Facts Matter: Supreme Court was within its power to overturn Roe v. Wade

During a briefing earlier this month, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about President Joe Biden's response to the Supreme Court overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

"Look, there has been an urgency from this president from day one when the Supreme Court made this extreme decision to take away a constitutional right," Jean-Pierre said. "It was an unconstitutional action by them, a right that was around for almost 50 years, a right that women had to make a decision on their bodies and how they want to start their families."

But the decision was constitutional, according to PolitiFact. The Supreme Court acted within its power.

"The court does not act 'unconstitutionally' when it interprets the Constitution," William & Mary Law School professor Timothy Zick told PolitiFact. "There is no question the court had the power to do what it did."

Zick cited Marbury v. Madison, the 1803 court case that found it is the duty of the Judicial Department to determine what is the law.

A White House spokesperson told PolitiFact that Jean-Pierre misspoke.

Monkeypox not related to COVID-19

A recent outbreak of monkeypox has some social media users linking the viral disease to the COVID-19 vaccines.

"Monkeypox is another lie. It's VACCINEPOX! Get it right," read an Instagram post.

A commenter on that post wrote, "It will be interesting to see how many unjabbed never get it but then again that probably still wont be enough to awaken the masses."

But there is no evidence to support this claim, according to USA Today. Monkeypox can't be a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccines because the vaccines don't contain any live viruses.

Dr. Stuart Ray, a COVID-19 expert at Johns Hopkins University, told USA Today the COVID-19 vaccines are not transmittable agents and therefore can't cause an infectious disease.

"Monkeypox is unrelated clinically, genetically and epidemiologically from COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 and vaccination," Ray said.

Monkeypox was first detected in humans in 1970. There are currently more than 9,000 cases in the U.S., according to USA Today, and President Joe Biden has declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency.

Immigrants don't get SSN at the border

A video making the rounds on social media claims immigrants crossing the border into the U.S. are issued Social Security cards.

"Now, when people come across the border illegally - and I have this confirmed from Border Patrol agents who are actually physically doing this - they (are) given a Social Security number. They get assigned a Social Security number when they cross," former Fox Nation host Lara Logan says in the clip.

A Twitter user sharing the video wrote, "BREAKING REPORT: Investigative Journalist Lara Logan Drops Bomb, says Officials are Giving Social Security Numbers to Illegal Aliens at the US Border."

But that is false, according to The Associated Press. Immigrants living illegally in the U.S. aren't eligible for Social Security numbers and the border patrol officers can't hand them out.

"U.S. Border Patrol does not possess the capability or authority to issue Social Security numbers, and therefore does not issue Social Security numbers to noncitizens who crossed the border," U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Rhonda Lawson told the AP.

Experts said Logan's claim is unlikely.

"The scenario she proposes is not plausible," Arizona State University professor Evelyn Cruz told the AP. "Someone entering illegally does not have a right to a Social Security number. Period."

Lawson told the AP that immigrants at the border are given an A-number, used to track cases in the system.

"I'm quite familiar with the kinds of forms that they get and the proceedings that they undergo and getting a Social Security card is absolutely not one of the things that happen in connection with border processing," she said.

Photo of whale and kayaker is fake

An image of a kayaker paddling across a whale's open mouth in Alaska was posted on social media last month.

According to one post, a dentist was kayaking in Sitka, Alaska when a large whale underneath him began to rise, with an open mouth, to gather herring from the water's surface.

"If the whale had closed his mouth before he furiously paddled away, he might have been LUNCH!!! Look at the picture again - He is in the whale's MOUTH!" the July 14 Facebook post read.

But that photo is fake, according to USA Today. The image is a merging of two different photos.

Tim Shobe, the photographer who took the photos, told USA Today he Photoshopped them together "for fun" nearly 12 years ago, before sending the new image to a few friends.

"But I never tried to fool anyone, and the wording about the 'incident' seemed to travel around the world with the image," he said. "I never wrote that part either and don't know who did."

The altered image first appeared on Facebook in 2016 and has since been shared more than 120,000 times.

Shobe told USA Today the man in the kayak is a friend of his and is not a dentist.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at

This image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a colorized transmission electron micrograph of monkeypox particles (red) found within an infected cell (blue). Social media posts falsely claim the disease is related to COVID-19. NIAID Photo via Associated Press
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