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If you want to get the “right” answers about PPFA, ask loaded questions

by | Oct 2, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood

Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood

On August 10, I posted a story under the headline “A revealing primer on Planned Parenthood’s popularity.”

In a word, there were punctures in the aura of invincibility.

I will revisit those numbers in a second, after we look at what a recent poll supposedly told us about a separate question–how people feel about federally funding the nation’s largest abortion provider.

Hats off to Ramesh Ponnuru over at National Review Online for putting the question in context. He wrote

Dana Milbank [of the Washington Post], for example, crows today that 61 percent of Americans in a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll opposes defunding Planned Parenthood. But here’s the poll question they were asked: “Would you favor or oppose totally eliminating federal funding to Planned Parenthood for family planning and preventative health services?” There’s nothing in there about redirecting the funds to other organizations. Respondents might think that money for health services would just be cut.

Not only that, the poll question says nothing about the nearly 330,000 abortions PPFA performs annually or that government funding makes up 41% of PPFA’s reported revenues of $1.3 billion.

As for PPFA’s increased popularity, we’re told in the Wall Street Journal article that accompanied the poll results that

The poll found that the women’s health organization is viewed favorably by 47% of Americans and unfavorably by 31% in the Sept. 20-24 survey. That is about the same — even a tad better — than the 45%-30% split found in a Journal/NBC poll in July.

Three quick points, which we made back in August, which refer back to that July NBC News–Wall Street Journal poll and another poll taken by Monmouth University.

#1. The historical context. As Mr. Ponnuru noted, “In 1989, Gallup found that 82 percent of Americans had a favorable impression” of Planned Parenthood. That is the benchmark against which all recent numbers can be measured.

#2. PPFA’s “net favorability” is favorable minus unfavorable. In the July poll it was 15 points (a total of 45 % have a favorable opinion of PPFA as compared to a total of 30% who have a negative opinion). And there are almost as many “very negative” (22%) as there are “very positive” (26%) responses.

#2. That NBC News–Wall Street Journal poll made a point of how Planned Parenthood and the National Rifle Association both have higher positives than the candidates running for President. Yet whereas the numbers for the NRA go all the way back to June 1995, the ONLY number for Planned Parenthood is for July 2015!

The NBC News–Wall Street Journal poll NEVER asked about PPFA’s popularity before? Ever? Or has PPFA’s public image taken a hit which would be on display if the numbers extended back a ways?

#3. Third, this got me looking to see if someone else has polled on PPFA’s popularity. Monmouth University polled 1,203 adults between July 30 and August 2. They asked a series of questions.

For example–favorable or unfavorable opinion of PPFA? 37% had a favorable opinion versus 26% who had an unfavorable opinion. The “net favorability” is 11%.

Pro-lifers have talked about, written about, and educated about Planned Parenthood for decades. But as the aforementioned poll question suggests, when PPFA’s elbows-deep involvement in abortion is minimized or ignored altogether; and PPFA is portrayed as the be-all and end-all of “women’s health services,” we wage an uphill battle.

Nonetheless compare PPFA’s 89% favorables in 1989 and its 47% favorables today and you see that our truth campaign has lowered Planned Parenthood’s approval numbers by almost half.

Another consideration. The undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress are so shocking only pro-abortion Democrats who walk lock-step with PPFA could be unaffected. That is, unless you are an ordinary citizen who has been told repeatedly that the videos are–well, you know all the descriptors: heavily-edited, misleading, heavily-doctored, etc., etc.

But the truth is winning out, not as fast as we would like, but still heading in a life-affirming direction. Stay tuned over the next few months.

Categories: PPFA
Tags: PPFA