The Media Research Center (MRC) drew an ugly and factually inaccurate comparison between billionaire Warren Buffett's charitable donations to women's health organizations and felon Kermit Gosnell, a convicted murderer who performed botched, illegal abortions.
A May 13 post from the Media Research Center (MRC) labeled Buffett the “billion-dollar king of abortion,” alleging that the Berkshire Hathaway CEO financed “abortion groups” to the tune of $1.2 billion via the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. The MRC piece, as well as a FoxNews.com op-ed written by MRC's Dan Gainor, tried to make the case that Buffett and convicted murderer Gosnell are two sides of the same abortionist coin:
May 13, 2014, marks one year since Philadelphia abortion Dr. Kermit Gosnell was convicted of first-degree murder “in the deaths of three babies who were delivered alive and then killed with scissors at his grimy, 'house of horrors' clinic,” according to the Associated Press. Gosnell instantly became the face of abortion in the prolife community.
But there's another, more recognizable face pushing abortion in the U.S. - liberal billionaire Warren Buffett. The so-called “Oracle of Omaha” has donated more than $1.2 billion to abortion organizations from 2001 to 2012.
That's equal to the cost of roughly 2.7 million first-trimester abortions - more than twice the number of abortions that occur in an entire year in the United States. Unlike Gosnell, however, everything Buffett has done has been entirely legal. But Buffett does share something else in common with the abortionist. Both their stories have been largely unreported.
Conservative outlets like FreeBeacon.com and The Drudge Report echoed MRC's accusations.
Of the donations cited by the MRC, the largest by far were directed toward Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes International ($289 million and $211 million, respectively), organizations whose primary functions are providing women's health services. Access to safe abortion services is an “essential, effective” aspect of medical care for women, and only three percent of Planned Parenthood's health services are abortion-related.
But it's the MRC's comparisons to Gosnell -- which tend to imply that Buffett has been funding crimes similar to Gosnell's -- that are truly irresponsible. Gosnell was convicted of crimes that far exceeded his provision of late-term abortion services and in no way resembled “the way in which later abortion procedures are performed in the United States,” according to reproductive health professor Dr. Tracy Weitz. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of abortions performed in the United States are in the first trimester. Nevertheless, MRC continues to trod the well-worn path of erroneously associating safe abortions with the crimes of a murderer. And for that matter, the well-worn path of attacking Buffett, who has long been the target of right-wing ire.