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Posted by on Oct 1, 2009 in Health, Media, Politics, Society | 25 comments

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

There is no claim so crazy that Michele Bachmann will not make it — no lie so brazenly outrageous that she will not tell it (emphasis is in original):

Schools might start offering abortions if healthcare reform passes, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) warned last night.

Speaking on the House floor, Bachmann raised concerns about the “school based health clinics” discussed in H.R. 3200, which she said were merely “sex clinics” designed to bring Planned Parenthood into the nation’s schools.

Though bill specifically requires these clinics to follow federal, state and local law concerning parental consent, Bachmann claimed that the school-based health center might provide abortions without informing a student’s guardian.

There’s no passage in the bill to support this claim, and Bachmann’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for clarification.

Here’s the relevant passage from her floor speech:

But parents are going to [be] excluded from Planned Parenthood as they write these clinics because the bill orders that these clinics protect patient privacy and student records. What does that mean? It means that parents will never know what kind of counsel and treatment that their children are receiving. And as a matter of fact, the bill goes on to say what’s going to go on — comprehensive primary health services, physicals, treatment of minor acute medical conditions, referrals to follow-up for specialty care — is that abortion? Does that mean that someone’s 13 year-old daughter could walk into a sex clinic, have a pregnancy test done, be taken away to the local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, have their abortion, be back and go home on the school bus that night? Mom and dad are never the wiser.

This doesn’t mesh with the bill’s language, however. Section 2511 specifically states that such clinics must follow state laws governing parental consent.

PolitiFact rated Bachmann’s claim “Pants on Fire.” (Hat tip to Steve Benen.)

Video below via Media Matters:

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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • Leonidas

    Agreed Michele Bachmann is way off base here.

    Also thanks for directing me to the polifact truthometer, some nice stuff on Micheal Moore there too.

  • vey9

    “off base here.”

    Just “here”? Try everywhere. That would be more accurate.

  • merkin

    These people are lost. They don’t even know how to attack health reform. If the Democrats pass this mess, the health insurance company federal subsidy bill, they will owe idiots like Backman and Beck a tremendous vote of thanks, for diverting the public’s attention with bogus, but admittedly entertaining arguments like this.

    • kathykattenburg

      I just have to tell you, I absolutely love your screen name.:-)

      • merkin

        Why thank you very much. I have always felt that it was appropriate for me. I have always considered myself to be a political moderate and as you may know the screen name is the equivalent of “pussy“ used in its “milq toast” meaning.

        Besides I love Peter Sellers and Dr. Strangelove. For someone of my age (58) it was our first, great black comedy.

        • kathykattenburg

          To be honest, I hadn’t heard the name before and didn’t know what it meant or where it came from. I just like the sound of it and the visuals it conjures up. 🙂

          I’m 59, but the only Peter Sellers movie I ever saw was “What’s New, Pussycat?” and all I can remember from it is the first line of the song, “What’s new, pussycat, oooooohhhh!” LOL

          • merkin

            I urge you to see the movie. It can only be appreciated by those of us who lived through the cold war (duck and cover!).

            Merkin Muffley was the President in the movie, one of three roles played by Peter Sellers. The character’s name is the best ever in a movie. Merkin is British slang for American (the movie was a joint British-American production). It is also a toupee for a woman’s, how can I be delicate about this, pubic area, therefore the pussy reference (sorry). Muffley is, I believe, self-explanatory.

            President Muffley was a wimp, milqtoast.

            Thank you for your post. I enjoy the site.

          • kathykattenburg

            Oh, no need to duck and cover. 🙂 I did live through the Cold War, but then the Cold War lasted four decades, so a lot of people a lot younger than we are can say they lived through a significant part of it.I was, however, present near, if not at, the creation. 🙂

  • mlhradio

    I will readily admit that I have a morbid fascination with some of the more outrageous statements coming from the ultra-reactionary fringe right, as evidenced by folks like Bachmann and Be(c)k and Limbaugh. Sort of like comedy relief.But I think we are all really missing the whole point of the discussion – this is not about whether or not Bachmann is making factually true statements or not – it is all about promoting an *emotional*, subjective view. To those on the far right, logic is meaningless. A couple examples – The whole birther nonsense has been disproven over and over again; the ‘death panels’ argument is patently false; repeated to references to Obama the Muslim are still bandied about. All of these points have been soundly proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be incorrect under an avalanche of evidence, yet there is still a large percentage of the reactionary right that clings to their beliefs, defying any semblance of logical thought.For the left, it’s all about FACTS and REASON. For the right, it’s all about FEELINGS and EMOTION. Y’see, for Bachmann and her ilk, it doesn’t matter whether or not what she says is factually true or not – rather, what matters is whether it “feels true” or “could be true” (or “could become true”)There was an excellent Q&A with Jonathan Haidt who spoke at TED (link here: http://blog.ted.com/2009/09/the_healthcare.php) – it was even linked by The Moderate Voice a few days back that touches on this very idea. Worth the read, if you haven’t already. A few quotes:”So people who have a negative intuitive reaction to Obama, or who are fearful about the enormous changes going on, are already inclined to believe rumors against him and his plans. They hear about death panels and forged birth certificates and ask “can I believe it?” The answer is usually yes, particularly if Fox News raises these questions and brings on experts who claim that the propositions are true. Even if Fox News presents both sides, the fact that somebody on TV endorsed a proposition gives viewers permission to believe it, if they want to. Conversely, Democrats can give rebuttals till they’re blue in the face, but if people are asking themselves “must I believe it” about the Democrats’ claims then the answer they will usually reach is “no.” Logic and consistency just aren’t very important when it comes to morality…””…So when Palin threw out the term “death panels,” the term struck a chord that had been played many times in recent years. Liberals were flabbergasted, because it’s a blatant lie, but it’s false only in a logical sense, not an emotional one. And once again, logic has little to do with morality. If a pro-life social conservative asks himself whether Obama is secretly plotting to create death panels, he is not asking whether this is likely to be true, he is asking only “can I believe it,” and the answer is usually yes.”Kathy, the point is that you can point to outrageous statements from the reactionary right all you want, and point out their lies and misstatements and delusions all you want. But it’s all meaningless – people on the left, the center and the intelligent right have been doing just that for the past several months and yet the lies of the right remain as persistent as ever. Attacking them with logic and facts is never going to work, because their arguments are not based on logic or facts. Unless you can find a way to counter them on a more emotional (or even moral) level, you’re never going to have an impact and start changing opinions. Until then, you’re just preaching to the choir with blog posts like these.

  • redbus

    Kathy —

    Completely off-topic…

    Did you see the story on CNN.com this morning regarding the shift in public attitudes regarding abortion? You can read it here:

    Abortion support falls sharply

    As a conservative Democrat who opposes abortion, I hope my party will take note of this important development.

    • JeffersonDavis

      So YOU’RE the other conservative democrat?
      I thought I was the only one!!!

      LOL

      Good news, though. Glad people are finally realizing that it’s more responsible to use a rubber than to kill.

      • StockBoySF

        JD: “Glad people are finally realizing that it’s more responsible to use a rubber than to kill.”

        I didn’t realize that people became pregnant with the intention of killing. All sorts of things cause pregnancies which might lead people to seek out an abortion: mistakes happen, people use bad judgement, criminal acts (rape), complications with pregnancy, broken rubbers, etc.

        Obama has said we should strive to reduce the number of abortions and put programs in place to encourage people to keep their kids. I support that. Throughout the ages people have always had abortions at great risk to themselves. As a society we should do what we can to support women who have children. But we should also offer abortion services to those who seek abortions. If we don’t offer those services they’ll probably try the old coat hanger method and kill themselves in the process. It must be very difficult for a woman to decide to have an abortion and making them illegal won’t make abortions go away. I’m anti-abortion personally, but I also believe that it’s up to the woman and whoever else she chooses to involve. What works for me doesn’t work for others in different circumstances.

        Bachman is a loony.

        • JeffersonDavis

          Only 7 percent of all abortions for for rape, incest, or health of child or mother.The rubber is for the other 93%, and so is some personal responsibility.

        • kathykattenburg

          I didn’t realize that people became pregnant with the intention of killing. All sorts of things cause pregnancies which might lead people to seek out an abortion: mistakes happen, people use bad judgement, criminal acts (rape), complications with pregnancy, broken rubbers, etc.

          Well said, StockBoy. I would add that there are also women who end pregnancies that were wanted — devoutly, deeply, desperately wanted. That is one of the reasons I say that those opponents of abortion who pretend to know why any woman — much less most women — have abortions are thinking in ways that are quite mistaken.

          Do I get a gold star for self-control?

        • kathykattenburg

          It must be very difficult for a woman to decide to have an abortion and making them illegal won’t make abortions go away. I’m anti-abortion personally, but I also believe that it’s up to the woman and whoever else she chooses to involve. What works for me doesn’t work for others in different circumstances.

          Thank you, StockBoy. And I feel that thank you much more deeply than I can say in words.

    • kathykattenburg

      I had not seen it, no — but it probably shouldn’t be surprising. The right has been very diligent and successful both at making it more difficult for women to get abortions and at demonizing abortion. Others here who have said that no one is “pro-abortion” are correct. No one is pro-abortion, just as no one is pro-triple bypass surgery or pro-kidney transplant. Abortion is a medical procedure that needs to be legal so that women who choose to have an abortion can have it done safely instead of dying in a back alley. Moreover, the choice to have an abortion should be solely that of the woman involved in consultation with her doctor and whoever else she chooses to confide in. Furthermore, those people (of whom there are unfortunately too many) who think they know why any given woman has an abortion, or who believe that there is a way to authoritatively quantify the reasons and motivations for the choices of 95% — or any percentage — of women who choose to have an abortion, are, to put it in a way that won’t get me in trouble, making assertions that are foolish, uninformed, and presumptuous.Public support for abortion will continue to fluctuate, but a woman’s absolute right to have an abortion if she so chooses is irrevocable. No law will change that.

  • Father_Time

    The Republican party really does not oppose abortion. They “list” right to life on their political platforms but really don’t advocate or spend much money advocating the overturn of Roe/Wade. They are just trying to hang on to the religious right vote by subterfuge. About half of the Catholics vote Democrat Regardless of their church’s stand. Most protestants do not follow any “church” political rhetoric on the issue, simply because there is no authority or institutionalized repercussion among protestant churches to actually follow anything. I suspect that as the republican party is pressured internally by constantly growing numbers of social liberal advocates, that the Republican party continue to sideline the abortion issue.

    Wiser Republicans realize that crazies like Bachmann are dinosaurs hurting their bottom line.

  • redbus

    Father Time:

    I agree with your assessment of how the GOP has played the abortion issue across the years. This is nothing new, really. Even the esteemed Ronald Reagan would only talk to the annual pro-life demonstrators on the Mall in Washington via audio hook-up. He never appeared in-person. Why not? I’m not sure the Dems ultimately will do any better. They certainly have pro-choice planks in their platform, but there are some encouraging signs that the party’s openness to the pro-life position is growing.

    StockBoy SF:

    The line about “back alley abortions” has been around…how many decades now? There’s some truth to it. Women do die from botched abortions in countries that outlaw the procedure, as some women die from abortions in countries that allow it. But when you’re talking 1.1 million abortions annually in the U.S., this is not “rare,” despite rhetoric to the contrary.

    • kathykattenburg

      Redbus, perhaps you are unaware of this, but before 1973 — before Roe v. Wade, in other words — women died in botched, back-alley, illegal abortions, in this country (the United States) in far larger numbers than they do now. The reason that American women tend not to die from abortion anymore is because abortion now, by law, can be done by a qualified, licensed medical professional in a clinical setting, as opposed to being done by a woman who swallows a bottle of bleach, or seeks out an unqualified fraud who does the job on a kitchen table.

  • DLS

    Kathy: Standard maturity level with your thread title?

    MLH Radio, don’t ignorantly or dishonestly reverse the truth about the left-right dichotomy.

    Red Bus: Most people aren’t febrile radical abortion-“rights” absolutists who include demanding the federal government provide (taxpayer-paid) abortions. Only the extreme lunatic fringe believe these are true and should never be questioned or in any way compromised. Note that votes recently by the Dims over abortion and immigration exposed the nuttier farther-left nature of too many of them — bad PR among good people!

  • “Kathy: Standard maturity level with your thread title?”

    then: “Note that votes recently by the Dims…”

    Maturity level? Ummm…yeah.

  • “The line about “back alley abortions” has been around…how many decades now?”

    Well, it’s been around since they were horribly common. Take a look at what’s going on in Nicaragua if you want to see what outlawing abortion looks like on a practical level. They estimate that it caused the death of roughly 10,000 women in the last year.

  • merkin

    It is hard to imagine that anyone would be pro-abortion. On some level everyone must realize that it means ending a potential life and therefore discounts life.

    It is hard to imagine that anyone could spend half of a speech ranting about the need to keep the government out of the doctor patient relationship and then spend the rest of the speech advocating placing the government between doctors and patients concerning abortions.

    It is hard to imagine anyone believing that re-criminalizing abortion will end it. There were 250,000 abortions a year when they were illegal. This doesn’t include the “Catholic abortions”, D&Cs so popular with the middle class. Nor does count the number of trips to foreign countries for an abortion (We can go shopping in the afternoon!) that was the preferred method of the wealthy.

    It is hard to imagine anyone who believes you can substantially reduce the number of abortions without properly educating people about sex and utilizing contraception.

    Abortion, the issue that just keeps giving and giving.

  • redbus

    Hey Kathy,I introduced an off-topic post about abortion on this thread since an important new poll by Pew Research showed a remarkable swing in public opinion on the issue even since last April. Strangely, nothing had yet appeared on TMV about this. Besides the CNN.com post that I linked above, here’s are two paragraphs from a Dan Gligoff article appearing in the (subscription only) digital edition of the Oct 2 U.S. New and World Report:Abortion rights supporters, meanwhile, are much less concerned about the issue than they were under George W. Bush. A third of liberal Democrats cited abortion as a critical issue in 2006,while just 8 percent do now, according to Pew. With an ally in the White House, Pew’s Smith says abortion rights supporters are “more relaxed.” That’s bad news for abortion rightsgroups, who are now fighting to keep abortion coverage in the proposed healthcare reform plans. In a sign that the president may be willing to compromise on the issue, he recently calledMichigan Rep. Bart Stupak, who’s leading an effort among antiabortion Democrats to strengthen the ban on government-funded abortion in healthcare reform. This week, Stupak finally secured a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after months of trying. It looks as if the Democratic Party may beshifting on abortion, too. So you and I can retread all the old abortion arguments in replies to each other, and I doubt we’ll make much headway. On the other hand, this poll appears to indicate that our already-got-my-mind-made-up conversation may not be typical. There may be a genuine public shift on the issue and – if there is – that will have electoral ramifications. If it’s a lasting trend, it’s bound to increase the power of the anti-abortion contingent of the Democratic Party. Color me a Bart Stupak Democrat!

    • kathykattenburg

      I agree that abortion rights activists have allowed themselves to be lulled into a false sense of security. The anti-choice movement is well-funded and has both political ideology and religious zealotry behind it — a deadly combination. I never underestimate that crowd.

      My point (or one of them) is simply that, when push comes to shove, women aren’t going back. We just aren’t. We remember too well what it was like for women pre-Roe v. Wade, and we ain’t goin’ there again. And I do also believe that anti-choicers will not be able, in the final analysis, to re-criminalize abortion without triggering a backlash. Legal abortion may be a hotly contested issue, and Congress can pretend that abortion is not a health issue and they can make it even harder for poor women and other vulnerable groups, like teenagers, to get abortions, but I don’t believe Roe v. Wade will be reversed or that abortion will become illegal again.

      And btw, I forgot to point this out, and I wasn’t going to post again just to point this one thing out, but since you mention the CNN article and bring the subject up again, I was struck by this quote:

      “This is great news. This poll shows that the pro-life movement is winning hearts and minds. Pro-lifers are making an effective case that all women deserve better than abortion and that every child deserves a chance to be born,” said Cathy Ruse, the senior fellow for legal studies at the anti-abortion Family Research Council in Washington.

      The paternalistic, infantilizing “women deserve better than abortion” is obviously incredibly offensive, but for right now I want to focus on the second part of Ruse’s assertion: “Every child deserves a chance to be born.”

      I thought that line was extremely revealing. “Every child deserves a chance to be born. A chance to be born. That’s it. Not “Every child deserves to be wanted and loved.” Not “Every child deserves to have a healthy start in life.” Not “Every child deserves at least the possibility of living past the first few days, weeks, or months of life.” Not “Every child deserves to have a mother who survives the child’s birth or whose health is not seriously damaged by the child’s birth.” Not any one of hundreds of rights that every child is owed for being brought into the world with no choice in the matter.

      No, the right that Ruse sees as supreme is the right to have a chance to be born. If the baby is stillborn, justice has been done because the baby still had a chance to be born. If the baby dies hours after birth, and the mother’s health is destroyed by a pregnancy that was doomed from the outset, justice has been served because the baby had “a chance to be born.” If the baby never gets to eat solid foods, sit up, crawl, or walk; can’t eliminate on her own, can’t move a single muscle, can’t talk; can’t show recognition of anything around her; has to be on medication to prevent devastating seizures that turn her face blue; has to be fed intravenously almost from birth; cannot cough or sneeze and so has to be aspirated regularly so the fluids that build up in her lungs don’t choke her to death; and if that child dies at the age of 3 never having actually lived in any meaningful sense of that word — by golly, Redbus, justice has been served, because that child had the chance to be born.

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