Satire got the best of unsuspecting or factually impaired Republican Congressman John Fleming of Louisiana this past Friday. An ardent opponent of abortion, Fleming posted on his Facebook account a link to a May 11, 2011 story by The Onion titled "Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex."
Fleming's Facebook status, which has since been deleted, included the link with the note, "More on Planned Parenthood, abortion by the wholesale."
The congressman's followers were directed to Onion's faux-story that begins, "Planned Parenthood announced Tuesday the grand opening of its long-planned $8 billion Abortionplex, a sprawling abortion facility that will allow the organization to terminate unborn lives with an efficiency never before thought possible."
The gaffe was spotted by Literally Unbelievable, a blog that posts statuses from people who take Onion's satire as fact. Without further comment, Fleming’s spokesman Doug Sachtleben told Politico that Fleming's post was removed from his Facebook page. “The Onion is satire," wrote one commenter on Facebook before the post was deleted. "How exactly did you get elected?”
The Abortionplex report is awfully ridiculous even by Onion's standards. Among the greater flourishes from the story about the state-of-the-art abortion factory:
The remaining space is dedicated to amenities such as coffee shops, bars, dozens of restaurants and retail outlets, a three-story nightclub, and a 10-screen multiplex theater—features intended not only to help clients relax, but to foster a sense of community and make abortion more of a social event.
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"I was kind of on the fence in the beginning," [one woman] said. "But after a couple of margaritas and a ride down the lazy river they've got circling the place, I got caught up in the vibe. By the time it was over, I almost wished I could've aborted twins and gotten to stay a little longer."
Planned Parenthood received a lot of attention last week when women's health fund-raising juggernaut the Susan G. Komen foundation announced that it would no longer support PP. After a severe, immediate backlash, the Komen foundation reversed course, explaining that "recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives."
On January 31, Congressman Fleming, a family physician, posted on his Facebook page, "Susan G. Komen cutting funding to Planned Parenthood. It is time Congress should do the same as long as taxpayer money is used to take innocent life."
Onion editor Joe Randazzo enjoyed Fleming's complete misapprehension of the website's satirical story. “We’re delighted to hear that Rep. Fleming is a regular reader of America’s Finest News Source and doesn’t bother himself with The New York Times, Washington Post, the mediums of television and radio, or any other lesser journalism outlets,” he said in a statement.
Despite the abhorrent judgment by Fleming, he must be overcome with relief that the Abortionplex doesn't exist. The thought of an abortion factory with the largest rock climbing wall in Kansas, valet parking, and abortion suites "where women may enjoy a complimentary pedicure and a flute of champagne" would have been quite unsettling.