PolitiFact Leaps to Claim Biden Is 'Mostly True' That America Is Now an Abortion 'Outlier'

June 26th, 2022 7:28 PM

PolitiFact’s routine tendency to defend President Biden’s accuracy in his public proclamations continued within hours of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision on Friday. Biden claimed America was now an “outlier among developed nations” in the world. Madison Czopek and Tom Kertscher claimed this was “Mostly True.”

This was their quickie summary:

-- The reversal of Roe v. Wade eliminated the national right to abortion access in the U.S., leaving it to states to regulate.

-- That makes the U.S. an outlier among other developed nations, which have laws or court rulings that provide for national access to abortion.

This was their conclusion:

The ruling eliminates the national right to an abortion, which puts the U.S. at odds with other developed nations, including the other six G-7 nations, most of which have laws or court rulings that provide for abortion access on a national basis, though with restrictions. The U.S. ruling does leave in place state laws that permit abortion.

We rate Biden’s statement Mostly True.

That’s funny. Other fact checkers have found that up until Friday, America was an outlier. For example, The Washington Post agreed in 2017 that America was one of only seven countries who allowed abortion on demand, including China, the Netherlands, North Korea, and Vietnam. The Post was a little surprised and concluded “what is telling that research from both sides of the reproductive rights debate confirm this figure.” Politifact actually links to the Post check in this article.

States have been passing restrictions since then, but even now, states like Mississippi (the one whose case was heard by the Court) proposed restrictions that are comparable (and sometimes even more lax) than European countries. PolitiFact acknowledged that gee, Europe wasn't exactly a Planned Parenthood paradise: 

France: Restricts elective abortions after 12 to 14 weeks, but has exceptions for specific economic or mental health reasons that extend the cutoffs.

Germany: Restricts elective abortions after 12 to 14 weeks.

Italy: Restricts elective abortions after 12 to 14 weeks.

Actually, Canada isn't as liberal as its national government pledges. The abortion lobby in Canada notes provincial governments have gestational limits, so it would appear there are some Canadian versions of Mississippi: Manitoba, New Brunswick and Newfoundland have a 16-week limit, and it's 13 weeks for Yukon and Nunavut and 12 weeks for Prince Edward Island.

Last year, PolitiFact made a video suggesting that Missisippi Gov. Tate Reeves was wrong to use this argument because they could find all kinds of "health of the mother" exceptions that blurred up the facts. So sometimes they're PolitiBlur, not PolitiFact!