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Tuesday, August 28, 2018
CNS Still Spreading the 'Fungible' Falsehood About Federal Funding to Planned Parenthood

We've documented how has spent the past decade promoting the bogus claim that federal funding to Planned Parenthood is "fungible" and thus, somehow, pays for abortions despite the fact that the money is earmarked to specific women's health programs that have nothing to do with abortion. CNS is certainly not about to stop spreading the lie now.

An Aug. 1 CNS article by Max Augros cheering "the Trump administration’s plan to reapply a rule first introduced by the Reagan administration to ensure that federal Title X funds go solely to family planning offices that are separate from abortion providers" uncritically quoted anti-abortion groups and the Trump White House spreading the "fungible" falsehood:

In a press release, the [Susan B. Anthony] List stated that “the abortion industry has used Title X as a slush fund,” and thanked President Trump and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar for “putting a stop to this abuse.”


The Protect Life Rule “would ensure compliance with the [Title X] program’s existing statutory prohibition on funding programs in which abortion is a method of family planning,” the White House said in a statement.

“The new proposed rule would not cut funds from the Title X program,” reads the statement. “Instead, it would ensure that taxpayers do not indirectly fund abortions. Contrary to recent media reports, HHS’s proposal does not include the so-called ‘gag rule’ on counseling about abortion that was part of the Reagan Administration’s Title X rule.”


“The American people have repeatedly and clearly voiced their opposition to taxpayer funding of abortion, but for years, their will – expressed in the statute itself – has been ignored,” the SBA List said in a joint comment with the Life Issues Institute.

“We wholly support the Protect Life Rule, which draws a bright line between abortion and family planning in the Title X program,” the press release stated.

And for good measure, Augros furthered the falsehood by stating that Planned Parenthood's "latest annual report (2016-17) shows that it received  $543.7 million in federal government reimbursements and grants, and performed 321,384 abortions that year" -- as if juxtaposing those numbers prove that the money directly pays for those abortions.

The next day, in an article complaining that Planned Parenthood has received Title X funding, managing editor Michael W. Chapman stated the falsehood more directly:  "However, money is fungible and grants for one purpose can free-up funds for another purpose. As House Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) has said, 'Today, hundreds of abortion clinics are co-located at Title X family planning facilities. For example, 266 of Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinics are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers in the Title X program to the tune of about $56 million each year.'"

Just because a Republican congressman said it doesn't mean it's true. Chapman offered no evidence to back up the claim, nor did Smith in the Catholic News Agency commentary to which Chapman linked.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:04 PM EDT

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