website (or, at least, burying the crazy stuff as much as it could) after CEO Christopher Ruddy started making nice with the Clintons and a 2009 commentary by longtime columnist John L. Perry advocated a military coup to resolve America's alleged “Obama problem.”But it seems Newsmax is starting to let right-wingers let their freak flag fly again.

A few weeks back, Obama-hater Pat Boone appeared on Newsmax TV to declare that Obama is a Muslim and celebrates Islamic holy days in the White House. Now, in  June 29 Newsmax column, Michael Shannon lets fly with an unhinged rant against Planned Parenthood that starts with the falsehood that government money to Planned Parenthood is funding abortion:

Taxpayers opposed to having their money used to finance a procedure they considered an abomination and politicians afraid of them were assured “no federal funds sent to Planned Parenthood are used to pay for abortions.”

State and federal tax dollars are supposedly specifically earmarked by conscientious bureaucrats for use in only non-abortion related services, and are in no way allowed to facilitate Planned Parenthood’s industrial–strength disassembly lines.

It’s a complete and total lie that still poisons the abortion debate today.

The government can no more earmark money in a pool any more than you can earmark water in a pool. It’s as impossible as eating an entire chocolate cake and ordering it to avoid landing on your behind.

As Barbara Boland of CNSNews.com points out, almost half of Planned Parenthood’s funding comes from federal, state and local government, a total of $540.6 million.

Pretending that enormous sum of money doesn’t free up other dollars to pay for killing the unborn is like telling the judge two of the four beers you drank had no effect while you drove the car into the ditch and shouldn’t count against your blood alcohol level.

Actually, Shannon's the one who's telling a "complete and total lie." the government can and does earmark money for various purposes, and the federal money that goes to Planned Parenthood is specifically earmarked for various services such as cancer and STD screenings and specifically prohibited from being spent on providing abortions.

Slate's Amanda Marcotte explains how, despite Shannon's insistence that  government funding to Planned Parenthood "frees up other dollars to pay for killing the unborn," that doesn't actually happen since medical services are billed and funded individually.

But here's where Shannon gets really crazy:

Planned Parenthood’s combined revenue from tax dollars, profit and private contributions was over $1 billion in 2013. Planned Parenthood claims 327,166 abortions during that year, but the figure is low.

It doesn’t include dispensing 1,590,000 doses of morning after pills that are the equivalent of a drive–thru abortion.

Um, no. As we've explained, morning-after pills mainly work by preventing ovulation, which is not abortion. It may also work by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg, which is also not abortion according to the medical definition. Since more than half of a woman's fertilized eggs never implant, Shannon would have to declare that all women are "the equivalent of a drive–thru abortion."

Shannon's bio dexderibes him as a "commentator" and "researcher (for the League of American Voters)." The right-wing League of American Voters, headed by Michael Reagan, hasn't updated its website in two years (nor is he listed on the organization's staff list), so maybe he needs to go back there and do some more research on whether he actually has a job.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:36 PM EDT

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