PolitiFact Nails Maddow for Blatant Lie About Ohio Abortion Law

By Jack Coleman

Editor’s note. This appeared yesterday at newsbusters.org.

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow

The bad blood between Rachel Maddow and PolitiFact goes back more than two years, ever since they slammed her for resorting to fiction while describing the Wisconsin state budget.

This time the fact-finding outfit gives Maddow a “pants on fire” drubbing, the worst on its so-called “Truth-O-Meter,” for a deceitful claim about new abortion restrictions in Ohio. (Video after the jump)

Here’s what Maddow said on her show June 28 —

For some reason, Ohio Republicans decided it was also a budgetary matter to redefine the words pregnancy and fetus in Ohio state law. They want to define pregnancy as beginning even before implantation in the uterine lining. Lots of contraception works to prevent things (yes — “things”) from implantation in the uterine lining. So it would essentially say, you want an IUD? That means you want an abortion. And of course now there’s a mandatory ultrasound before you can get an abortion.

What Maddow said about Ohio law now mandating a pre-abortion ultrasound is true — but watch how quickly she can’t leave accuracy alone and resorts to embellishment —

So if you want to get contraception that you maybe have had for your whole life in Ohio (yes — “your whole life”), maybe as a totally normal life of your existence as an adult woman in Ohio, welcome to your mandatory vaginal probe at the insistence of the state, even just to keep your IUD. Seriously?!

See what Maddow did? She segued from “mandatory ultrasound” in Ohio to “mandatory vaginal probe” within a matter of seconds. Give her several more minutes and she’d blame Ohio Republicans for killer asteroids threatening the planet.

Maddow’s deception caught the attention of PolitiFact Ohio, which published a post yesterday titled “Rachel Maddow says that Ohio budget includes requirement for transvaginal ultrasound.” The relevant portion of the post reads as follows –

Maddow was referring to a new requirement that women seeking abortions first receive ultrasounds to determine whether a fetal heartbeat is present. Her provocative words quickly went viral and sent PolitiFact Ohio in search of a full copy of the massive state budget.

Did it go as far as she claimed? Did it mandate a transvaginal ultrasound, as Maddow claimed, or did it allow for an external transabdominal procedure? We found our answer in the new Section 2919.191 that with the budget’s approval is now part of Ohio Revised Code.

Division A of that section says that before performing an abortion, a provider must “determine whether there is a detectable fetal heartbeat of the unborn human individual the pregnant woman is carrying.” The method for detecting a heartbeat is then spelled out in Division C, which says:

The director of health may promulgate rules pursuant to section 111.15 of the Revised Code specifying the appropriate methods of performing an examination for the presence of a fetal heartbeat of an unborn individual based on standard medical practice. The rules shall require only that an examination shall be performed externally. (emphasis added)

In other words, not only are external methods such as transabdominal ultrasounds allowed under the new law, they are required. That sinks Maddow’s claim of a “mandatory vaginal probe.”

As you’d expect, Maddow and MSNBC declined to comment, but anyone familiar with Maddow’s modus operandi knows what’s coming next — Maddow maligning PolitiFact for what she perceives as shabby reporting, coupled with a “clarification” of what she meant to say about that new abortion law in Ohio.