House Republican Defends Chart Making 327,000 Look Bigger Than 935,573

by Laura Clawson –

House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz doesn’t think it was misleading of him to use a chart suggesting that 327,000 is a substantially larger number than 935,573. Not if Planned Parenthood is involved, anyway. During Wednesday’s Planned Parenthood hearing, Chaffetz displayed the chart, which showed the number of abortions performed by Planned Parenthood rising from 289,750 in 2006 to 327,000 in 2013, while the number of cancer screenings and prevention services declined from 2,007,371 to 935,573—but the chart showed the lines crossing, with abortion ending up dramatically higher than cancer screening and prevention. You can be pretty bad at math and still realize that 935,573 is larger than 327,000, but Chaffetz is not backing down:

“I stand by the numbers. I can understand where people would say the arrows went different directions, but the numbers are accurate. And that’s what we were trying to portray,” he told Blitzer.

The numbers—the part of the chart Chaffetz stands by—are in a much smaller font than the words on the chart, and of course the most noticeable thing are the two lines, one going up and the other down. Vox has helpfully provided a chart that shows Planned Parenthood’s real numbers, with a Y-axis and everything, and also including contraception services (which declined from 3,977,333 to 3,577,348) and STI/STD testing and treatment (which rose from 3,018,077 to 4,470,597). It’s kind of a different picture.

Chaffetz, though, remains on his high horse about cancer screening, saying “So don’t tell me that I don’t care about this when I lost my mother to this, when my dad died from cancer, when my wife works on this. There is a better way to do this … I am tired of getting lectures from these Democrats that try to say we don’t care about women. That is just absolutely offensive.”

His reference to “a better way to do this” is especially interesting when you consider that part of Planned Parenthood’s decline in cancer screening between 2006 and 2013 is exactly because of doing things “a better way.” During those years, medical guidelines shifted from calling for women to have a Pap smear—a key screening for cervical cancer—every year to calling for the screening every three years. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists made the shift in 2009, with other groups, including the American Cancer Society, following suit in 2012. As Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards pointed out in the hearing.

Let’s not try to confuse Jason Chaffetz with facts, though. He stands by his numbers.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos