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WaPo fact-checker dings Jayapal for claiming 'majority' of US supports federal funding for abortions

WaPo fact-checker dings Jayapal for claiming 'majority' of US supports federal funding for abortions

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The Washington Post gave Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) two “Pinocchios Wednesday” for making the false claim that “the majority” of Americans supports the federal funding of abortions. 

The left-leaning congresswoman, who appeared on CNN Sunday, claimed that the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding of abortion in most cases, is “something the majority of the country doesn’t support.”

This amendment has been passed through annual appropriations bills over nearly 45 years. It has attracted increased attention after Joe Biden, then-presidential hopeful, announced that he will oppose the bill, despite having previously supported it during his time as a U.S. Senator. Senator. 

Jayapal pledged to fight any spending bill that includes the Hyde Amendment. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a prominent Democrat has stated that a bill without the Hyde Amendment would “dead upon arrival” in Senate. 

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Public opinion polls can be used to find out what Americans think. However, not all polls are 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. Jayapal had relied upon a poll that was released by an organization favoring abortion rights, as it turned out.” he concluded. 

Kessler outlined four polls that were conducted between 2014-2018 by CNN-ORC, YouGov Politico/Harvard, Politico/Harvard, and PRRI. These showed Jayapal was incorrect. Each poll showed that the majority of Americans oppose federal funding for abortions.

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He gave some examples of polls that had been commissioned by advocacy organizations and showed completely different results. However, he pointed out that the wording and format of these polls raised doubts about their results.

“We’re often wary of polls commissioned by advocacy groups. Jayapal in this instance relies upon a poll conducted for an advocacy group. Jayapal wants to increase public funding for abortions. “The framing and question structure often determines the outcome of polls,” Kessler said.

He said that there has been very little independent, high-quality polling in recent years which could suggest that attitudes about abortion are changing. One Ipsos survey he cited this year showed a small majority of those in favor of Medicaid coverage for abortions.

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Jayapal claims that the result must be compared to the results of other polls. Kessler stated that she earned two Pinocchios. 



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