Monday, February 17, 2014

National Review Safer, Still Lying, and Less Read

Wesley J. Smith, in a self-portrait revealing how deeply he identifies with fetuses, to the point of believing he looks like one.
Texas Abortion Safer, Still Legal, and More Rare
That's the headline for the reproduction in National Review Online of a couple of paragraphs ripped from the Houston Chronicle noting the busting of a Houston women's health care clinic for performing abortions without admission privileges at any nearby hospital, in [jump]
contravention of the new Texas law. How this makes abortion any "safer" is not clarified by Mr. Smith. There is certainly no suggestion that any of the 268 abortions performed in this clinic over the past three months was in any way unsafe, or that admission privileges at a hospital would have changed any aspect of what they do.

How it makes abortion rarer ("more rare" is a pretty odd expression, huh? more applicable to steak) is on the other hand pretty clear. Maybe it does and maybe it doesn't, depending on the resourcefulness of the underground abortion business, which is likely making it not rarer at all, and probably a great deal less safe.

What got on my nerves, though, was Mr. Smith's comment:
This on the heel of a dozen Planned Parenthood abortion clinics abandoning poor women by closing because of the new law–which I noted previously, demonstrated the mendacity of PP’s propaganda about only 3% of their work being abortion. I mean, if the organization was really primarily about offering women access to basic care, why would the loss of such an infinitesimal percentage of their work force clinics to close?
I wanted to just check out that story, in a post of his from last November (not exactly "on the heels" but let that pass), and found to my astonishment that it is totally false. The link he provides, from the Dallas–Fort Worth CBS affiliate, is very clear about what Planned Parenthood did that day:
Planned Parenthood will stop providing abortions at four clinics on Friday after a federal appeals court reinstated most of the state’s controversial new abortion law. The ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals late Thursday means that many abortion clinics across the state of Texas are required to stop providing the procedure immediately.
Even though Planned Parenthood is no longer able to provide abortions at the four locations, their doors will remain open and they will continue to provide birth control, cancer screenings and other preventive care. Planned Parenthood said more than 90 percent of its services are basic, preventive health care.
Did Smith completely make this up? Apparently not; a teaser for the story, still on their website, consists of the first sentence of the story Smith quotes. But the story it refers to has totally disappeared, and there's no indication what happened to it.

Where it seems most likely to have originated is in a Washington Times story reporting that 12 Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas would be forced to close on November 1, with the simply mendacious headline

12 Texas abortion clinics closed as appeals court upholds new law

Conflated, maybe, with the fact that 12 Texas Planned Parenthood clinics were forced to close, along with 45 or 50 women's health centers unconnected to Planned Parenthood, a year and a half earlier, in July-August 2012, because the state funding they depended on was cut off by the legislature. The real story as of last November is that many clinics of Planned Parenthood Greater Texas, Planned Parenthood South Texas, and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast all continue to exist, obeying Texas's absurd and harmful abortion law but otherwise continuing to provide Texas women including the needy with care in spite of the relentless assaults of their sanctimonious, pro-life but anti-human enemies.

No sign that the Washington Times ever retracted its wrong story, or that Wesley J. Smith of the National Review is even aware that he is spreading lies. Though I've tried to let him know:

(1) How many women died or were in any way injured by the 268 abortions performed at a clinic without hospital admitting privileges? Obviously none, or it would have been mentioned in the story. The clinic was clearly perfectly safe and was shut down merely because of an unnecessary law which will not make women safer.
(2) Why do you keep saying Planned Parenthood clinics closed down when your link says they stopped performing abortions (following the new law) but remained open?

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