PolitiFact has a partisan tendency to come running to Biden's defense, and a liberal tendency to “fact check” arguments about Democrats backing abortion in the third trimester. This happened again on Wednesday to Derrick Van Orden, a Republican congressional candidate in Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district who narrowly lost in 2020.
PolitiFact cried “Mostly False” over a tweet that says Joe Biden “will force Americans to pay for abortion — on demand — up to birth.” The subheadline summarized “Van Orden mischaracterizes what dropping the Hyde Amendment would mean for paying for abortions.” The tweet came on June 13:
In a single election cycle we went from the most Pro-Life President in history to one that will force Americans to pay for abortion – on demand – up to birth. @RepRonKind is good with this.
I absolutely am not.
You want contrast, there it is. https://t.co/7hYPMeRNjI
— Derrick Van Orden (@derrickvanorden) June 13, 2021
So let's review:
1. Is Trump the most pro-life president in history? You'd probably start in 1973 with Roe v. Wade, and start with Supreme Court nominations. That would rule out Nixon, Ford, Reagan (with O'Connor), and George H.W. Bush (Souter). Your main quibble would be George W. Bush. But let's stipulate: This is a Republican campaign tweet drawing a contrast with Biden.
2. Is Ron Kind for abortions? Yes, he has a 100 percent rating with NARAL Pro-Choice America. PolitiFact didn't find this worth checking at all, which is a curious. They didn't even quote this part of the tweet. Hmmmmmmmm.
3. Is Biden for abortions 100 percent? Biden's switch to support repealing the Hyde Amendment — prohibiting taxpayer funding for abortions — marked a Yes in the last campaign. Biden was endorsed in 2020 by NARAL Pro-Choice America for promising to nominate judges that “support the defeat of the racist and discriminatory Hyde Amendment, and use executive action to protect and expand access to abortion and contraception.”
So here's how Madeline Heim at PolitiFact Wisconsin ruled “Mostly False.”
But the Hyde Amendment has no effect on the time limits some states — including Wisconsin — have set on when a person can obtain an abortion. Whether taxpayers would be paying for abortions beyond a certain date would not be decided by the removal of Hyde.
Additionally, Biden has not said he supports abortion up to birth, saying instead he supports Roe v. Wade’s finding of people’s constitutional right to an abortion..
Heim also ruled that dropping the Hyde Amendment is “already an unlikely scenario.” But this shows you how “fact checkers” twist a tweet. Van Orden is focusing on “devout Catholic” Biden's staunch pro-abortion position, not how likely Biden is to achieve it!
Dropping the Hyde Amendment, already an unlikely scenario, would not change states’ limits on when an abortion could happen and for what reasons abortions later in a pregnancy can be performed, experts say.
Our definition of Mostly False is a claim that “contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.”
That fits here.
PS: Heim is a health reporter for the Appleton Post-Crescent (and the USA TODAY network). Her “she/her” Twitter account also signals support for abortion, like promoting an article on The 19th touting the “reproductive justice movement” and ripping into Louisiana for being an oppressive state on abortion.
In March, Heim retweeted a Hyde Amendment-repeal Twitter thread from CBS reporter Kate Smith, a badly disguised abortion advocate.
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