Planned Parenthood Is Not Harvesting ‘Baby Parts’
John Boehner is on his way out as House Speaker, having finally gotten his wish: to see the pope on Capitol Hill. He’s leaving behind a national Republican Party in tumult, a party beleaguered by its most extreme factions’ demands for action not on the economy or immigration, but on abortion.
That’s not news, of course. Republicans have long run on talking points about Obamacare this and illegal immigration that, only to get settled on Capitol Hill and spend their time mostly hyperventilating about uteruses and the people who have them. This summer, a new attack against Planned Parenthood whipped up this long-simmering abortion panic into a full-on froth, as heavily edited videos produced by a nascent anti-abortion group began circulating in July.
The videos purport to show Planned Parenthood employees, including some doctors, negotiating big-bucks deals for fetal tissue. The Center for Medical Progress (CMP), which produced the videos without the consent of the people it secretly (and in some cases illegally) filmed, says Planned Parenthood is dedicated to the sale of what it calls “baby parts,” and that it is conspiring to coerce people – ignorant, easily duped women who don’t know what’s best for themselves, mostly – into getting abortions in order to generate profit from those sales.
After months of huffing and puffing from right-wing leaders and anti-abortion pundits, Congress finally held a public hearing that was ostensibly meant to cover Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue donation practices. Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, the daughter of former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for hours, patiently rebutting and rebuffing attempts to paint her as a morally abject abortion profiteer. She was yelled at, cut off and derided by lawmakers who relished the opportunity to rail against abortion – red meat for conservative voters in their districts. At one point, Republican Rep. Jim Duncan of Tennessee asked Richards, “Surely you don’t expect us to be easier on you because you’re a woman?” She endured these discourtesies with a steely resolve.
She shouldn’t have had to be there in the first place; nobody should have. But the video campaign against Planned Parenthood has taken root in contemporary conversations about the politics of reproductive health care, and the myth that Planned Parenthood is a baby-killing behemoth persists, despite all evidence to the contrary.
So I’m here to give you the evidence to the contrary.
Maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t know what’s going on with this Planned Parenthood story, but something must be – those videos do sound damning.”
That’s understandable. So let’s do this: I’m going to describe for you, broadly, what the people who made the videos believe, and whom they’re associated with, and then I want you to ask yourself if they sound like trustworthy sources.