An Iowa fact checker rated a pro-life congresswoman’s statement as “mostly false” even while confirming that what U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks said actually is true about a Democrat-backed bill allowing abortions up to birth.
The “fact check” from the Daily Iowan, a University of Iowa newspaper, considered statements by the Iowa Republican about a pro-abortion bill that passed the U.S. House in July.
“I also spoke this week against the radical left’s abortion bill that would permit abortion up until delivery,” Miller-Meeks wrote in her July newsletter. “This is only allowed in several countries, including China and North Korea. The power to regulate abortion should be left to the voters and state legislators.”
During the House debate on the bill, Miller-Meeks also advocated for “the sanctity of life,” saying, “This concept is so novel and repugnant to the Democrats that they would put forward a radical and extreme abortion bill that would permit abortion even up until birth for any reason.”
The Daily Iowan claimed the congresswoman misled voters about the bill allowing abortions up to birth. It rated her statements “mostly false.”
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But the “fact check” contradicted itself when it acknowledged that the bill would do what Miller-Meeks said it would.
“A reading of the bill shows that H.R. 8296 permits abortion up until delivery,” the newspaper admitted, pointed to language in the bill that states late-term abortions are allowed “when, in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider, continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health.”
However, the newspaper claimed Miller-Meeks still is wrong because she “glosses over a crucial qualifier: The bill only would allow such abortions under extreme circumstances, in which medical professionals determine that the mother’s life or health is at risk.”
The newspaper did not provide facts or examples to back up its “extreme circumstances” claim. Even if it did that would not prove Miller-Meeks’ statements to be incorrect.
The only evidence that the Daily Iowan could come up with was the claim that late-term abortions are “rare.” It pointed to Centers for Disease Control data that shows less than 1 percent of abortions in 2019 occurred after 21 weeks of pregnancy.
“Such situations account for a tiny fraction of all abortions, federal data shows. Ignoring this qualifier is misleading. The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression, so we rate it Mostly False,” the fact checker concluded.
However, the newspaper is guilty of doing what it accused Miller-Meeks of – leaving out an important part of the picture. Late-term abortions may be a small percent of all abortions, but approximately 9,000 late-term abortions are done on viable, fully-formed unborn babies every year, based on data from the CDC and the Guttmacher Institute. That is hardly “rare.”
The other problem is the “health” exception in the bill – something the fact checker did not mention. Pro-life legal experts often warn that exceptions for the health of the mother are overly broad and allow for basically any abortion. Some abortionists say pregnancy itself is a health condition and use it to justify elective abortions when both mother and unborn baby are healthy.
Growing evidence confirms that many late-term abortions are elective, too. A new study from ANSIRH, a pro-abortion research group at the University of California, found that many women abort their unborn babies in the third trimester for the same reasons women have abortions earlier in pregnancy.
Late-term abortionist Martin Haskell, who is credited with inventing the partial-birth abortion procedure, said in a 1993 interview with American Medical News: “I’ll be quite frank: most of my abortions are elective in that 20-24 week range…. In my particular case, probably 20 percent are for genetic reasons. And the other 80 percent are purely elective.”
In 2013, Diana Greene Foster, a well-known pro-abortion researcher at the University of California San Francisco, wrote similarly that “data suggest that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment. Indeed, we know very little about women who seek later abortions.”
More recently, articles the Associated Press and New York Magazine have featured stories about women getting elective late-term abortions at 26 weeks and 28 weeks, respectively; both mothers were healthy and carrying healthy babies. Former abortion workers like pro-life leader Abby Johnson have shared evidence of elective late-term abortions, too.
Miller-Meeks was correct when she described just how radical the pro-abortion bill is.
Democrat leaders and many mainstream news outlets portray the bill, the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act, as an effort to simply “codify the right to an abortion” in response to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. But pro-life advocates, who nicknamed the legislation the Abortion Without Limits Up to Birth Act, said it would go beyond Roe and get rid of almost all laws that protect unborn babies.
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