White House press secretary Josh Earnest said today that he doesn’t know if President Obama has seen any of the undercover videos regarding Planned Parenthood’s harvesting and sale of body parts, but indicated the administration is writing them off as an anti-abortion tactic.
“I don’t know if he has or not,” Earnest replied at today’s press briefing when asked if Obama had seen today’s release, which shows a Planned Parenthood medical director picking at aborted body parts and declaring it’s a boy.
“I don’t know if has seen any of them. I do know that he has been following the story in the news,” Earnest continued. “Again, we have — as you have heard me say before, there are — there’s ample reason to think that this is merely the tried and true tactic that we have seen from extremists on the right to edit this video and selectively release and edited version of the video that grossly distorts the position of the person who is actually speaking on the video. And Planned Parenthood has indicated that’s what has occurred here.”
“And any review of the policy that Planned Parenthood says they implement indicates that the views expressed on the videos is — or at least the way they are pictured on the videos is entirely inaccurate. But for those policies and for the way that Planned Parenthood implements them, I’d encourage you to contact Planned Parenthood.”
But, he stressed, Obama “will not support another effort by Republicans to try to defund an organization that offers important and needed health care services for millions of women across the country.” Bills to strip funding have been introduced in the House and Senate.
Pressed further on the issue, Earnest was asked if there had been any communication between the White House and Planned Parenthood about whether they were illegally trafficking organs or not.
“Not that I’m aware of. And I think that Planned Parenthood has policies and procedures in place, and I know that they have described those policy and procedures as living up to the highest ethical standards. For what those standards are, I’d refer you to Planned Parenthood,” he said. “And as I mentioned, based on the essentially fraudulent way in which these videos have been released, there’s not a lot of evidence right now that Planned Parenthood hasn’t lived up to those standards.”
Asked if anyone at the White House had watched the videos from the Center for Medical Progress, Earnest responded, “I suspect somebody has.”
“And where are you getting your information, the fact that it’s fraudulent or the fact that they’re distorted and edited unfairly?” a reporter asked.
“Based on the public comments of Planned Parenthood, who has indicated that the views that are represented in the video are entirely inconsistent with the — with that organization’s policies and with the high ethical standard that they live up to,” Earnest said.
Asked if it he was then simply getting his talking points from Planned Parenthood, Earnest said, “I’m merely repeating what I’ve seen that they’ve said and has been reported publicly about what they’ve said.”
“But I’m certainly not the only person to arrive at this conclusion. There are a number of others who have taken a look at those videos and raised significant doubts about their authenticity based on the way that they were edited and they certainly are consistent with the frequently stated policy of Planned Parenthood,” he added. “And I think that’s why many, many people who have taken a look at this situation have arrived at the same conclusion and described the videos the same way that I have.”
Asked if Planned Parenthood had contacted the White House about the videos, Earnest replied, “I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s taken place but I’m not aware of any specific conversations.”