The Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion organization, has been accused of using "half-truths" and "misleading" data in its new ad against Planned Parenthood (video below).
In a March 26 piece entitled "More lies on Planned Parenthood," The Washington Post's editorial board said the ad features "distortions about breast-cancer screenings and vital health services offered at Planned Parenthood health centers."
The ad, released on Feb. 23, begins by asking, "What is planned Parenthood really about?"
The ad then asks if Planned Parenthood does breast cancer screenings, and shows a 2015 clip of Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards stating that there are no mammogram machines at Planned Parenthood centers.
The Washington Post reported in 2015 that Planned Parenthood, according to its annual report, provided 487,029 breast exam services to check for cancerous lumps or changes for women in 2013. Planned Parenthood does not perform mammograms, but does refer women for mammograms.
The Susan B. Anthony List ad also asks if Planned Parenthood offers prenatal care, and then plays an audio recording of a Planned Parenthood employee in Merrillville, Indiana, saying, "No, we don't do prenatal services. It's called Planned Parenthood. I know it's kind of deceiving."
The clip was part of an undercover sting operation by Live Action, another anti-abortion group, in January.
Mary Alice Carter, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, told The New York Times in January that Planned Parenthood has been targeted by these types of anti-abortion videos before.
"It is safe to say that not every single one of our health centers provides prenatal care, and we’ve never said otherwise," Carter added.
The Times noted that a Planned Parenthood report from 2015 said eight of its affiliates provided 17,419 individual prenatal services.
The Susan B. Anthony List ad said Planned Parenthood had been under a federal investigation for selling "baby body parts."
The Washington Post editorial board noted the investigations came up empty:
Three Republican-led congressional investigations, 13 states and a Texas grand jury all could find no substance to claims about the alleged sale of "baby body parts," which gained currency through videos released by anti-abortion activists.
The "baby body parts" was a reference to fetal-tissue donation, which has been legal for decades.
The Post's editorial board also said the ad had "omissions, such as the fact that abortions, which constitute a small part of the organization’s services, are not paid for (with rare exceptions) with federal funds."
The editorial board also took issue with the ad's support of women's health care clinics as a substitute for Planned Parenthood:
The ad’s most pernicious distortion centers on the argument that Congress should redirect the federal dollars that go to Planned Parenthood to "real health-care centers for women."
Studies and real-life practice have established that there simply are not enough community health centers to fill the gap that would be created if Planned Parenthood lost Medicaid funds.
The truth is that a cutoff would tear a huge hole in the safety net for the 2.5 million patients -- the majority of them low-income -- who each year go to Planned Parenthood centers for basic medical needs.
Miranda Yaver, a lecturer in the department of political science at Yale University, noted in an March 27 opinion piece for The Washington Post that her own analysis found that "the more Planned Parenthood clinics in a state in a given year, the fewer teen births and STD diagnoses."
She added: "I find similar effects of Planned Parenthood clinic access on the health outcomes of HIV diagnoses and reliance on emergency room care."