Report Accurately: Media Backgrounder on GOP Lawmakers Screening of Anti-Choice Documentary

For Immediate Release: November 17, 2015

This evening at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, anti-choice Representatives Trent Franks (R – Ariz.) and Joe Pitts (R – Penn.) will host a screening of 3801 Lancaster, a graphic documentary about the illegal clinic operated by Kermit Gosnell, a rogue abortion provider in Philadelphia who preyed on low-income women unable to run the gauntlet of abortion restrictions and access care at reputable clinics. Gosnell was tried and convicted in 2013, and is currently serving a life sentence in prison.

Gosnell nonetheless continues to serve as a favorite boogeyman for the far right, bolstering their efforts to impose medically unnecessary and dangerous restrictions on abortion access. Rep. Franks has repeatedly used Gosnell’s crimes to attack safe and legal reproductive health care providers, and he and Rep. Pitts have been leading figures in the smear campaign against Planned Parenthood.

Yet a 2013 Rewire investigation of key government documents requested from state attorneys general and departments of health by two Republican-led House committees found that, according to the states themselves, abortion is an overwhelmingly safe procedure with a low rate of complication; abortion providers are highly regulated and regularly inspected; and no evidence exists to support additional state or federal restrictions.

“Countless hours and taxpayer dollars have been wasted, and neither congressional nor state investigations have supported GOP claims about the safety of abortion or providers such as Planned Parenthood,” said Rewire Editor-in-Chief Jodi Jacobson. “In fact, the opposite is true: their own fishing expeditions reveal that abortion is safe and well-regulated, and some have even acknowledged that there is no evidence of wrongdoing by abortion providers in their states. Yet for Reps. Franks and Pitts, the facts are irrelevant to their goal of ensuring no one has the right to determine when or whether to have a child.”

#  #  #