Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) invoked highly edited, debunked videos targeting Planned Parenthood from 2015 at a CNN town hall Monday night when a woman shared her story of how Planned Parenthood helped her have children.
Graham, along with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), has been spearheading a repeal and replace bill in the Senate that would, among other things, defund Planned Parenthood.
The woman at Monday’s town hall told a story about when Planned Parenthood discovered cysts and benign tumors in and on her ovaries.
“I’m grateful for Planned Parenthood, because without their care it’s quite probable that my husband and I would not have been able to become parents,” she said. “Why would you advocate for a bill that would block women like me from the essential care that helped me to become a mother [and] provides affordable cancer screenings for thousands and thousands of people?”
Instead of giving her a direct answer, Graham invoked videos from 2015 that were highly edited to make it look as if Planned Parenthood were selling fetal body parts.
But Graham still leaned on the fake videos as reason to defund Planned Parenthood Monday night.
“So all I can say about this debate, about Planned Parenthood [is] a lot of Americans were pretty upset when they saw the videos of selling body parts of aborted children,” Graham said.
If Graham’s health care bill were signed into law, it would bar people from using the health care subsidies they receive from being used for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or medical necessity.
Graham also blurred the lines between Obamacare subsidies, which people receive to help cover the costs of insurance plans on the Obamacare market, with the Hyde Amendment, a federal law which makes it illegal to use federal funding to pay for abortions except in rare cases.
“Now, your dollars do not go to pay for abortion at planned parenthood facilities,” Graham said Monday. “Those Hyde protections follow the money here and they’ve been in the law for a very long time. This is not about abortion. It’s not about pharmaceuticals. It’s about Obamacare failing and what do we do about it?”
Graham’s partner on the bill also failed to give a straight answer to the woman who asked about defunding Planned Parenthood Monday night, essentially saying he was comfortable defunding Planned Parenthood because most Planned Parenthood facilities are in “urban areas” that have “lots of OB/GYNs.”
“Now, it turns out the folks who don’t have access to those cancer screenings live in rural areas,” Cassidy said. So the idea is that we want someone to have to drive a lower income person drive three hours to a Planned Parenthood facility there to get her screening? Or would we rather take that money and put it back in the rural area to allow her to get her health care there.”
These flags mark all the abortion restrictions in the Republican repeal of Obamacare. This is a major rollback of women’s rights. pic.twitter.com/kU0yJO2bcY
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) September 20, 2017
Cassidy also said that he favors making birth control pills an over the counter purchase, saying that such a move is the “ultimate you’ve got the power,” but it would force people to pay for contraceptives out of pocket rather than having access to them free of charge, as is currently protected under the ACA.
Graham and Cassidy debated health care with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and touted their health care bill at the town hall Monday. Their health care bill will likely not come to the floor for a vote.
On Monday evening, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said she would vote against the bill following the release of the Congressional Budget Office’s preliminary scoring of the bill, which said the bill would leave “millions” uninsured and ultimately cut a trillion dollars from the Medicaid program. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and John McCain (R-AZ) had previously said they would vote against the bill.