The head of Planned Parenthood declared at a House hearing today that “the latest smear campaign” of undercover videos showing discussions about brokering baby body parts “is based on efforts by our opponents to entrap our doctors and clinicians into breaking the law — and once again, our opponents failed.”
Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that “less than one percent of Planned Parenthood Health Centers are actually facilitating the donation of tissue for fetal tissue research,” and “in those health centers, donating fetal tissue is something that many of our patients want to do and regularly request.”
Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) focused much of his questioning on “co-mingling” of Planned Parenthood funds including overseas and within their political action fund.
He showed Richards a slide noting the rise in abortions and decrease in breast exams by Planned Parenthood; she fired back that “it absolutely does not reflect what’s happening at Planned Parenthood.”
“I pulled those numbers directly out of your corporate reports,” Chaffetz said.
“Excuse me, my lawyer is informing me that the source of this is actually Americans United for Life, which is an anti-abortion group. So, I would check your source,” Richards retorted.
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) asked Richards how many clinics receive the bulk of their revenue from abortion.
“I don’t know that answer,” Richards said. “…But I do think it’s important to understand that abortion procedures are probably more expensive than some other procedures that we — that we provide, which might — you know, might explain what you’re trying to get at.”
Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) called the hearing important because “it will reveal whether this committee is more interested in facts or fiction.”
“There’s no credible evidence before this committee that any Planned Parenthood employee agreed to any proposal to sell fetal tissue for profit in violation of the law. Republicans keep making this claim over and over again, but that does not make it true,” Cummings said, adding that Democrats on the panel wanted Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden to testify “but Republicans refused.”
“That brings us to the big question for my Republican colleagues. Do you really want to do this? Do you really? Do you want to align yourselves with the radical extremists who manipulate the facts? And most importantly, do you want to attack millions of women who have a constitutional right, affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States of America, to make their own health care decisions with the advice of their doctors?” Cummings continued. “Based on the evidence of last week, it appears that you do. You threaten to shut down the government. You ousted your speaker. And now, you want to set up yet another select committee to investigate.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said the desire of Congress members to protect Planned Parenthood boiled down to donations.
“Politicians give money to Planned Parenthood, who give it back to politicians at election time, who get elected and give it back to Planned Parenthood, who give it back to politicians who get elected, and the game plays on,” Jordan said. “In 2012, in that election cycle, Planned Parenthood spent almost $12 million in advertising. Fact: $11,874,052, 100 percent of that went to Democrats. Every penny, every single penny went to Democrats. No wonder they are defending this repulsive game.”
Jordan asked Richards, “If the videos were selectively edited, heavily edited, if this was entrapment, if this was all untrue, then why did you apologize?”
Richards said it was “inappropriate” of a doctor featured on film in the first CMP video discussing body parts in a restaurant “to have a clinical discussion of — in a nonconfidential, nonclinical setting, and I told her that.”
She added that her apology for the “tone” in that video “did not reflect the compassionate care that we provide.”