Fox News’ Fox & Friends attempted to fact check statements made at the Democratic National Convention about Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Planned Parenthood, and birth control, but instead managed to push three lies about women’s health in under three minutes.
Fox’s Democratic Convention Fact Check Pushes Three Lies About Women’s Health In Under Three Minutes
MYTH: Mike Pence Didn’t Sign A Law Requiring Fetal Funerals
Fox Guest: It's A “Ghoulish” Lie That Pence Required Fetal Funerals. Fox News guest John McCormack of The Weekly Standard slammed Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy’s comments during the convention that Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence signed a law that would have “forced women to hold funerals for fetuses, even in some cases after a miscarriage.” McCormack called the claim “a lie and a ghoulish one at that.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/29/16]
FACT: Pence Signed A Law Requiring Women To Seek Funerary Services For A Fetus
Vox: The “Truly Bizarre” Law Was “Too Extreme” For Some Pro-Life Republicans. In March 2015, Mike Pence signed the House Enrolled Act 1337, which required fetal tissue, either from an abortion or a miscarriage, to be cremated or buried. The law went as far as requiring women who had a miscarriage at home, to save the blood and tissue, and bring it to a funeral home. The law was later blocked from going into effect by a federal judge, who said it violated a woman’s right to choose. From a July 14 Vox article:
It’s no secret that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s reported pick for the Republican vice presidential nomination, opposes abortion rights. But this year he signed an anti-abortion bill that even some pro-life Republicans thought was too extreme, and which was blocked from going into effect late last month by a federal judge because it violated women’s right to choose.
The law did something truly bizarre. It would have basically forced women to seek funerary services for a fetus — whether she’d had an abortion or a miscarriage, and no matter how far along the pregnancy was. The law Pence backed would have required all fetal tissue to be cremated or buried, an unprecedented measure in state law. The law also banned abortion if the fetus had a “disability” like Down syndrome, which would have also denied women the right to end a pregnancy in the event of more serious fetal anomalies.
The wording of the burial provision meant that technically, even if a woman had a miscarriage at eight weeks of pregnancy at home, she would have to keep the blood and tissue, take it to a hospital, and have it buried or cremated by a funeral home. [Vox, 7/14/16]
MYTH: Planned Parenthood Was “Implicated” In “Selling” Fetal Organs
Fox Guest: Planned Parenthood “Was Implicated In Selling The Organs Of Aborted Babies.” McCormack claimed Planned Parenthood “was implicated in selling the organs of aborted babies” after a series of doctored videos attempted but failed to show the organization selling fetal tissue for profit. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/29/16]
FACT: State And Federal Investigations Cleared Planned Parenthood Of All Wrongdoing
U.S. Dept. Of Health And Human Services: There Are “No Known Violations Of The Country's Fetal Tissue Laws.” In response to an inquiry by Republican Sens. Joni Ernst (IA) and Roy Blunt (MO), the Department of Health and Human Services told Congress that they “know of no violation of [tissue] laws in connection with the research done at our agencies.” From an August 15, 2015, Politico article:
The Obama administration says there are no known violations of the country's fetal tissue laws among government researchers or the companies that supply the tissue.
“Currently, we know of no violation of these laws in connection with the research done at our agencies,” Jim Esquea, assistant secretary for legislation at HHS, wrote in a letter to Sens. Joni Ernst and Roy Blunt, obtained by POLITICO. "Furthermore ... we have confirmed that HHS researchers working with fetal tissue obtained the tissue from non-profit organizations that provided assurances to us that they are in compliance with all applicable legal requirements.
HHS has gotten re-affirmations from government researchers and government-funded researchers that their tissue procurement is done in accordance with the tissue laws. And it got assurances from the companies that provide that fetal tissue to researchers at NIH and FDA that they are obtaining the fetal tissue and organs in compliance with federal laws, the letter says. [Politico, 8/16/15]
At Least 13 States Have Also Found No Wrongdoing By Planned Parenthood In Its Handling Of Fetal Tissue. At least 13 states investigated Planned Parenthood following the release of the deceptively edited videos which falsely claimed to show Planned Parenthood profiting from the sale of fetal tissue. All 13 states found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood, declaring the organization to be “fully compliant with state and federal laws.” [Media Matters, 8/24/15]
MYTH: Republicans Don’t Support Women Being Fired Over Birth Control Use
Fox Guest: “Everyone Knows That The Issue With Birth Control Doesn't Involve Bosses Firing People.” In response to EMILY’s List president Stephanie Schriock’s statement that Republicans would let a boss fire a woman for using birth control, McCormack spun Schriock’s words to claim “everyone knows” the arguments surrounding birth control “doesn’t involve bosses firing people.” McCormack claimed Schriock was referring to a federal case that attempted to “force” religious groups to pay for birth control, which he argued violated their “religious conscious.” McCormack proceeded to claim the Democratic Party can’t find “a single example” of someone who has been fired for using birth control. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/29/16]
FACT: House Republicans Struck Down DC Law Prohibiting Employers From Firing Employees For Birth Control Use
Wash. Post: House Of Representatives Attempted To Strike Down D.C. Law Prohibiting Reproductive Discrimination. In April 2015, the House of Representatives voted to overturn the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act, calling the issue one of “religious liberty.” Under the Washington, D.C., law employers were unable to discriminate based on contraception and reproductive choices. From an April 30, 2015, Washington Post article:
A divided House of Representatives voted along party lines late Thursday to strike down a D.C. law on ideological grounds for the first time in almost 35 years.
Republican opponents of the measure, which bans discrimination over employees’ reproductive decisions, said it constituted a liberal attack on antiabortion groups in the nation’s capital.
The effort, begun by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) in the days before he launched his presidential campaign, sparked a fierce debate on the floor of the House late Thursday, with Democrats blasting the Republican move as an outrageous infringement on women’s reproductive rights and privacy.
The final vote was 228 to 192. with 13 Republicans siding with Democrats and three Democrats backing the Republican measure.
Citing the strong convictions of many House Republicans about the D.C. measure, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) brought the issue to a vote on the floor even though Senate action on a companion measure would not come in time to stop the D.C. bill from becoming law next week.
The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act broadens the definition of discrimination in the District to include an employee’s reproductive health decisions. Under the law, employers will not be able to discriminate against employees who seek contraception or family planning services. Employers also cannot act against an employee when they know she has used medical treatments to initiate or terminate a pregnancy.
Some conservatives have interpreted the act to mean that employers in the District, including churches and antiabortion groups such as March for Life, could eventually be required to provide coverage for contraception and abortions. The D.C. Council passed a temporary fix to make it clear that religious organizations would not be responsible for such medical care, but Republicans said the fix was insufficient. [The Washington Post, 4/30/15]