Updated Oct 18 at 9:10pm EST to correct statements about the timing of the Planned Parenthood statement and Live Action’s investigation and to add additional information.
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 18, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The day before hundreds of pro-life activists prepared to flood Planned Parenthood’s offices with requests to schedule a mammogram, the organization issued a statement admitting that they do not offer the cancer screening procedure at any of their facilities.
The calls were placed today as part of “Call Planned Parenthood to Schedule Your Imaginary Mammogram Day” – an event organized by pro-life activists in response to President Obama’s statement during the presidential debate Tuesday that the abortion organization offers mammograms.
“There are millions of women all across the country, who rely on Planned Parenthood for, not just contraceptive care, they rely on it for mammograms, for cervical cancer screenings,” the president had said, repeating a claim he had made earlier this summer in an interview with Glamour magazine.
But Obama isn’t the only one.
The notion that Planned Parenthood offers mammograms is one of the most enduring myths about the abortion giant. The claim is regularly trotted out by pro-abortion politicians eager to defend taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, but wary of invoking its controversial status as the country’s leading provider of abortions.
And it’s no wonder the myth persists. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards herself sowed confusion by citing “mammograms” among her organization’s services in February last year.
Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life activist, and one of the organizers of the “Call Planned Parenthood” day, told LifeSiteNews.com that she and other organizers estimate that more than 1,000 calls have been placed today to schedule mammograms. More than 1,800 people replied to a Facebook event page saying that they would participate in the event, with another 150 responding “maybe.”
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Johnson described the event as “extremely successful,” pointing to Planned Parenthood’s statement as a major victory.
Pro-life groups have been hot to expose the false mammogram claim ever since Richards’ “mammogram” remark, which was made in response to a proposed bill to cut Planned Parenthood’s funding in February 2011. In reaction the pro-life organization Live Action called dozens of Planned Parenthood clinics to schedule a mammogram, only to discover that not one of the clinics offered the procedure.
The mammogram issue became topical again earlier this year, when Planned Parenthood tangled with the breast cancer awareness organization Komen for the Cure. When Komen announced they were cutting their donations to Planned Parenthood, abortion activists erupted in outrage, arguing that the cut was politically motivated and that it would prevent women from obtaining cancer screenings.
But yesterday, Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, admitted in a statement that her organization does not perform, and only refers for mammograms.
However, she touted the fact that Planned Parenthood does perform “clinical breast exams” – the same breast exam that a woman can do on herself at home.
“For many women, Planned Parenthood is the only health care provider they will see all year, and thus the only way they will get a referral for a mammogram,” said Nucatola in Planned Parenthood’s defense.
Abby Johnson told LifeSiteNews that Americans need to “know the truth about an organization that receives almost half a billion dollars of their tax money.”
“They have been told so many lies over and over again, it is hard to determine what is truth,” she said. “This event is simply a way to force Planned Parenthood to tell the truth…plain and simple.”
Johnson recounted that some of the pro-life callers told her how they were “really shaken to the core.”
“I think it became very real to them…yes, they were calling to expose Planned Parenthood, but they were also making a phone call to a place that TODAY is killing children.”
Many of the pro-life callers have posted their experiences to the Facebook event page. One common thread in their comments is that Planned Parenthood facilities across the country are reporting that they have been inundated with calls to schedule mammograms today.
“The person I spoke with today sounded like she’s been dealing with a lot of these calls today. Great job, everyone!” wrote one participant. Another said that the Planned Parenthood receptionist asked her, “Do you know that you’re about the 20th person to do this today?”
However, Johnson also recounted that many of the callers took the opportunity to offer Planned Parenthood employees a chance to get out of the abortion industry. Johnson’s own charity, And Then There Were None, focuses on providing the support abortion workers need to leave the business.
“We are praying that not only will this even bring accountability to Planned Parenthood, but will also open the eyes of many workers who are complicit in their lies. And if they do leave, we will be here for them,” said Johnson.