The Truth-O-Meter Says:
Paul

Says Rick Santorum "funded Planned Parenthood."

Ron Paul on Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 in a campaign commercial

Ron Paul ad claims Rick Santorum funded Planned Parenthood

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum says he’s the only consistent conservative in the Republican presidential field, but a new Ron Paul campaign ad says the label is phony.

Paul’s ad calls Santorum a "counterfeit conservative" who, among other sins, "funded Planned Parenthood."

We decided to check whether Santorum, well known for his opposition to abortion and even contraception in some instances, supported government funding of the controversial women’s health provider.

A look at the funding

When we contacted Paul’s campaign for backup, his spokesman provided us a list of votes that Santorum -- and Paul -- made on large appropriations bills for the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal departments. The bills including funding for something called Title X.

According to the Health and Human Services website, Title X provides "comprehensive family planning services." With an emphasis on serving low-income Americans, the services are defined as "contraceptive services and related counseling" as well as "preventive health services such as: patient education and counseling; breast and pelvic examinations; breast and cervical cancer screening according to nationally recognized standards of care; sexually transmitted disease (STD) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevention education, counseling, testing and referral; and pregnancy diagnosis and counseling. By law, Title X funds may not be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning."

Despite the ban on using federal funds for abortions, critics (including Paul) say the funds are "fungible," meaning even though government dollars don’t pay for abortions directly, the funding frees other money that can be used for abortions.

The bulk of Planned Parenthood’s work involves routine women’s health care -- pelvic exams, STD testing and counseling and contraceptives. It is also the country’s biggest abortion provider and a significant recipient of Title X funds.

Santorum’s votes

The list Paul’s campaign sent us shows votes on appropriations bills from 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. In each case, Santorum voted for the bills, and Paul voted against.

Looking closely at the bill from 2006, Santorum’s last HHS appropriations vote in the Senate, the $142.5 billion spending package allocated money for everything from the human genome project to aging services, from the black lung disability trust fund to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

As for Title X: "$285,963,000 shall be for the program under title X of the Public Health Service Act to provide for voluntary family planning projects."

Santorum’s response

We didn’t hear back from Santorum’s campaign for this story. But he has spoken on the topic in interviews and debates, explaining that while he personally opposes the use of contraceptives, he supports their availability as a matter of public policy.

Talking to CBS on Feb. 17, 2012, Santorum said, "It’s funny that I’ve been criticized by Governor Romney and by Ron Paul for actually having voted for something called Title X, which is actually federal funding of contraception. … My public policy beliefs are that this contraception should be available. Again, I’ve supported Title X funding. I’ve also supported abstinence-based education because I believe that is a healthier alternative."

During a debate in Arizona on Feb. 22, 2012, Santorum struggled to explain his position of having voted for the funding while declaring opposition to it:

"As Congressman Paul knows, I opposed Title X funding. I've always opposed Title X funding, but it's included in a large appropriation bill that includes a whole host of other things, including the funding for the National Institutes of Health, the funding for Health and Human Services and a whole bunch of other departments. It's a multi-billion-dollar bill.

"What I did, because Title X was always pushed through, I did something that no one else did. Congressman Paul didn't. I said, well, if you're going to have Title X funding, then we're going to create something called Title XX, which is going to provide funding for abstinence-based programs, so at least we'll have an opportunity to provide programs that actually work in -- in keeping children from being sexually active instead of facilitating children from being sexually active. And I pushed Title XX … to accomplish that goal. … As president of the United States, I will defund Planned Parenthood; I will not sign any appropriation bill that funds Planned Parenthood."

Our ruling

Paul’s ad says Santorum funded Planned Parenthood.

His campaign points to Santorum’s yea votes in the Senate on massive appropriations bills for funding the federal government. Title X funding, which funnels family planning dollars to health care providers including Planned Parenthood, was in those spending measures. Santorum has been unclear about where he stands on Title X, saying in one instance that he supports Title X and in another that he opposes it.

In any event, he did not vote separately for Title X but for omnibus multi-billion dollar appropriations measures that funded many other activities. Saying, as the ad does, that he "funded Planned Parenthood," makes it sound like he played a larger role than being one of many votes in favor of a broad-based appropriations bill. In 2006, for instance, he was joined by all but two of his Senate Republican colleagues in voting for the bill. Paul's statement is partially accurate but it leaves out that important context. We rate the claim Half True.

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About this statement:

Published: Thursday, March 1st, 2012 at 5:57 p.m.

Subjects: Abortion, Message Machine 2012

Sources:

Ron Paul ad "Three of a Kind," Feb. 28, 2012

Department of Health and Human Services website, "Title X Family Planning," accessed March 1, 2012

POLITICO, "Mike Pence’s war on Planned Parenthood," Feb. 16, 2011

Government Printing Office, H.R.3010 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006

Republican presidential debate in Mesa, Ariz., Feb. 22, 2012, transcript accessed via Nexis

CBS This Morning, Feb. 17, 2012

Written by: Molly Moorhead
Researched by: Molly Moorhead
Edited by: Martha M. Hamilton

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