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Again: Planned Parenthood Among 'Advocates for Women's Health'

Eric Eckholm's idea of balanced reporting on abortion provider Planned Parenthood: "Now, in a surprise step that has set off deep alarm among advocates for women's health, the newly conservative House of Representatives has proposed cutting the entire $317 million program of aid for family planning..."
Reporter Erik Eckholm mounted a quasi-defense of Planned Parenthood, the nations' largest abortion provider which stands to lose $75 million in taxpayer funding, in Friday's "Budget Feud Ropes In Planned Parenthood."

Notice that in Eckholm's view, the defunding move by the "newly conservative House of Representatives" has set off "deep alarm" not from liberal pro-choice advocates, but the harmless-sounding "advocates for women's health." Eckholm thus pits conservative ideologues against benign "advocates" for something no one is against. (Times health reporter Robert Pear used the same "advocates for women's health" formulation to describe Planned Parenthood in a February 3 story.)

Eckholm on Friday:

Now, in a surprise step that has set off deep alarm among advocates for women's health, the newly conservative House of Representatives has proposed cutting the entire $317 million program of aid for family planning, known as Title X, in a 2011 spending bill that is expected to pass by the weekend. A proposed amendment to the bill would also bar Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funds for any purpose.

Eckholm, who worked as a political appointee during the Carter administration, went on to describe secret videotapes made by the pro-life group "Live Action" before giving the floor to a Planned Parenthood official.

Planned Parenthood calls the videotapes "misleading" and "dirty tricks," taking advantage of its culture of confidentiality. Yet the organization said it would immediately retrain all employees on requirements for reporting any threats to minors.

"These charges make me so angry," said Judy Tabar, president of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, which runs 19 clinics in Connecticut and Rhode Island, offering 70,000 patients birth control, cancer screening and other medical services and, for fewer than 10 percent of visits, abortions.

Eckholm let supporters of Planned Parenthood propagandize for several more paragraphs, leaving a one-paragraph rebuttal by Live Action President Lila Rose to the very end. An excerpt:

Those opposed to Planned Parenthood and the broader family planning program, its supporters say, have not offered realistic alternatives for poor women.

For every dollar spent on contraception for low-income women, the government saves four dollars in medical costs within the next year by averting unwanted pregnancies, said Ms. Cohen of the Guttmacher Institute.

In an e-mailed response, Lila Rose, the president of Live Action, did not say how Planned Parenthood's birth control services could be replaced but wrote: "The answer for poor women is not a corporation that is happy to help sex traffickers and that has enabled the sexual abuse and exploitation of countless girls and young women."