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Martha MacCallum Frames Planned Parenthood Defunding As "States' Rights"

Reported by Priscilla - June 7, 2011 -

As the mouthpiece for the anti-choice right wing, Fox "News" is always willing to promote what's hot in anti-choice issues. The newest and hottest issue for those who are waging an all out assault on women's reproductive freedom is the defunding of Planned Parenthood because as part of its gynecological services, it provides abortions which are still (in spite of the anti-choice zealots) legal. But because the group, to whom and for whom Fox "News" exists, hates abortion and birth control, they want to shut down Planned Parenthood by defunding it. Their attempts to do so on a federal level were unsuccessful - despite the prediction of anti-choice Bill O'Reilly who predicted that it would come to pass. But recently, the anti-choice Indiana Governor, Mitch Daniels, signed a law which strips funds from Indiana's Planned Parenthood. As this contravenes federal law, HHS has warned Indiana that it could lose all its Medicaid funding as a result. Fox "News" is on it and is advancing the anti-choice meme that this is a matter of states rights, screw Federal HHS law. Despite being an official "news" reporter, Martha MacCallum, dutiful handmaiden for whatever right wing message is being promoted, framed the issue - during what appeared to be a "fair & balanced" discussion which allowed MacCallum to, in a deft and subtle way, work in the anti-choice agitprop.

Last Friday, on "America Live," MacCallum interviewed Jehmu Green from the Women's Media Center and Rich Lowry from the right wing National Review. The chyron was interesting in its choice of words: "WH Blasts Indiana for Cutting Planned Parenthood Funding." (It merely sent a letter citing Federal law and warning of the consequences of ignoring it.However, anti-choice groups, such as the Susan B Anthony list, describe what happening as "strong arming") MacCallum splained that "the federal government is giving money to Indiana to disperse, to provide health care to Medicaid beneficiaries; but Indiana voted, in their legislature, that they didn't want their money to go to any place that provided abortions. That's how the vote went in Indiana. Now they're saying that's a right in our state to disperse this money as we see fit." Note - MacCallum didn't mention anything about the federal policy conflict involved in this legislation. Jehmu Greene did provide the background. After Lowry said that Planned Parenthood shouldn't get any money because they are a "pro-abortion ideological organization" (Oh, the irony - he's saying this on a "news" network that is ideologically anti-abortion). He then lied when he said that Planned Parenthood lies about its abortion data because it's a "huge part of its business."

Jehmu Green spoke of Planned Parenthood's services to low income women and how they won't be able to access the service if Planned Parenthood is eliminated. After Lowry said that he didn't want his tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood (so he's cool with tax dollars going to an endless war but not to poor women who need gynecological care? - nice!), Martha wrapped the anti-choice meme up in a nice pretty ribbon. She said that we may see, as previously noted by Lowry, a division between the abortion services and other gynecological services at Planned Parenthood because "there are a lot of people who very much do not want to see their tax dollars go that way and raises, it's a states rights question, in my view" (ROFLMAO - it's not your view, it's a Fox talking point - pulleeze). She ended the segment as she began it by reinforcing the states rights meme which is the anti-choice meme and the Fox "News" message: "If the state legislature has voted it, that that's how they want to spend their money, then it's clearly an issue that we may see move up into the higher court system."

Comment: As a "fair & balanced" "news" person, shouldn't MacCallum have attempted, in her summary, to reference the FACT that what Indiana is doing is violating federal law which doesn't permit states to pick and choose which Medicaid services will receive federal reimbursement and "choosing where Medicaid patients can use the federal health plan?" Nah, who cares about being "fair and balanced" when you have a right wing (in this case anti-choice) message to promote!

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