Another day, another false abortion equivalency. South Dakota state Rep. Isaac Latterell made an eyebrow-raising faux-pas on Tuesday, comparing Planned Parenthood to ISIS in a blog post titled (I'm not kidding): "Planned Parenthood beheading children and lying about it."
As you can already tell, Latterell has much stronger opinions on abortion than he does on global terrorism. It doesn't matter that his state of South Dakota has just one Planned Parenthood. It's the only abortion clinic in the state.
But it's all too much for Latterell. The Tea Party politician is really triggered by intact dilation and extraction abortions, also known as "D & X" or the politically charged "partial-birth abortion." These procedures are currently outlawed in most cases in the United States under the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, passed by Congress in 2003.
However, Latterell believes dilation and evacuation abortions are far worse than so-called partial-birth abortions, because the former allegedly requires beheading the fetus (it doesn't). That's why he recently introduced the Preborn Infant Beheading Ban of 2015 (I wish I was making this up), which states that no person can knowingly "behead a living unborn child with the intent of endangering the life or health of the child." The bill describes "behead" in this sense as "to separate the skull from the spine," but the bill is not applied to vacuum-induced abortions or curettage — both of which are used in the dilation and evacuation procedure.
Apparently unaware about the various types of abortion procedures and how they're performed — because why open a medical textbook — Latterell writes on his blog:
There are certain revolting methods of execution, such as beheading, that no state would ever permit, even against murderers who use this method on their victims. ... Planned Parenthood abortionists in Sioux Falls are similarly [to ISIS] beheading unborn children during dismemberment abortions.This method has been described by the Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Carhart as a procedure that is: “laden with the power to devalue human life,” and is as brutal, if not more so, than Intact Dilation and Extraction (D&X or partial birth) abortions. Most people are unaware that this is happening, because Planned Parenthood of Sioux Falls denies that they behead or otherwise dismember unborn children.
Latterell claims Planned Parenthood clinic in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, does these dilation and evacuation abortions on the reg. Well, at least seven times since 2008. Latterell cites the South Dakota Department of Health, though a quick scan of the state's most recent abortion records show that not only are these types of abortion rare, but there's also no evidence these abortions are being done at the Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls. In 2013, the state's most recent record shows less than 0.2 percent of abortions were dilation and evacuation, and none were dilation and extraction.
But Planned Parenthood is still lying, right? Latterell writes:
Considering Planned Parenthood is the only clinic that does abortions, it is clear that they are lying either to the media or to the department of health. I am beyond angry at what Planned Parenthood is doing to us and to our children. ... No state, no religion, and no organization should ever be allowed to use this unspeakably horrifying method. While we rightly take the speck out of our neighbor’s eye by holding ISIS accountable, let us be sure to take the plank out of our own eye by holding Planned Parenthood accountable.
In the meantime, Planned Parenthood representatives in Sioux Falls told RH Reality Check that the clinic does not provide dilation and evacuation abortions — only medical and surgical (vacuum-induced) abortions — nor do their doctors behead "living unborn" children on the down-low.
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