Designed to Scare Women

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There’s nothing that drives me crazier than ads that use misleading and illogical arguments to make their cases. I thought all that was done with once this last presidential election was over, but I guess I was wrong. The health care debate has brought the conservative creepy-crawlies  out of the woodwork. Here is an ad that illustrates my point.

First of all, the ad doesn’t say that it is using 30-year-old statistics. Secondly, it uses survival rates when mortality rates are more accurate. Thirdly, the American Cancer Society denies citing the statistics that are used in the ad. And finally, the ad’s scare factor is based more on what it doesn’t say than what it does: What is this huge amount of money that the public health care option will cost taxpayers? And what period of time is being referred to when the 300,000 breast cancer victims are supposed to have died?

And what about when you compare other kinds of health condition or situations? (I’m going to throw in Germany’s rates as well, since they also have a “public option.”)

Infant Mortality Rates: (Source)

  • Germany: 4.3 per 1,000 live births
  • United Kingdom: 4.8 per 1,000 live births
  • United States: 6.3 per 1,000 live births

Maternal mortality Rates: (Source)

  • Germany: 8 per 100,000
  • United Kingdom: 7 per 100,000
  • United States: 8 per 100,000

The organization that is paying for this ad, the Independent Women’s Forum, sounds like it would be feminist, but it’s not. (Read my post about “False Feminists.”) This is definitely not a case of “truth in advertising”! If you just take it at face value, it sounds convincing–and scary. I’d like to think that people viewing this ad would be discerning enough to ask questions like I’ve asked. Or to check out the statistics and sources for themselves.

For a more detailed discussion of this ad and its claims, go to this article on FactCheck.org.

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Ellen Keim

Ellen is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with three cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

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