Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Political Fact checking the fact checkers on Scott Walker’s “small government” support for allowing pharmacists to refuse to sell contraception.

I dare you anyone reading this to find a blanket statement from Planned Parenthood that insinuates Scott Walker would allow pharmacists to block contraception in ALL CASES!!!

PolitiFact starts with this setup:

jsonline: Planned Parenthood Advocates, the lobbying and political action arm of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, is painting Barrett’s rival, GOP nominee Scott Walker, as "just too extreme." In a flier mailed to voters, it frames Walker’s views this way:

"Scott Walker tried to pass a law to allow pharmacists to block women’s access to birth control."

Is that really the case?
My own fact checking says yes. PolitiFact even confirms it's true, but then after a convoluted analysis, claims Planned Parenthood is saying Walker would allow a total block on contraception. That's just not true, according to their own research:

Planned Parenthood Advocates spokeswoman Amanda Harrington said her organization’s statement about Walker is based on Assembly Bill 168, a measure Walker sponsored in 2001 while serving in the state Assembly. It would have applied to pharmacists and other health care providers … But both Harrington and Matt Sande of Pro-Life Wisconsin say the protections for pharmacists in Walker’s bill would have applied to the dispensing of all types of birth control. Planned Parenthood says flatly: Pharmacists would have been able to block women from getting birth control. Walker says he supports allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill emergency contraception prescriptions on moral grounds.

The claim by Planned Parenthood is still off the mark. In an effort to paint Walker as extreme, the group’s lobbying arm says in a direct mail piece that Walker "tried to pass a law to allow pharmacists to block women’s access to birth control." That bill might have made it more difficult for some women to get contraceptives at some pharmacies, depending on who was on duty. But words matter -- the possible narrowing of access to birth control in some cases isn’t the same as blocking it in all cases.

We rate the claim as Barely True.

PolitiFact is “Pants on Fire” wrong.

The final paragraph’s quote from Planned Parenthood, "tried to pass a law to allow pharmacists to block...birth control" does not suggest, as they claim, to "blocking it in ALL cases." It ALLOWS a pharmacist to refuse the sale, it isn’t a total block.

Their "Barely true" conclusion is wrong, based on all the statements of proof supplied by supporters of the failed Walker bill, and the exact language of Planned Parenthood.

The response from PolitiFact for drawing the wrong conclusion:
The statement in question provided no mitigating words … such as “limit access” to birth control or “block access in some cases.” I’m sure you understand that the approach of campaign ads and literature is to make the strongest statement possible.
The role of PolitiFact has been, and will continue to be, to help readers
understand the full context of the matter. You are free to disagree with our
conclusion, as are others.

The sad fact is these “fact check” gimmicks are deceptive and are removed from reality. Maybe they should try a new category like "In your Face Obvious."
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