Right fears secret abortions for 13-year-olds in reform

The latest myth going around: Healthcare reform legislation would lead to abortion clinics in schools

Topics: Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., Healthcare Reform, War Room,

Wednesday night brought the latest installment of everyone’s favorite political drama: “Michele Bachmann tries to warn Americans about a threat that isn’t real.” Speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives, the Minnesota Republican warned parents everywhere that if Democrats’ healthcare reform legislation passes, school clinics will become controlled by Planned Parenthood and turned into sex clinics that promote abortions free of parental consent for 13-year-old girls (video of Bachmann’s comments is below).

Bachmann said:

And written in this bill is a provision whereby Planned Parenthood could become a proprietor for school-based clinics in every school across United States. These have been more accurately called school sex clinics … 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.

Bachmann’s argument is entirely untrue and both PolitiFact and Politico’s Glenn Thrush have done a thorough job debunking her claims. But she’s hardly the first conservative to advance this line of thinking. In fact, the specter of Planned Parenthood engaging in abortion bonanzas in America’s schools has been a staple of right-wing opposition to healthcare reform for a while now — though that doesn’t make the assertion any less of a lie.



The falsehood seems to have begun with a blogger named Peter Fleckenstein, writing on his blog Common Sense From a Common Man back in July. Fleckenstein alleged that Page 992 of the House healthcare bill contained language that would lead to the establishment of school clinics that could advise young girls to have abortions without parental input.

Conservative groups like the American Family Association and Liberty Counsel, a conservative group affiliated with Liberty University’s law school, then pushed the abortion clinic myth to wider right-wing audiences. One chain e-mail from the Liberty Counsel told parents, “[your] children will be indoctrinated and your grandchildren may be aborted!”

In actuality, the section of the bill at the root of the controversy states explicitly that the school clinics would have to abide by existing federal, state and local laws regarding parental consent. On top of that, the school clinics in question aren’t a new entity dreamed up by Democratic socialists intent on indoctrinating America’s youth. Rather, as PolitiFact has pointed out, the clinics have been around for 30 years. There are 2,000 such clinics across the country. None provide abortions and they generally serve students who live in areas with limited healthcare options. The healthcare reform legislation would just ensure that these clinics continue to receive funding.

However, as Thrush suggests, the fact that Bachmann’s allegations have no basis in reality might not keep Congress from overreacting.

“[N]one of the three bills in the House explicitly prohibit the use of the school-based clinics to steer kids to abortion clinics — so look out for an amendment, however statutorily superfluous, to be introduced by somebody as a way to wedge conservative Dems from the party’s liberal base,” Thrush writes. “Either that, or we’ll be hearing 30-second ads that say something like, ‘[Candidate X] voted for the Nancy Pelosi government takeover of health care, which will result in your 13-year-old granddaughter getting an abortion on the way home from school …’”

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>