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Sunday, October 23, 2016

At a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing to discontinue federal tax funding for Planned Parenthood, committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) betrayed not only a nakedly partisan agenda to punish the women’s health organization by withdrawing financial support, but also a complete dishonesty regarding basic math.

During his grilling of its president, Cecile Richards, Chaffetz displayed a graph that purports to show “abortions up, life-saving procedures down,” in an attempt to visually demonstrate that Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion services have been dramatically overtaken by abortion.

In fact, as Richards noted, the graph was created by the anti-abortion group Americans United For Life, which has been petitioning Congress to defund Planned Parenthood since at least 2011. She advised him to check his source.

Americans United For Life (
Americans United For Life (via)

Chaffetz repeatedly demanded that Richards explain the graph to the committee — a tall order since it makes absolutely no sense. Even if we were to take the numerical data here at face value, the graph, as designed, is disingenuous at best and criminally idiotic at worse.

There is no proportion; each line behaves according to its own scale. A rise in the number of abortions from 289,750 to 327,000 (an increase of 13 percent) is illustrated as a sharp red line surging upwards, while a 53 percent decline in the number of preventative services is represented by an almost identical inverted slope.

Even worse, the lines intersect one another: The line representing the number of “cancer screenings and prevention services” (colored pink — a cute touch), is seen being overtaken by the red line representing a supposed surge in abortions in the same seven-year period. The effect is that somehow 327,000 becomes a bigger number than 935,000.

Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) pointed out later in the hearing that much of the decrease in preventive services is due to an overall change in medical guidelines — Planned Parenthood’s breast screenings and mammogram referrals have gone down, for example, because women are no longer recommended to get screenings as frequently as before.

Below is our own quick and dirty (yet mathematically correct) graph of the same data. The chairman is welcome to use it.

National Memo / Eric Kleefeld

Photo: Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), via Facebook.

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Copyright 2015 The National Memo
  • Daniel Jones

    You want an explanation for your funny little graph?

    Here it is:

    You’re a lying putz, working for putzes that lie.

  • i2grok

    Chaffetz is an attractive, well spoken man. I guess the GOP wants you to look at the speaker, not hear his words.

    • Independent1

      Virtually all GOP politicians these days are well-rehearsed scam artists.; akin to the leader of the bunch, the ‘snake oil salesman himself’ Mitt Romney.

    • latebloomingrandma

      Anyone with an intent to badger the witness, talk over her, and not allow her to answer the question is not well spoken in my book.

    • LeftCoastLeftie

      an’ he shore has a pretty mouth!

  • atc333

    Republicans believe they have a Constitutional Right to deliberately lie to voters and their constituents. The call it “Freedom of Speech They believe it is up to the voters to determine who is telling the truth. In other words, “The ends justifies the means.”

    • latebloomingrandma

      Right to Life groups have a habit of completely skewing their so-called data., I saw a pamphlet once that showed a fully formed baby and labelled it as a 10 week old fetus. Anyone who has studied fetal growth and development knows this was false. They also use junk science to make many claims. Rather than solving problems or seeking to reduce abortions, it just creates more zealots. It is impossible to reason with unreasonable people.

  • jmprint

    But…. he took is from her own files . . .maybe not… but you weren’t suppose to notice, you’re a women, you’re suppose to crack under pressure from these very vicious know it all men … but she didn’t.

  • LCR78

    Congressman Chaffetz’s response to criticism of his graph would be the typical Republican response: I’m not a mathematician. Apparently, he didn’t pass 6th grade math either.

    • rednekokie

      Possibly he didn’t pass second grade arithmetic, as well.

      • joe schmo

        …And what grade did you pass? Seems the success factor is not in your favor.

  • jiro tanaka

    How can somebody elect an idiot man in congress, maybe the electorates in his district are all dumb. This congressman is amazingly stupid.

  • Larry Gagnon

    People of good faith can disagree about whether abortion should be legal. But people of good faith do not use totally misleading graphs. Also, people of good faith do not ask a witness to explain a graph without giving them at least one day to review it. Also, people of good faith allow people to complete an answer without interrupting them. In his defense, Mr. Chaffetz is a politician. Anyone presuming a politician is acting in good faith is overly optimistic.

  • Robert Eckert
  • barneybolt12

    The good folks in Rep. Chaffetz district should take a good hard look at re-electing this man. Especially the women in his district. HE WILL TAKE YOUR HEALTH CARE AWAY.
    Wake up.

    • joe schmo

      Community Health Centers come to mind. We don’t need Planned Parenthood:) You do like the fact that the government pays for everything. Why not this time? LOL

  • joe schmo

    I guess you all didn’t realize the CEO of Planned Parenthood earns $600,000 dollars. WOW! What have you morons been saying about the 1% forever!!!! Most rich liberals DO NOT want to share their money. Donald Trump came out with his new FAIR tax plan and the rich liberals we know were screaming bloody murder.

    • Eleanore Whitaker

      I guess YOU didn’t realize that Charles and David Koch earn over $10,000 an hour? Most rich bitch boys of the right slime their way to wealth and then look down their rich bitch noses at those they ripped off. Try again honcho. Nearly ALL of the top 10 wealthiest in the US are CONs.

      Men like you are pissants who whine, wheedle and boss others to get what you want. Those are the ONLY skills you have? Gee…let’s pretend that has ANY value.

      Another right wing dipshit sitting all day on a computer paid by the right winger ultra CONs.

    • docb

      They did not question the Wall Street bankers who got BILLIONS in the bailouts and salary and perk increases and cost the US taxpayer TRILLIONS… Matter of fact, they drooled all over Jamie Dimon & cabal when he was in front of the gop bags in the House

      Nor Big OIL companies that get billions in subsidies…

    • The lucky one

      Hey dipshit, the CEO may b overpaid but $600,00/yr doesn’t get you into the billionaires club of the 1%.

    • XanderDeWijs

      …. and Richards supports taxing herself MORE than she is now.
      BTW, Richards is taxed at 32 percent, since this is INCOME but every repuke trustfund baby, who has TENS OF MILLION is taxed at 15%

  • Whatmeworry

    PP has NEVER performed a single mammogram ever

    • FoxNewsbadforyourhealth

      Read article again – Planned Parenthood’s breast screenings and mammogram referrals have gone down…

    • docb

      Mammograms must be preformed by a radiologist. It is a deflective push from chavetz… Has nothing to do with the issue.

      By the By, blaming Planned Parenthood for his mother’s death is a bit specious since she was a Christian Scientist….

  • ps0rjl

    In the 50’s this a**hole would have been looking for Communists and making sure the press got good pictures of him. It sure says a lot about the people who elected him.