Tag: planned parenthood

Nicholas D. Kristoff, you got it right! “Beyond Pelvic Politics”

Beyond Pelvic Politics

By Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times, 2/11/2012

I MAY not be as theologically sophisticated as American bishops, but I had thought that Jesus talked more about helping the poor than about banning contraceptives.

The debates about pelvic politics over the last week sometimes had a patronizing tone, as if birth control amounted to a chivalrous handout to women of dubious morals. On the contrary, few areas have more impact on more people than birth control — and few are more central to efforts to chip away at poverty.

My well-heeled readers will be furrowing their brows at this point. Birth control is cheap, you’re thinking, and far less expensive than a baby (or an abortion). But for many Americans living on the edge, it’s a borderline luxury.

A 2009 study looked at sexually active American women of modest means, ages 18 to 34, whose economic circumstances had deteriorated. Three-quarters said that they could not afford a baby then. Yet 30 percent had put off a gynecological or family-planning visit to save money. More horrifying, of those using the pill, one-quarter said that they economized by not taking it every day. (My data is from the Guttmacher Institute, a nonpartisan research organization on issues of sexual health.)

One-third of women in another survey said they would switch birth control methods if not for the cost. Nearly half of those women were relying on condoms, and others on nothing more than withdrawal.

The cost of birth control is one reason poor women are more than three times as likely to end up pregnant unintentionally as middle-class women.

In short, birth control is not a frill that can be lightly dropped to avoid offending bishops. Coverage for contraception should be a pillar of our public health policy — and, it seems to me, of any faith-based effort to be our brother’s keeper, or our sister’s.

To understand the centrality of birth control, consider that every dollar that the United States government spends on family planning reduces Medicaid expenditures by $3.74, according to Guttmacher. Likewise, the National Business Group on Health estimated that it costs employers at least an extra 15 percent if they don’t cover contraception in their health plans.

And of course birth control isn’t just a women’s issue: men can use contraceptives too, and unwanted pregnancies affect not only mothers but also fathers.

This is the backdrop for the uproar over President Obama’s requirement that Catholic universities and hospitals include birth control in their health insurance plans. On Friday, the White House backed off a bit — forging a compromise so that unwilling religious employers would not pay for contraception, while women would still get the coverage — but many administration critics weren’t mollified.

Look, there’s a genuine conflict here. Many religious believers were sincerely offended that Catholic institutions would have to provide coverage for health interventions that the church hierarchy opposed. That counts in my book: it’s best to avoid forcing people to do things that breach their ethical standards.

Then again, it’s not clear how many people actually are offended. A national survey found that 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women use birth control at some point in their lives. Moreover, a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute reported that even among Catholics, 52 percent back the Obama policy: they believe that religiously affiliated universities and hospitals should be obliged to include birth control coverage in insurance plans.

So, does America’s national health policy really need to make a far-reaching exception for Catholic institutions when a majority of Catholics oppose that exception?

I wondered what other religiously affiliated organizations do in this situation. Christian Science traditionally opposed medical care. Does The Christian Science Monitor deny health insurance to employees?

“We offer a standard health insurance package,” John Yemma, the editor, told me.

That makes sense. After all, do we really want to make accommodations across the range of faith? What if organizations affiliated with Jehovah’s Witnesses insisted on health insurance that did not cover blood transfusions? What if ultraconservative Muslim or Jewish organizations objected to health care except at sex-segregated clinics?

The basic principle of American life is that we try to respect religious beliefs, and accommodate them where we can. But we ban polygamy, for example, even for the pious. Your freedom to believe does not always give you a freedom to act.

In this case, we should make a good-faith effort to avoid offending Catholic bishops who passionately oppose birth control. I’m glad that Obama sought a compromise. But let’s remember that there are also other interests at stake. If we have to choose between bishops’ sensibilities and women’s health, our national priority must be the female half of our population.

President Obama, Contraception & the First Amendment

“Under intense pressure from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, President Obama today said that the White House would not back down from its guarantee that insurance companies must cover contraception without co-pays.  Instead, the President announced that it would adjust the policy so that women who work for religiously-affiliated employers like Catholic hospitals can receive contraceptive coverage at no additional cost directly from their insurance companies, rather than from their employers.

Women asked the President to stand with us, and he did.  This policy protects women’s access to critical preventive health services without adding new charges.

While the policy already included an exemption for churches and houses of worship, Catholic hospitals and other religiously affiliated employers have lobbied for more.  The Bishops have made clear that they will oppose any policy that gives women insurance coverage for contraception, but Sister Carol Keehan, President of the Catholic Health Association, has been quoted in news reports saying that she supports the policy described today by the President.  Keehan is also a supporter of the overarching health reform law, the Affordable Care Act, and her support was critical to Congressional passage of the law in 2010, despite the bishops’ objections.” (Thank you,  Raising Women’s Voices)

The Right-Wing Opposition Has Already Launched an Attack
Already the anti-contraception fanatics are hard at work trying to overturn the entire contraceptive coverage policy. Anti-choice extremist Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) is tying all contraceptive coverage to a transportation bill, which the Senate could vote on at any time. Blunt’s approach is to say the very least, blunt…and extreme.

Blunt wants Congress to totally eliminate President Obama’s guarantee of access to affordable birth control. Instead, Blunt wants any employer or any health plan to be able to refuse coverage of birth control.
Call your Senators and tell them to oppose the Blunt Amendment!

An Interesting Piece of Information from The New York Times
Catholic Institutions Reluctantly Comply With N.Y. Law on Contraceptives Coverage

By Joseph Berger Published: February 10, 2012

Although Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York has been leading the national fight against requiring Roman Catholic hospitals, universities and charities to cover birth control in their health insurance plans for employees and students, some Catholic institutions in his own diocese and others throughout New York State have for 10 years been complying with state law mandating precisely that coverage.

The state began requiring contraception coverage in 2002, and Catholic institutions, after losing a court battle over the issue, have followed the law. Historically Catholic institutions like Fordham University, which is run by a lay board of trustees in the tradition of the Jesuit religious order, provide contraception coverage for employees and students.

Fordham, which has 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students, seeks to comply with Catholic teaching by barring its student health center from prescribing or dispensing birth control pills unless they are used for such conditions as severe acne or endometriosis, according to Bob Howe, Fordham’s director of communications. Students who seek birth control pills to prevent pregnancies must obtain prescriptions from a private doctor or a service like Planned Parenthood, and the college’s insurance carrier will then cover the pills under its standard reimbursement schedule.

“We currently follow New York State law,” Mr. Howe said. “For employees and students, we provide insurance coverage that includes contraception. That’s the law.”

New York is one of the 28 states that require insurance companies to cover contraception. According to the White House, Colorado, Georgia and Wisconsin have no exemptions from that requirement, while California, New York and North Carolina have limited religious exemptions, identical to the limited exemptions the Obama Administration proposed to put in place nationally.

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, referred questions about the archdiocese’s practices to Dennis Poust, a spokesman for the New York State Catholic Conference, who did not immediately return a call. But Mr. Poust was quoted in The Buffalo News as saying of the state’s requirement: “In many cases, there was no other choice but to comply under protest. None of it is voluntary. It is all under duress.”

There are no longer any Catholic hospitals in New York City; St. Vincent’s in Greenwich Village closed in 2010, and Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica, Queens, closed in 2009. A spokesman for Catholic Health Services of Long Island, which administers six hospitals, including St. Francis in Roslyn and Good Samaritan in West Islip,  said, “It is the policy of Catholic Health Services not to comment on political issues.”

Representatives of several other Catholic institutions in the region seemed leery about discussing how their insurance plans operated.

“The college’s institutional policies and practices are consistent with Catholic teaching,” said  Lenore Carpinelli, director of college relations for the College of New Rochelle, which was founded in Westchester County in 1904 by the Ursuline Sisters as the first college in the state for Catholic women. “We will be reviewing and evaluating the new regulations respectful of our commitment to our Ursuline Catholic mission and identity.”

The Komen Foundation: an Apology, Not a Reversal

When an Apology is Just an Apology

The Apology
Although the Komen Foundation has apologized, it has not actually reversed its decision. It will honor grants to which Komen has previously committed to for 2012 but it does not say anything about future funding.

Komen Foundation founder Nancy Brinker said, “Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.” This battle is far from over.

As The Huffington Post points out, Komen’s apology is not a promise to renew Planned Parenthood grants. It simply says, “continue to fund existing grants” to the organization — which it had already planned on doing — and to make it eligible for future grants. At no point in the press release does Brinker promise that Komen will renew grants to Planned Parenthood.”

The Explanantion
The Komen Foundation claimed the reason it had cut Planned Parenthood funding was because it had established new criteria for grant giving and that it would no longer give grants to organizations under investigation by local, state or federal governments.

The problem with that explanation is that the Komen Foundation currently gives $7.5 million in grants to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for cancer research; and as we all know, Penn State is under investigation. That grant would appear to violate  that new rule at Komen. (Mother Jones.) Oops.

Playing Politics with Women’s Health
There is no question that the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood was politically motivated.

It allowed political pressure—apparently coming from high up in its own organization—to betray its own 501(c)3 mission “…working together to save lives”.  The Komen Foundation launched an all-out attack on poor, young and uninsured women when it announced that it was cutting all grants to Planned Parenthood. This grant money was used by Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings.

This action was apparently taken at the direction of some right-wing extremist senior staff and board member.

In April 2011, Komen hired Karen Handel to be its new senior vice president for public policy. Handel’s extremist positions were not a secret. Handel had run unsuccessfully in 2010, on the Republican line, for governor of Georgia. Describing herself as a pro-life Christian, she ran on a platform to cut all public funding to Planned Parenthood even for non-abortion-related health services.

In addition, Nancy Brinker who is the founder of Komen, is a former Bush administration official, and we all remember the rabid anti-choice agenda of the Bush years. She is a major contriubtor to Republican officials.

Some Komen staff resigned after the decision was made in December.

The War on Women
Komen’s willingness to cut funding to Planned Parenthood highlights the ease with which a direct assault on women—particularly the poor, young and uninsured—can be launched.

The majority of those served by Planned Parenthood are uninsured. Unlike many private doctors, Planned Parenthood does not turn the poor and uninsured away.

Komen’s funding cuts would have directly attacked the wellbeing of the most vulnerable women. It was the Komen Foundation’s version of the Hyde Amendment.

Meet Westchester’s Own Pro-Choice Male Brigade!

We Must Protect Our Rights and Westchester
by Electing Strong, Independent Leaders! 
Meet Westchester’s Pro-Choice  Male Brigade!!

Bedford, Lewisboro, Mt. Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge & part of Somers.
Peter Harckham was first elected to the County Legislature in 2007 and has served as Majority Leader for the past two years. Harckham has proven himself to be a  strong ally who is able to work across party lines to build consensus without compromising the very values for which he was elected. Harckham is also endorsed by the NYS League  of Conservation Voters. His opponent promises to be a Yes-Man for Astorino and oppose sex ed and contraception for teens!
North  Castle, Pleasantville & Unincorporated Mt. Pleasant & parts of Briarcliff Manor, Sleepy Hollow and Unincorporated Greenburgh.
John Nonna has distinguished himself as a great legal mind and a friend to Choice. As a true public servant throughout his career—currently as a County Legislator, and previously as Mayor, Trustee and Judge—John Nonna has stood up for women’s rights.  Nonna’s opponent is an anti-choice extemist, seeking the Right to Life Party endorsement and opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman!In addition, Nonna’s opponent has no experience in government.
New Castle & parts of Somers & Yorktown.
Mike Kaplowitz has proven himself to be a strong supporter of the pro-choice community. His position as Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman made Kaplowitz keenly aware of the role the County plays in the fight to protect women’s reproductive rights. That understanding has served the women of Westchester well.  Kaplowitz’ anti-choice opponent is endorsed by Right to Life  Party and opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman and supports a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage.
The Village of Scarsdale & part of Harrison & part of White Plains.
Ryan has been an active and vocal advocate for Choice since his early days in the NYS Assembly. In his first campaign for the County Legislature, he pledged to continue fighting for a woman’s right to choose and he has done so without fail. Ryan has “more faith in women making the right decision for themselves than in government making it for them…” and believes, “a woman’s right to choose is absolute and should not be subject to legislation.” Ryan also serves on the Large Urban County Caucus in the National Association of Counties He is one of 35 county officials representing over 140 million people, living in the 100 largest counties in America, on matters before the federal government. Ryan’s opponent, although rated pro-choice, will not commit to supporting the clinic access bill that protects women as they enter and leave reproductive health centers. She says she’s a novice whose ideas are still cooking—but in reality, she has been politically active for years and served on Astorino’s transition team. Choice Matters’ choice is Bill Ryan!

New Pro-Choice Voices for the County Legislature!

Buchanan & parts of Yorktown, City of Peekskill & Unincorporated Cortlandt.
Michael Kane is a strong voice for reducing the size of county government responsibly. His commitment to women and families makes him particularly aware of the importance of childcare to working mothers, thus, his refusal to cut childcare funding irresponsibly because “every dollar cut from childcare costs Westchester taxpayers $3 more in food stamps, $5 in welfare, and $20 in shelter costs [because irrational childcare subsidy cuts force working women into unemployment.]” Kane’s anti-choice opponent is a rubber stamp for RTL Astorino’s anti-family anti-woman agenda.

Rye Brook, Port Chester, & part of Harrison.
Daniel Brakewood is committed to women’s reproductive health. As a current Port Chester trustee, Brakewood has proven himself to be an independent voice for his constituents. In contrast, Brakewood’s anti-choice opponent has said, even in his own literature, that he will be a [guaranteed] vote for [RTL] Astorino. That is not independent! Choice Matters endorses Daniel Brakewood.
Tuckahoe & Unincorporated Eastchester, & part of New Rochelle.
John Fitzpatrick
has served the people of Westchester as Mayor of Tuckahoe for two terms, Village Trustee, Planning Commissioner and Police Commissioner. He has made environmentally sustainable initiatives a trademark of his administration. He is pro-choice, fiscally conservative and an advocate for housing. Fitzpatrick’s opponent who is endorsed by the Right to Life Party, is an extremist who opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman. She also supports a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage.

Westchester Magazine Perpetuates Rep Hayworth Deception

In response to Westchester Magazine’s June article  claiming Hayworth is pro-choice (click here to read)

Nan Hayworth is not pro-choice. Prior to her election, she expressed support for restricting Choice, and support for the Stupak Amendment. After her election she has voted against reproductive rights multiple times:

– She voted for the Pence bill to cut all funding to Planned Parenthood and all of their cancer screenings, STI testing, birth control and more even though she knows that no federal funds go to abortion now because of the Hyde Amendment;
– She voted to cut all Title X funding and thus the family planning services provided to approximately five million women and men;
– She voted to overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The fact that she calls herself pro-choice would be baffling if we did not know she simply does it because the voters in her district (19 CD) would never have elected her if they had known she was anti-choice.

And another point, the Westchester Magazine article portrays Nan and her husband as this cute couple in a relationship where she goes to Washington and he stays home with the kids. The truth is that he is also a Washington player. He is Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Medical Group Association — a group that lobbies Congress, and thus his wife. I find the idea of a representative from our area being married to a lobbyist, voting on healthcare issues to be troubling.

Posted byJaney Lee, Board Member, WCLA-Choice Matters
(In Westchester County, WCLA-Choice Matters is the organization that actually does the homework to see if a candidate’s claim to be pro-choice is true or not. )

Republicans Vote Unanimously (along with 16 Dems) – Pass “Stupak on Steriods”

This week, ALL House Republicans, with the help of 16 Democrats, voted successfully to pass the greatest assault on women’s health to date—H.R. 3, the “Stupak on Steriods” bill .  It is a horrific expansion of government insertion in women’s health though mandates and tax penalties for families and small businesses which use private funds to buy insurance plans that include abortion coverage. House Republicans were unanimous in their assault on women.

Note: Nan Hayworth (R-19 CD) voted in support of this direct attack
on women. (Voters must remember that next Election Day!) (You can see a record of who voted how here.)
To Hear From Leaders who Believe in Women:
Click here to hear Congressman Engel’s (D-17 C.D.) and Congresswoman Lowey (D-18 C.D.) speak out in support of women and against H.R. 3.

H.R. 3 is actually an extreme attempt to eliminate access to and coverage of abortion services by: 1. Prohibiting federal and military employees from buying coverage (even with their own money); 2. Initiating rape audits if insurance is used to cover the procedure; 3. Limiting coverage of rape victims to only those who can prove forcible rape; 4. Allowing hospitals to watch women die if saving them means performing an abortion; and 5. Implementing financial barriers to cripple small businesses that offer employees health plans that include abortion coverage.

Only we–you and I–stand between Stupak on Steroids and the Senate. Click here to Support our Fight! We Must Fight Back with Everything We’ve Got!

In the Senate, extremist Republicans are already working to ensure H.R. 3 comes to the Senate floor.We, their constituents, must make our opposition to H.R.3 heard. CLICK HERE to contact your Senators. Tell them to oppose H.R. 3

New Yorkers:   To contact Senator Schumer:
Call 202-224-6542
To send him a message, click here.
To contact Senator Gillibrand:
Call (202) 224-4451
To send her a message, click here.

The Tea Party Congressional Reps Attack Women, Seniors and the Poor ALL in One Go!

On Friday, Tea Party favorite Republican Rep. of Wisconsin Paul D. Ryan’s budget was passed by a vote of 235 to 193. All Democrats and seven Republicans voted against it.

This budget attacks Medicare programs that serve those 65 and older, Medicaid health programs for the poor, and any funding for Planned Parenthood and Title X–WHILE CUTTING CORPORATE AND PERSONAL INCOME TAX RATES!

Clearly it was not enough to hit the poor with the Hyde Amendment and the slashing of funds to DC City residents, now they have to attack Planned Parenthood by cutting all of their funding.  Perhaps these extremists relish the idea of the poor not being able to get cancer screenings, breast exams and birth control.

This Tea Party-controlled Congress is showing the world that Social Darwinism rules. They are targeting the most vulnerable–the elderly, the poor, and women–while empowering corporations and the most wealthy.

Read more in The New York Times

New York’s Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Joins Forces with Other Female Senators to Protect Women’s Health

And They Say it Soooo Well!


Washington, DC—Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, together with Senate Democratic women, urged their Republican colleagues to vote against the upcoming resolutions that would eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood and roll back health care reform, and to end a continued legislative assault on women’s health care options. The Senators highlighted the devastating impacts these resolutions would have on women and families across the country.

“The election last November was not a mandate for any one political party or ideology,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). “It was a mandate for action – for solutions that will create jobs and get our country going again.  But what are the House Republicans focused on? Not creating jobs. Not growing our economy – but an assault on the rights of women, and health services for millions of American families. These votes to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal health care reform show a disregard for women. If Republicans continue their anti-woman agenda, they will continue to find a fight in the Senate.”

“Even though the Republicans want to take women back to the Dark Ages, we will not go,” Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) said. “We will fight them with every legislative tool at our disposal. Make no mistake: This entire process has not been about reducing the debt or the deficit – it’s been about reducing opportunity. The major constituencies that bear this burden are the women and children”

“I am proud to stand here with my Democratic women colleagues to send the message that we are not going to allow women to be thrown under the bus in this – or any other – budget debate,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). “As a woman and a mother, I am angry that women’s health care is even up for debate right now. I truly hope that once we win these votes and put the issues behind us, Republicans stop playing ideological political games, and work with us in good faith on the serious issues facing our country.”

“This is simply an opportunity for the right wing to turn back the clock and really sock it to American women,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). “To be clear, to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood is to stop providing critical health care to millions of American women, the majority of whom are poor and cannot afford the range of preventative health services provided in California and around the country.”

“While claiming to be focused solely on deficit reduction, Republicans have been pushing an extreme ideological agenda that threatens the health and lives of American women,” said Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), We will continue to stand up for the millions of women and families who rely on these preventive and life-saving health care services.”

“While our budget hangs in the balance, Republicans have chosen to wage a war on women’s health, and we are the last line of defense,” said Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA). “We should not be diverted by an extremist social agenda not supported by the majority of Americans. Let’s get back to putting Americans back to work, creating new jobs, and moving our economy forward.”

“Votes on unrelated political issues are a distraction from the real debate over the budget, which itself is a distraction from what we should be talking about–creating jobs,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). “It’s very troubling that a vote to cut cancer screenings and routine care for women was what the Republicans demanded in exchange for not shutting down the government.”

“Just days after a bipartisan budget agreement, I am frustrated that the Senate will spend valuable time on a partisan measure that threatens to take away vital health services for millions of vulnerable American women,” Senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) said. “Last year, North Carolina Planned Parenthood facilities performed more than 11,000 breast and cervical cancer screenings and 18,000 STD tests for women who could not otherwise afford these services. I hope my colleagues will stop playing political Russian Roulette with women’s health services and instead focus on a bipartisan, comprehensive plan to reduce our long-term debt.”

“In some parts of New Hampshire, Planned Parenthood is the only provider of preventive health care services to low-income women,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). “It’s going to be far worse for patients and more expensive for the government if we eliminate this funding.” (Press Release Issued 4/13/11)

Congress Trades Away DC Women’s Reproductive Rights (sounds like a slavery-like deal to me)

To avoid a government shutdown, our Congressional representatives agreed to deprive Washington DC women of city monies to fund abortion. Had it not been for the DC mayor and certain city council reps, this atrocity would never have come to light.

When all reproductive rights’ eyes were on the funding of Title X and Planned Parenthood, Congress pulled a fast one.  They included in the budget agreement a prohibition of the use of City funds–not Federal funds–but DC’s own money to pay for abortion.

DC residents did not have a problem with this allocation of funds.  The clear majority of the population support their mayor and his budget that respects the needs of the poor.

Because DC has special standing as a non-state, Congress could do this. DC women were the proverbial sacrificial lamb.

Only because the Mayor Vincent Gray of DC and six City Council people including the Chair demonstrated and were arrested did this horrific agreement ever get the attention of the media.

As Gray said so well, “If this isn’t taxation without representation, I don’t know what is!”

Anti-Choicers Stop At Nothing – Fool Washington Post to Promote Their Agenda

“Anti-Abortion Sting Video Fools Washington Post, No One Else” (from Forbes.com)

“The conservative “gotcha” video* whose claims fall apart upon close inspection is fast becoming a well-established trope. So perhaps it’s a sign of learning that the latest entry in the genre, which “exposes” the lack of mammogram services at most Planned Parenthood clinics, only snookered one mainstream media outlet: the Washington Post.

The video is the work of the Live Action, an anti-abortion group that has been lobbying fervently in support of a Republican-led effort to defund Planned Parenthood. Live Action’s founder, Lila Rose, is an activist-provocateur in the mold of James O’Keefe, he of the ACORN and NPR stings.

In the video, Live Action’s agent calls various Planned Parenthood clinics and attempts to schedule a mammogram, only to be told time and again that they’re not available. “[C]ontrary to the claims of Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards and other supporters of the nation’s largest abortion chain, the organization does not provide mammograms for women,” declares the group — proof, it says, that Planned Parenthood’s claims to provide comprehensive reproductive health services are hollow.

The only problem is there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that anyone in an official capacity at Planned Parenthood has ever claimed the organization does provide mammograms at its clinics — only that it conducts breast cancer screenings and refers patients needing mammograms to facilities where they can get them.

Live Action’s video shows Richards, during an appearance on HLN’s “Joy Behar Show,” saying that a bill before congress, H.R. 1, would cause “millions of women” to lose their access to “basic family planning — you know, mammograms, cancer screenings, cervical cancer [screenings].” That’s a solid assertion: H.R. 1 would have defunded President Obama’s healthcare bill, which, among other things, provides insurance coverage for preventive care for women.

I searched through Factiva looking for examples of anyone from Planned Parenthood claiming its clinics offer mammograms and found nothing. I emailed and called Live Action to ask if it can cite any such instances; I’ve yet to hear back. So it’s a non-story: Party A proves Party B doesn’t provide thing Party B never claimed to provide. Doubtless that’s why The New York Times, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and other major outlets gave the whole thing a pass, leaving the usual right-wing outlets — Fox News’s Sean Hannity, the Washington Times, etc. — to crow about it to each other, and the liberal watchdog group Media Matters to pick it apart.

Yet somehow the Washington Post got pulled in sans skepticism, running a story on page A4 headlined “Planned Parenthood Challenged on Purported Mammogram Claim.” What, you may wonder, is a “purported” claim? Surely in this era of 360 degree media, any claim made in public must yield a digital paper trail? Why not, then, save the reader the work of figuring out whether that “purported” claim was ever made, and save the copy desk the extra headline space?

I asked the Post’s reporter, Rob Stein, those questions and whether, in effect, he’d been duped into treating a lazy piece of propaganda as news. “I’d prefer to let the story speak for itself,” he told me.

If only it did.”