Many conservative lawmakers want nothing more than to see Planned Parenthood completely defunded and out of operation. This was made clear by Senate Republicans' recent healthcare proposals that would have withheld federal funds from Planned Parenthood for a year and President Trump telling the organization in March it could keep its funding if it stopped performing abortions. And it was reiterated again on Tuesday when Rep. Tim Walberg flat-out lied to his constituents about the services the healthcare provider offers.
At a town hall in his home state, the Michigan Republican said the "majority of work" Planned Parenthood does is abortions.
"The bottom line is," he said, "there is no reason we pay for an abortion entity to carry on their main function, and that being abortion."
Many people in the crowd started shouting as he spoke, shaking their heads "no." One woman stood up and yelled as she stormed out, "This is not true. This is a lie that he's saying about Planned Parenthood."
And she was right — abortions make up just 3% of the services Planned Parenthood provides, according to its latest annual report. Any way you slice it, 3% never constitutes a "majority of work," as Walberg claimed.
"It’s clear Rep. Walberg’s constituents aren’t buying his lies, and are furious at his votes to strip people of healthcare," Erica Sackin, Planned Parenthood's political communications director, told Refinery29. "The fact is Planned Parenthood is a leading provider of reproductive healthcare and sex education across the country."
Walberg acknowledged that no federal dollars go toward abortion, but maintained that he doesn't think Planned Parenthood should get any funding until it stops providing abortion services. In reality, STI testing and treatment and contraception constitute the majority of services the organization provides each year.
According to Planned Parenthood's website, 80% of its patients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancies. So, if Walberg wants to focus on the real majority of Planned Parenthood's work, it's actually helping prevent abortions. Studies show that access to contraception reduces rates of abortion, and Colorado proved this when its abortion rate among teenagers dropped 42% after teens and low-income women were offered free long-term birth control.
Walberg and other politicians who want to defund Planned Parenthood aren't interested in stopping abortions; they're interested in limiting women's ability to make choices about their bodies and where they get healthcare.
Sackin said, "Women in this country are sick and tired of having their basic health and rights attacked."