From the Star Tribune:
In a floor speech to a nearly empty House chamber Wednesday night, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., raised the specter of schoolhouse abortions if the House Democrats’ health reform overhaul becomes law.
Citing privacy provisions in a grant program for school-based health clinics, Bachmann suggested that they would allow young girls to get abortion referrals from what she referred to as “sex clinics.”
The debate raged into Friday, with a YouTube clip bouncing around the Internet showing Bachmann describing the bill like this: “Comprehensive primary health services, physicals, treatment of minor, acute, chronic medical conditions, referrals to follow-up for specialty care — is that abortion?”
Stopping to take off her glasses and look straight into the camera, Bachmann continued, “Does that mean that somebody’s 13-year-old daughter could walk into a sex clinic and have a pregnancy test done, be taken away to the local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, have their abortion, be back and go home on the school bus that night? Mom and dad are never the wiser.”
Democrats, still howling about the speech, note that school-based health clinics have been around for decades, and that there are no provisions in the bill for abortions. The section that Bachmann complained about also has an explicit provision for “parental or guardian consent” — in accordance with existing federal, state and local laws.
But Bachmann aides say that’s just the point. About a dozen states lack parental notification laws for abortion (Minnesota is not among them).
California Democrat Lois Capps, one of the authors of the health clinic provision, assured supporters on Friday that the bill was specifically amended to bar public school-based health funds from being used for abortions.
Bachmann’s argument is entirely untrue and both PolitiFact and Politico’s Glenn Thrush have done a thorough job debunking her claims. But she’s hardly the first conservative to advance this line of thinking
The falsehood seems to have begun with a blogger named Peter Fleckenstein, writing on his blog Common Sense From a Common Man back in July. Fleckenstein alleged that Page 992 of the House healthcare bill contained language that would lead to the establishment of school clinics that could advise young girls to have abortions without parental input.
Conservative groups like the American Family Association and Liberty Counsel, a conservative group affiliated with Liberty University’s law school, then pushed the abortion clinic myth to wider right-wing audiences. One chain e-mail from the Liberty Counsel told parents, “[your] children will be indoctrinated and your grandchildren may be aborted!”
In actuality, the section of the bill at the root of the controversy states explicitly that the school clinics would have to abide by existing federal, state and local laws regarding parental consent. On top of that, the school clinics in question aren’t a new entity dreamed up by Democratic socialists intent on indoctrinating America’s youth. Rather, as PolitiFact has pointed out, the clinics have been around for 30 years. There are 2,000 such clinics across the country. None provide abortions and they generally serve students who live in areas with limited healthcare options. The healthcare reform legislation would just ensure that these clinics continue to receive funding.
However, as Thrush suggests, the fact that Bachmann’s allegations have no basis in reality might not keep Congress from overreacting.
“[N]one of the three bills in the House explicitly prohibit the use of the school-based clinics to steer kids to abortion clinics — so look out for an amendment, however statutorily superfluous, to be introduced by somebody as a way to wedge conservative Dems from the party’s liberal base,” Thrush writes. “Either that, or we’ll be hearing 30-second ads that say something like, ‘[Candidate X] voted for the Nancy Pelosi government takeover of health care, which will result in your 13-year-old granddaughter getting an abortion on the way home from school …’”
(Video of Michele Batshit Bachmann’s sex tape…i mean sex clinic speech is at Salon’s link above)