The Denver Post’s Elizabeth Hernandez reports–as you’ve probably seen in the news by now, the anti-abortion gotchameisters at the so-called “Center for Medical Progress” paid a visit to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains as well–and a video this week adds to their drumbeat releases of highly edited videos attacking the organization’s alleged tissue donation practices:
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is “certain” it has done nothing illegal and that the accusations made against it by an anti-abortion group that posted an undercover, edited video of a PPRM physician seemingly talking about the sale of fetal parts is false.
The video — the third released by the Center for Medical Progress in recent days — shows local Planned Parenthood Dr. Savita Ginde looking at specimens with an alleged fetal tissue buyer.
Fetal tissue cannot be sold for profit but can be donated for research with permission of a donor, and providers can be reimbursed for the cost of the procedure.
Planned Parenthood says it obeys the law. But since the release of the first furtively recorded video, Republicans in Congress have been pressing to bar federal aid to the group.
Now several weeks into a series of undercover videos released by anti-abortion activists in the hope of scandalizing what amounts to routine and life-saving medical research, two things are increasingly undeniable: that these videos rely on emotional manipulation to shock viewers out of thinking rationally, and that they are part of a longstanding campaign by anti-abortion activists and allied Republican lawmakers to discredit and ultimately defund Planned Parenthood–despite the organization’s major contribution to public health in a variety of fields. The Colorado Independent’s Nat Stein provides important context for locals:
This 501(c)3 nonprofit was founded in 2013 by David Daleiden, a famous provocateur in the anti-abortion movement. Also listed as a CMP board member on the group’s registration filing in the state of California is Troy Newman — president of Operation Rescue, which ran a decades-long harassment campaign against Dr. George Tiller in Kansas that only ended after Tiller was murdered in a church in 2009…
Here in Denver, it’s worth noting that PPRM, like most Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country, doesn’t currently have a fetal-tissue-donation program. From the highly edited video, the context of their conversation about tissue sales is unclear, but PPRM President and CEO Vicki Cowart issued a statement explaining that representatives from CMP’s fake company Biomax had approached the clinic about launching a program. [Pols emphasis]
Under pressure from hard-right Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs, Colorado State University has announced they will suspend any further acquisition of fetal tissue until Congress completes an “investigation” sparked by the spread of these videos. CSU presently has a single research project that has used fetal tissue samples, working on a treatment for HIV/AIDS. CSU says they did not obtain complete fetal organs, just small tissue samples, and CSU insists they were all procured in accordance with the law.
It’s important to note that, other than the unpleasant subject matter being discussed, none of these videos show anything that appears illegal as the law pertains to voluntary fetal tissue donations. Planned Parenthood doctors covertly filmed repeatedly state that they are following the law, and that it’s “not about the money.” In the end, it is one’s pre-existing views on abortion that principally determine the reaction to these videos. And that means they are most useful for agitating people who already oppose abortion.
For the rest of us, it’s the same old anti-choice crap. It takes just a moment of critical thinking to realize that medical research is in fact a good thing, and doctors talking about their work in terms non-doctors find a bit macabre is hardly a new phenomenon. Once you realize that, these videos are no more worthy of consideration than those lurid rolling billboard trucks covered with bloody fetuses and pocket change. Not to mention the growing possibility that laws were broken filming them.
In the end, it’s (pardon the expression) red meat for the conservative base, and little more. With one possible caveat: to the extent that these videos send social conservatives into yet another public freakout over what most Americans consider a settled law, this could well backfire politically–once again defining Republicans as the “war on women” party just ahead of a major election.