On March 30, 2011, Media Matters posted research debunking another video hoax by discredited right-wing activist Lila Rose. According to Rose, the new round of videos contradict statements Planned Parenthood officials made about the organization's work providing women with access to cancer screenings, including mammograms. At the time, we noted that the comments Rose highlighted were in no way at odds with the undisputed fact that Planned Parenthood provides women with access to these services.
Now, Andrew Breitbart's Retracto, the Correction Alpaca, is requesting a correction from Media Matters, accusing us of "fudg[ing] truth on Planned Parenthood services."
No such correction will be issued, as our initial piece was in fact accurate.
Retracto primarily takes issue with our statement that a Planned Parenthood clinic in Waco, TX "provides life-saving mammogram screening and ... diagnostic testing."
Live Action called two clinics in Waco, in addition to the one in Tucson, Arizona (heard on tape in the video below) and were told that no, the clinics do not provide mammogram screenings. In fact, Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas are not licensed to have mammogram machines:
Of the 14 Planned Parenthood abortion clinics in Texas, not a single one has either license or equipment.
Now, note the full context of what Cecile Richards said. Appearing on The Joy Behar Show to discuss efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, Richards noted:
If this bill ever becomes law, millions of women in this country are going to lose their health care access, not to abortion services, to basic family planning. You know, mammograms, cancer screenings, cervical cancer. [CNN, The Joy Behar Show, 2/21/11, via Nexis]
In a statement to Media Matters, Felicia Chase Goodman, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central Texas, said that through a grant provided by the Suan G. Komen Foundation, Planned Parenthood "provides referrals and pays for mammograms and diagnostic follow up treatment for our patients at area radiology and surgical clinics." Goodman said that last year alone, Planned Parenthood patients received 609 screening mammograms and 125 diagnostic mammograms.
In total, Planned Parenthood in Waco estimated that is has provided more than 2,000 mammograms since 2001, in collaboration with its partners.
It's not just Media Matters and Planned Parenthood who say that the Waco clinic provides cancer screenings; the Texas Department of Health says so. According to the department's Breast and Cervical Cancer Services (BCCS) Clinic Locator, numerous Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas provide Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening, including one in Waco.
What's more, a spring/summer 2008 newsletter from Planned Parenthood in Waco indicated that the clinic was approved "as one of the 200 Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening (BCSS) providers in Texas," listing mammogram screenings as one of the services it provides:
Oh what a year this has been so far! With a 21% increase in patient visits and significant growth in staff to meet this increased need, Planned Parenthood in Waco is busy. It is an exciting time to be a part of this remarkable organization and involved in work that carries with it such tremendous rewards.
JANUARY - We were approved as one of the 200 Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening (BCCS) providers in Texas. BCCS brings to low income/uninsured women over 50, services for breast screening, mammography and diagnostic follow-up. It also provides prevention services for low income/uninsured women 18 - 64 who have never been screened for cervical cancer (Pap smear) or who have not been screened in over 5 years. These older populations include women who we have not been funded to see previously since our family planning funds exclude women who are "not fertile." We have increased our clinical staff and contracted with local surgeons for follow-up in order to meet the goals of BCCS. BCCS is a wonderful complement to our collaboration with the Central Texas Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation through which we provide mammography for women under 50. We expanded our contracts with Waco Radiology, Hillcrest Center for Breast Screening and the Celia Mitchell Breast Center to meet the increased need that will come with the new BCCS initiative.
Retracto is relying on anti-abortion, right-wing blogs to make the case that no Texas Planned Parenthood offices offer mammograms. If you follow the link Retracto provides for the claim that "Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas are not licensed to have mammogram machines," you are taken to a post by "Williamson County Conservative," Holly Hansen, a self-proclaimed "Christian, Conservative, Republican Grassroots Activist."
If you follow the link for Retracto's claim that "[o]f the 14 Planned Parenthood abortion clinics in Texas, not a single one has either license or equipment," you are taken to the Texas Alliance for Life home page, which claims that "Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms because they have no mammogram machines." The alliance provides no sources to back up the claim.
Incidentally, Hansen's evidence that Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms is also the Texas Alliance for Life's home page.
It should be pretty clear why Media Matters won't be issuing a correction.