Anti-Abortion Propaganda is Big Bu$ine$$

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Two types of people make money from Planned Parenthood—employees who work for the organization, providing actual medical and educational services to people who willingly seek out care, and people who willfully lie about those medical and educational services for a fee.

Mother Jones calls the recent release of gotcha videos part of  an annihilation campaign against Planned Parenthood, and that’s pretty accurate. It is a campaign with paid staff. David Daleiden, the rabble rouser behind the latest skirmish, started an entire nonprofit to get paid for lying about what Planned Parenthood does.

Tomorrow in Austin, prompted by Daleiden’s work, a hearing called by Sen. Charles Schwertner will convene. It will consider how Planned Parenthood affiliates operate, whether their business practices violate any state or federal laws, and whether abortion providers should be subjected to additional regulations regarding the sale of fetal tissue.

Since the hearing, and possible release of a new video recorded in a Houston clinic, will keep this story in the Texas news cycle, here are some facts to share with those who have not yet applied critical thinking skills to the situation.

The full-length video disproves the false claims made based on the edited version. A full-length version of the video released by The Center for Medical Progress, which that organization claims shows a Planned Parenthood staff member discussing the sale of fetal tissue, does not actually show that. It repeatedly, in fact, shows her explaining how the clinics do comply with the law, and how not complying would be wrong.

Violations of federal law likely do exist—by the entity doing the secret filming. The Center for Medical Progress filed paperwork as a 501(c)(3) engaged in biomedical research, when actually, they exist solely to act as a front group for anti-abortion activism. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a complaint with the IRS, and several members of Congress have asked Attorney Loretta Lynch to investigate.

Ask Al Capone whether it violates federal law to lie to the IRS.

Planned Parenthood in Houston has pointed out that the people who approached them appear to have used faked ID. Thanks to HB 3994, don’t forget, Planned Parenthood is expected to have expertise in spotting fake IDs.

Daleiden follows in the footsteps of James O’Keefe, pioneer of the gotcha video. Note that O’Keefe lost a job early in his career with the conservative Leadership Institute because his boss, long-time Republican activist Morton Blackwell, no stranger to outrageous tactics, worried that the secret video tactics would jeopardize the tax-exempt status of the organization.

The only jobs the people behind the video have held as adults are jobs creating anti-abortion propaganda. They’re actually not that good at it. David Daleiden, before creating The CMP, worked with Lila Rose at a group called Live Action. Stalking Planned Parenthood is their full-time focus, and they get plenty of funding to do it, but still, the best they can come up with are a few videos that prove … that they can edit video so people appear to say the opposite of what they said.

If Planned Parenthood were violating the law, Texas would have known about it already. After all, abortion providers in the state are subjected to layers and layers of regulation. Audits happen annually, and unannounced inspections are built into the evaluation systems. The books are completely open at all times. Protocols and client consent forms for tissue donation have never been hidden, and are available to anyone who asks.

The notion that there’s a black market for fetal tissue is ridiculous. First, it is legal to donate fetal tissue for scientific research, and legal to use it in scientific research, and legal for someone to pay the cost of prepping, storing, and transporting it. Second, if you were selling anything on the black market, would you print a price list? Would you talk about it with strangers at a health fair? Again, in a heavily regulated agency subject to surprise inspections and repeatedly targeted by anti-abortion troublemakers, it makes absolutely no sense to print and hand out incriminating documents, or chitchat about it in a public place with total strangers.

CMP shopped the video around for weeks before he found someone willing to get outraged about it. Shortly after news of the videos broke about a week ago, more news broke about the fact that many in Congress had actually been given copies almost a month earlier and not done anything about it. Presumably, because they didn’t trust the messenger and recognized that the videos were made by hacks with an obvious agenda and reputation for dishonesty. They didn’t like it when the media pointed this out, but they didn’t refute it, either. Because there was nothing to refute.

Tomorrow morning, Wednesday, July 29th at 9 am, people will gather at the Texas Capitol to show their support for Planned Parenthood. Whether you can go or not, you can help in three ways:

1) Call or write your state senator and representative to let them know you resent tax dollars being spent on an investigation into Planned Parenthood based on a fraudulent video.

2) Share this blog post so your friends know what is going on and how to explain it to other people.

3) Call, write, or email your representative in the U.S. Congress to ask them to join the call for an IRS investigation of whether David Daleiden falsified information in tax filings for The Center for Medical Progress.

Having an opinion about abortion, or about research using fetal tissue, is fine. Gotcha videos, edited to deceive, are not. They do not contribute to civil discourse and should not be tolerated. Let’s keep the focus where it belongs, on the nefarious activities of paid operatives actively working to turn lies into laws to shut down Planned Parenthood.

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About Author

Andrea Greer

Andrea, an activist, fundraiser, feminist, writer, and baker, is not as tall as you think she is. She's been at this a long time, and wants to know what you are doing to make the pie higher and raise more hell. Her mother would like you to know she's got a law degree.

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