Against a purple gradient background, white text read:
Nancy Pelosi just called Trump’s request to ban late-term abortion “Really quite a sad thing.”
No Pelosi, killing babies is a sad thing.
Who else thinks she should be removed from office?
Like many other viral Facebook posts of its sort, the text-based status update format has proliferated on Facebook since the platform introduced updates with colored or patterned backgrounds. Earlier misinformation spread in the same format included claims a 2012 gun ban led to Venezuelans being murdered in the streets by their government, dozens of Christians were massacred by Muslims in March 2019, the passage of HR 1 enabled non-citizens to vote, President Barack Obama deliberately planted refugee voters into what would become Rep. Ilhan Omar’s district, that Chicago city identification cards allowed non-citizens to vote (again), and that Sen. Bernie Sanders called Christianity an “insult to Muslims.”
In each of those fact checks, we have referenced the same March 2019 Poynter article explaining the manner in which text-based Facebook posts (and attendant misinformation and disinformation) flourish in that format:
But since [the format was introduced], like other formats on Facebook, the text post feature has been weaponized into an effective way to spread misinformation on the platform.
Over the past few weeks, some of the most viral hoaxes on Facebook have spread in the form of text posts. They make salacious political claims without linking to any website or attaching a photo or video. They often come from regular Facebook users instead of Pages or Groups.
Like its predecessors, the claim that Pelosi described fewer “late-term abortions” as “really quite a sad thing” did not come with any citations or news articles to better inform its readers. An average Facebook user might find it challenging to verify the quote in a sea of 2019 articles about abortion bans.
In this case, however, Pelosi’s purported quote was easy to locate. It appeared to originate with a February 2019 Daily Caller article. Although Daily Caller is known as an unreliable source (and its misleading headline matched the meme), a video was included of Pelosi’s full remarks:
Further, Pelosi’s full response was transcribed in the post. A person off camera asks Speaker Pelosi what she thinks about President Trump’s call for “a ban on late-term abortions.” In response, Pelosi says:
It’s really quite a sad thing when you know that we’ll be talking about something that applies to the health and life — health and ability to have other children of women. I hope that in his family, he never has to face that crisis and apply his attitude toward it.
Pelosi’s response in its entirety was omitted in the meme and the headline, and while she does say the words “really quite a sad thing,” she goes on to say the “sad thing” is what she believes is a threat to women’s lives, health, and fertility — not late-term abortions bans.