Hillary Clinton's Statement on Scott Walker and Planned Parenthood is False.
Good Evening, and welcome to this debate. I haven't debated in a while, so I think this ought to be fun and get me back into things. I have just decided to make this an open debate, so up for grabs to the first person who wants to accept.
Recently, while discovering my inner sloth, I stumbled upon a post on the Facebook page for the well-known and reputable organization, Politifact. I have used the site for a couple years, and, say what we want about bias and liberalism, I can generally trust the page for fairly accurate assessments of statements by pundits and politicians. However, ever so often, a rating comes out that I disagree with, which is understandable; no one will agree with every rating all of the time. Yet, what drove me to start this debate was a particular reply and series of comments that completely disregarded what I was claiming and what the reality of the situation at hand showed.
The Politifact article is this one: http://www.politifact.com...
The statement from Hillary Clinton is the following:
"When politicians talk about defunding Planned Parenthood, they're talking about blocking millions of women, men and young people from life-saving, preventive care, cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control. They're talking about cutting people off from the health care provider they know and trust... Unfortunately, these attacks aren't new; they're more of the same. We've seen them in Wisconsin, where Governor Walker defunded Planned Parenthood and left women across the state stranded with nowhere else to turn" .
The statement in the bold is what Politifact primarily focused on, and what this debate shall also focus on. To make clear for the purposes of this debate, the full resolution is below.
Resolved: Hillary Clinton's claim that Scott Walker's defunding of Planned Parenthood "left women across the state stranded with nowhere else to turn" for cancer screenings, breast exams and birth control ought to be revised to a "False" rating by Politifact.
I know, quite the mouthful, but a necessary mouthful nonetheless.
Rules and Terms:
Some important terms:
Stranded: left without the means to move from somewhere .
Planned Parenthood (abbreviated "PP"): a non-profit organization that provides reproductive health as well as maternal and child health services .
Revised: reconsider and alter (something) in the light of further evidence .
"False" Rating: rating given to a statement if the statement is not accurate .
For every other term in the full resolution, standard Google definitions and Wikipedia descriptions shall be used. If there are any problems with the terms listed, make it clear in the comments before accepting the debate.
Full BOP lies upon me. It is my job in this debate to argue that the rating should be changed, while it will be Con's job to argue that the status quo of the rating being "Half True" on Politifact's website should remain that way.
Hopefully, this debate remains pretty straight forward. I look forward to a serious, informative, civil, and enlightening debate.
First Round for acceptance only.
2. Standard Google definitions.
I accept this debate and look forward to an interesting challange.
Let's keep this civil, but impassioned!
I thank Con profusely for his acceptance, and I look forward to a great debate with a great opponent.
What Makes a “False” Statement?:
According to the Politifact rating system (as I noted in round 1), a statement is False when it is defined by the phrase “This statement is not accurate” . But, a little more context is needed than that. Let’s look at another “False” rating by Politifact.
When we look at the fact check above, we see that the rating is False. Why? Because of the word “irrefutable.” Reed said that the social science was beyond refutable that gay couples raise children worse than straight couples. The reason I use this fact-check to prove my point is that I actually e-mailed Politifact describing my issues with it. The e-mail can be read here . The author of the article, Aaron Sharockman, described to me why he gave the statement a false rating:
“In this case, Reed is guilty of failing to prove his statement correct. And in the absence of that, it's inaccurate. This is very much a different way of doing things than the American judicial system, but it's how PunditFact operates. Put simply, don't know does not equal Half True. Reed said the science was irrefutable, and it's clearly not.”
So, while the subject of Reed’s statement has contestable information, Reed was false in saying that it was clear and “irrefutable.” He called something clear and evident that was nebulous, at best; his wording was far too overzealous. That takes us to the next part of my focus.
The Scope of Clinton's Statement:
A large part of this debate will most certainly hinge on the word “stranded.” As noted, being stranded implies that one is left without the means to move from somewhere, and can’t find the help they need anywhere. “Nowhere to turn,” is also an important phrase use by Clinton that is important to note. “Nowhere” is a rather strong word, implying that women in the state have nothing to support them, and have nothing and nowhere to to go. Basically, Clinton calls these women in the state helpless and unable to find care anywhere.
The Defunding in Wisconsin:
I just want to make a quick note to clarify how defunding Planned Parenthood (PP) worked out in Wisconsin. PP get’s it’s funding from three sources: a direct federal grant, Medicaid, and an annual grant from the state. Walker defunded the only thing he had control over, that being the state grant. Walker cut $1.7 million (down from his $1.9 million proposal) from family planning services from the state, $1 million of that belonging to 9 different PP clinics. The defunding measure also changed state law and made it so agencies that perform abortion services couldn’t receive that annual state grant .
Problems With the Statement:
1. A critical argument many people who defend this statement bring up is that the defunding by Walker closed down 5 out of 9 PP’s receiving state money, leaving women who relied on the care around that area effectively stranded, especially if they are poor.
The largest problem I see with this form of reasoning is that PP’s still exist in Wisconsin, and so other health providers and Community Health Centers. As Politifact noted, there are currently still 22 PP's in the state of Wisconsin . On top of that, there are numerous Community Health Centers (CHC’s), which provide the same type of care as PP (without abortions)  and are present in Wisconsin with 17 different CHC’s, encompassing 70 sites and serving 271,222 patients .
There is care all over Wisconsin for women (and men) who need it, and they are by no means stranded; they have plenty of places to turn.
2. Another big facet Politifact failed to factor in was the fact that the defunded $1.7 million went to other family planning services. As Politifact noted:
“It’s important to note that the reduced amount of state funding for family planning services -- $1.7 million -- was still allocated for family planning and the other services Clinton cited. And Walker’s campaign pointed out that the state has continued to fund another program that pays for mammograms, Pap tests and other health screenings.”
There are still family planning services being provided by the state in Wisconsin; those funds didn’t just disappear. It just went instead towards services that didn’t include abortion procedures. Women, as noted before, still have places to turn for all of the services Clinton mentioned.
3. The example Politifact turned to to show that women are stranded were women who went to the PP clinic in “...Shawano, which had been open for 34 years, were referred to a facility in Green Bay -- nearly 40 miles away. Most of the patients received discounted services because of their income.”
With this example, I would hope that it is noted that the “facility in Green Bay” is another PP, not a CHC, which are present, as I previously noted, in over 70 locations all across the state. I checked, and there is a CHC in Shawano which offers “Women's Health Clinic Services” . Politifact is simply glossing over how present these CHC’s are and how they also provide care.
Even if the women still wanted to go to PP, in the grand scheme of things, 40 miles is not that far of a distance to travel. The average MPG of cars in the U.S. is 25.4 . A trip to and from the PP clinic is 80 miles in total. Using that, and the knowledge that the average price of gas in Wisconsin is about $2.58 (this may change depending on when you read this) , we can figure out how much it would cost.
On average, about $8.13 to drive there and back. Of course, there are other things I should factor in, but this is something women had time to adjust to as well. The closing of the 5 clinics happened over 3 years according to the article; they could work to adjust their lives to accommodate this. Again, even ignoring CHC’s, whose ubiquity I have constantly stressed, for a basic price of $8.13 in traveling costs, can women in the state really be called “stranded” with “nowhere to turn” for these services? I would think not.
4. Another way to look at the statement asking the following: was it Walker who caused these women to be stranded? Walker assigned the following ultimatum: choose to not receive your grant from the state, or stop performing abortion services. Walker, albeit while he gave the ultimatum, put a choice in PP clinics, which decided to close down and not simply stop performing services they already receive no federal funding or Medicaid funding for in the first place .
Also, as Politifact noted in the article, “On the other hand, most of the revenues generated for the services that those clinics provided came from sources other than the state.” This means that, even though the fund ran out, the PP still had a multitude of revenue coming in from other places than that state grant. So, with the failure to do something as basic as change their services for something they receive no money from the state for (thus costing the PP administration more from them, essentially saving money by not doing these services) and with the failure of the PP administrators and the PP financiers to manage the still multitude of revenue still coming in towards PP, is Walker to blame, or is an inept business model utilized by PP? 4 of the clinics seemed to managed decently without the grant from the state; why could the other 5?
5. A final problem with this is that no woman, or person in the state of Wisconsin, is ever really stranded. When I think of the word “stranded,” I most often consider a person stuck on a island in the middle of the ocean with no means to physically leave. Women in the state of Wisconsin are not stranded in a broad sense. Even if CHC’s don’t exist in ubiquitous quantities, and Walker made PP illegal in the entire state of Wisconsin, women can still leave the state. No one is forcing them to be there, and they aren’t trapped by anything physical, so how can they be called stranded? How can they have no where else to turn when 49 other states and 190(ish) countries exist?
This isn’t my main point against Clinton’s statement, but I think it’s a valid one at least worth noting. In a broad sense, no woman, nor person, in Wisconsin is stranded by this defunding measure, as they can always turn and go elsewhere for health help.
Clinton’s statement simply ignores too many things and thus goes too far. It ignores:
-The ubiquitous presence of CHC’s and other health providers, which provide the same types of services to women.
-The fact that there still are 22 PP’s in Wisconsin.
-The grants and money not given to PP were allocated to other family planning services for women.
-PP still received a multitude of revenue from other sources besides the state.
-PP still receives federal grants and funding from Medicaid.
-PP administrators are the ones who were unable to comply with the new laws, and were the one’s who continued to perform services they received no state, federal, or Medicaid funding from.
-4 PP’s that received state funding and lost it did not close down, which leaves up to question why the 5 which closed down did.
-The relatively low cost of traveling to a different PP.
-How women had time (3 years) to adjust to the 5 PP’s closing down it’s doors.
Clinton’s statement also just goes too far in it’s wording. “Stranded” is a physical impossibility with the action Walker did, considering no one is physically without the means to do something as a result, and both “Stranded” and “Nowhere to turn” are far too overly-dramatic and overzealous in their description. Just as Reed’s statement on gay parenting is false, Clinton’s statement is as well.
Clinton said the women were stranded when they weren't and had nowhere to turn when they clearly did.
I affirm the resolution, and rate Clinton’s statement False.
Over to Con.
Thanks to my opponent for a very unique debating opportunity. A pressing matter has come up, so I’m afraid I’ll have to keep my arguments short for this round. My sincerest apologies.
While some of his assertions are true and definitely paint Clinton’s statement in a somewhat untrue manner, he does not justify that her statements lack any evidence of truth, which is what they need in order to justify a “false” rating. The example he used earlier to justify why Politifact rates false and true statements is hearsay and should be ignored. However, if you do elect to take that into consideration, consider that it is only one possible method of labeling things as true or false.
Aside from that, let’s look at my opponents arguments against the assertion. I’ve taken the liberty to quote a few of his assertions and provide my consensus. (Note, all of these quotes have been taken from the conclusion because it directly relates to the debate.)
-The ubiquitous presence of CHC’s and other health providers, which provide the same types of services to women.This assertion needs to provide documented evidence showing exactly what services PP and the other clinics provide. I’m afraid a few services will be absent from the latter, which thereby makes this argument invalid.
-The fact that there still are 22 PP’s in Wisconsin.This is a true. In fact, in many cases, I’ll concede to what my opponent is arguing. However, in order to label Clinton’s assertion as false, my opponent needs to completely prove the invalidity of her assertions.
-The grants and money not given to PP were allocated to other family planning services for women. This also ties into the fact that other family planning services may not provide the full scope of what women are looking for, therefore leaving them theoretically stranded.
-PP still received a multitude of revenue from other sources besides the state.This is true.
-PP still receives federal grants and funding from Medicaid.This is true.
-PP administrators are the ones who were unable to comply with the new laws, and were the one’s who continued to perform services they received no state, federal, or Medicaid funding from.This assertion directly relates to the fact that Walker gave PP an ultimatum, one they COULD not accept. Hence, he is entirely to blame for PP closing. PP administrators are not to blame, therefore this assertion is false.
-4 PP’s that received state funding and lost it did not close down, which leaves up to question why the 5 which closed down did. This is a good question. However it bears no evidence with the debate.
-The relatively low cost of traveling to a different PP.This is not a sufficient argument. It automatically assumes that people only care about the money it costs to travel to another town. It fails to factor both time and comfort into it’s equation.
-How women had time (3 years) to adjust to the 5 PP’s closing down it’s doors. This assertion is a difficult one. In order to argue that women had time to adjust, my opponent needs to provide evidence that women knew their particular PP Clinics would close down three years prior.
In conclusion, my opponent provides several good points as to why Clinton’s statements are not true. However, he only proves Politifact correct in that Clinton’s statements are half true. While they might ignore certain factors, they do raise the point that many women were left theoretically stranded when their PP closed. I’ll concede that the “Nowhere to turn” is false, which is why the statements are half true.
I thank Con for his arguments. While they are brief and while they mostly just bring up potential nitpicks at my arguments, they do deal with a bit, and I would like to, in detail, refute most of what he has put forward. I will number my refutations in order of how he has discussed my case.
1. I fail to see validity to Con’s comments about my point on true and false statements being hearsay, or mere gossip/rumors. I showed where the email came from , and calling that gossip/a rumor, when I have documented proof from an writer at Politifact that this is one way they consider cases, is simply a misnomer. I used this Reed example because it relates to Clinton’s statement on how it attaching absolute terms (“stranded” and “nowhere to turn”) to a nebulous subject matter.
I never said this is not just one way they consider things to be true or false, but it does give insight into if this current statement can also be considered false by those same standards. If it can be, then I have fulfilled my BOP and affirmed the resolution, as there is no reason to call one statement “Half-True” and one “False” using the same standards when both commit the same crime.
2. I would like it noted that Clinton’s statement was exclusive to “...cancer screenings, breast exams and birth control” . If I can show that CHC’s provide these already, then Con’s entire rebuttal would be disproven. If Con would check source , he would see that I have done so already. CHC’s provide much more expansive care than PP’s, with mammograms (which PP doesn't do) and without abortions. CHC’s provide pap tests and mammograms, other family planning services (like birth control), and cancer and communicable disease screening   . With this, my previous argument remains valid, as CHC’s provide the exact same services that PP’s do in the area’s Clinton’s statement covers, which is all I need to prove. This argument clearly stands.
3. My next point is working to just dispel the notion that this is entirely at the fault of Walker. Let’s use a thought experiment:
Let us say that a woman is dating a man. The woman discovers soon that the man is married to another woman and that he is cheating on her. The non-married woman gives the cheating-husband a choice: choose between your wife or I. The woman gives the man three days to do this. To seize on this opportunity and collect various benefits, the cheating-husband kills his wife and collects insurance money after making it look like a robbery. Is the non-married woman culpable for the woman’s death?
While not a perfect example, it goes to show how most of the culpability lies in the hands of the people, administrators and heads of PP, in making decisions. If we go on to entirely blame Walker, we can use the same line of reasoning to blame the non-married woman for the death of the wife, even though all they did was give a choice. Walker didn’t ask for PP to be shut down completely, but to stop performing abortions, just as the non-married woman didn’t ask for the wife to be murdered, only for the cheating-husband to stop having an affair and choose. PP administrators deserve blame in this situation, as they are the one’s who decided to not comply with newly installed Wisconsin law and continue doing abortions. They chose to defy state law and continue what they were doing. Culpability lies in the hands of the heads and administrators of the 5 PP’s that shut down, not necessarily Walker. While he did give the choice, it remained a choice, and one those 5 PP’s clearly made.
4. I am confused as to Con’s dismissal of my 4 PP’s that lost state funding and didn’t close down. It asked a serious question: why would 5 PP’s close down and 4 remain just fine? If this was just merely one or two closings, then it could be attributed to hard economic times, but it’s not, and it can’t be. This just goes further to show mismanagement and preparation for the consequences of choices PP made with the ultimatum, unless my opponent can provide another explanation. Even if he could, my point in point 3 still stands.
5. It is one thing to say that that a decision has caused discomfort or will take a bit longer; it is another thing to say that a decision has caused people to be stranded and to leave them with nowhere else to turn. The two are not synonymous. Discomfort on a subway is the not the same as being stranded on an island.
My point of factoring out the costs was to show how something like this can be planned and anticipated and isn’t a large struggle at all. With time, it is reasonable to assume that women can find time in their schedule, most likely in the same block of time that they would go to the previous PP nearest to them. With discomfort, it may be a bit more difficult, yes, but the are discomforts in life all of the time. Restaurants and shops close down, friends move away, jobs take people to other places across the globe, any number of things. It is not the state’s job to control such things; more to the point, that is not the same thing as being “stranded” or having "nowhere else to turn." Not to mention, my larger point about CHC’s still stands and proves the resolution even Con finds a way to disprove this.
6. With the PP closings and adjusting, I think considering the women who went there had relationships with their doctors, and went there fairly regularly, and had a community that went there too, it is reasonable to assume that women would have known about the closings, and would have found time to adjust while the PP’s closed. It would take a large leap in faith to assume that they wouldn’t have known.
The problem here is that “Nowhere to turn” and “Stranded” are still relatively synonymous. If one is stranded, they have nowhere else to turn. If one has nowhere else to turn or go, they would be considered stranded, lost, helpless, and/or grounded. Con conceding that “‘Nowhere to turn’ is false...” is a critical flaw as he also dismisses all he was saying about being “theoretically stranded.” He has, essentially, conceded the debate with this. One cannot be “theoretically stranded” and have somewhere to go, or else they aren’t even stranded in the first place.
While Con does do well (and in my favorite font, too), I am afraid he fails to prove Clinton's choice of words are valid and thus fails to defend her; they still remain absurd and overly-dramatic word choices, and they make her statement overzealous and, hence, False. I have upheld my BOP and dismissed all of Con’s arguments extended forth, and affirmed the resolution. I have upheld the points that:
-CHC’s are ubiquitous and provide everything Clinton is talking about, thus showing how women do have places to turn for the exact same services and are not stranded.
-PP administrators made a choice to defy state law and continue abortions procedures and lost the state grant, leading to eventual financial mismanagement of money already coming in from other sources/closings, and thus are culpable for the closings.
-PP’s still exist (22 currently) and aren’t hard to get to, money or time wise.
-Discomfort is not the same as being theoretically stranded.
-How nobody's really ever stranded, considering that they are free to move anywhere (a point Con hasn’t even touched on)
-Con partially conceded the debate already by saying that “Nowhere to turn...” is false, which makes it impossible to be stranded.
Clinton can say it was inconvenient, or uncomfortable, or made it a tad harder, or a tad more difficult, but using the words “Stranded” and phrases such as “Nowhere to turn,” misses the mark still, and causes her statement to retain no element of truth. Women can go places still, and they still have those places to which to turn.
Clinton's statement remains lacking any element of truth, which I have extensively shown and upheld.
I strongly affirm the resolution once again, and rate Clinton’s statement as False.
I thank Con for a great debate, and I strongly urge a vote for Pro.
Over to Con.
I must apologize to my opponent. For the past few days I’ve been unable to post sufficient, well thought out arguments on any of my debates, let alone one so challenging as this.
So, instead of hustling up a short, insufficient argument at the last minute, I’ll graciously concede. I do so with the comfort of knowing that Pro more than sufficiently argued his assertions and deserves any and all points that will be given to him. He’s a gifted debater and formidable opponent. Best of luck to him!