WaPo fact-checker dings Jayapal for claiming 'majority' of US supports federal funding for abortions
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In media news today, ESPN’s Sage Steele gets pulled off air after knocking the company’s vaccine mandate, a new study suggests that Critical Race Theory is infiltrating America’s 25 most elite private K-12 schools, and Hillary Clinton announces a new fiction book
The Washington Post awarded Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., two “Pinocchios” Wednesday for her false claim that the “majority” of Americans support the use of federal funds to provide abortions.
During a Sunday appearance on CNN, the left-wing congresswoman claimed the Hyde amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortions in most cases, was “something a majority of the country does not support.”
The amendment, which has lived on through annual appropriations bills for nearly 45 years, has received increased attention since 2019 following then-presidential candidate Joe Biden’s announcement that he would oppose it, despite his previous support for it while serving as a U.S. Senator.
Jayapal has vowed to oppose any future spending bill that contains the Hyde amendment, while another prominent Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has said a spending bill that did not include it would be “dead on arrival” in the Senate.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., testifies about her decision to have an abortion, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
“Public opinion polls are used to determine what Americans believe. But not every poll is equal. The framing of a question can make a huge difference in the outcome — as well as whether the poll randomly contacts people to ask questions,” The Post’s Glenn Kessler wrote.
“Another consideration is whether the poll is done by an independent pollster — or on behalf of an organization seeking a certain policy outcome. As it turned out, Jayapal was relying on a poll released by an organization that favors abortion rights,” he added.
Kessler detailed four polls conducted by PRRI, YouGov, Politico/Harvard and CNN-ORC between 2014 and 2018 that indicated Jayapal’s claim was wrong. In each of the polls it was found that a strong majority of Americans opposed the federal funding of abortions.
He also gave examples of other polls that were commissioned by advocacy groups showing completely opposite results, but pointed out that they raised questions about the results because of their wording and formatting.
“We’re often wary of polls commissioned by advocacy groups. In this case, Jayapal is relying on a poll done for a group that wants more public funding of abortions. The outcome of polls often depends greatly on the framing of questions,” Kessler wrote.
He added that because there had been little “high-quality” independent polling done recently, it’s possible that attitudes surrounding abortion could be shifting. He pointed to one Ipsos poll conducted this year that gave a slight majority to those favoring abortions being covered by Medicaid.
“That result has to be balanced against the many other polls that reached a different conclusion, suggesting the answer is not as clear-cut as Jayapal asserts. She earns Two Pinocchios,” Kessler wrote.
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