Republican Reliance on Discredited Videos
Numerous Investigations Already Found No Wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood
House Republicans have seized on a series of secretly-recorded and deceptively-edited videos to launch investigations into Planned Parenthood. Three Republican-led House Committees, thirteen states, and a Texas grand jury have investigated and found no wrongdoing. Eight more states found no credible evidence to even warrant opening an investigation. Yet Republicans continue to invoke the discredited videos to support their investigation.
The Campaign of Deception Against Planned Parenthood
A hidden-camera video released last week purported to show that Planned Parenthood illegally sells tissue from aborted fetuses. It shows nothing of the sort. But it is the latest in a series of unrelenting attacks on Planned Parenthood, which offers health care services to millions of people every year. The politicians howling to defund Planned Parenthood care nothing about the truth here, being perfectly willing to undermine women’s reproductive rights any way they can.
The Center for Medical Progress video campaign is a dishonest attempt to make legal, voluntary and potentially lifesaving tissue donations appear nefarious and illegal. Lawmakers responding by promoting their own anti-choice agenda are rewarding deception and putting women’s health and their constitutionally protected rights at risk.
3 Republican-Led Congressional Committees Found No Wrongdoing
Led by Republicans, three committees in the U.S. House of Representatives have already investigated and found no evidence of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood. To date, Planned Parenthood has produced over 25, 000 pages of documents to the committees.
13 States Investigated and Found No Wrongdoing
Thirteen states investigated and cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing. Those states are: Arizona, Kansas, Florida, Ohio, Washington, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, and South Dakota.
8 States Found No Credible Evidence to Warrant Investigating
An additional eight states refused even to investigate, finding that there was no credible evidence of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood upon which to base an investigation. Those states are: California, Iowa, Delaware, Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Colorado.
South Dakota: After instructing the Department of Health to investigate Planned Parenthood, Republican Attorney General Marty Jackley on August 11, 2015, stated that “there are no reports, complaints or inspection records that would demonstrate any evidence (of) illegal activity in South Dakota at this time.”
Indiana: Under a directive from Republican Governor Mike Pence to investigate “Planned Parenthood’s alleged trafficking of aborted fetal tissue,” the Department of Health conducted a review and on July 30, 2015, reported that “there was no evidence of this type of activity at these sites.”
Missouri: After opening an investigation into Planned Parenthood, Attorney General Chris Koster on September 28, 2015, announced his office found "no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis facility is selling fetal tissue” and concluded that “fetal tissue is handled in accordance with Missouri law.”
Massachusetts: At the request of Republican lawmakers in the state, Attorney General Maura Healey opened an investigation and on July 29, 2015, said: “My office has conducted a thorough review and found that Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts’ health care centers are fully compliant with state and federal laws regarding the disposition of fetal tissue...There is no evidence that PPLM is involved in any way in the buying or selling of tissue. As such, our review is complete.”
Texas Grand Jury Indicts Anti-Abortion Activists
On January 25, 2016, a Harris County, Texas, grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing and instead indicted David Daleiden and his colleague Sandra Merritt, who made the deceptively-edited videos, on second-degree felony charges.
As a result of the decision, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, who was appointed by Republican Governor Rick Perry and is unequivocally pro-life, faced a backlash from anti-abortion groups and pressure to re-present the investigation into Planned Parenthood to another grand jury. In response, District Attorney Anderson released a video statement standing by the grand jury’s decision even though her personal beliefs don’t align with Planned Parenthood, stating: “The inconvenient truth of a criminal investigation is that it doesn’t always lead where you want to go.”
Harris County district attorney responds to questions about the Daleiden indictment.
"Recent videos exposing the abortion-for-baby parts business have shocked the nation, and demanded action.
"Last summer’s videos revealed that something very troubling is going on related to fetal tissue and research. The weak, the vulnerable, those with no voice – harvested and sold – there is something going on, something that deserves investigating and it demands our best moral and ethical thinking. This first hearing on ethics focuses our attention on procuring and transferring baby body parts and related matters."
Sadly, House Republicans continue to ignore these facts and waste taxpayer funds on this partisan political attack on women's health.
If convicted, Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt face up to 20 years in prison on the felony charge; the misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year. These penalties will not undo the damage the videos have already done to Planned Parenthood and women’s health and reproductive rights. State and federal officials who care about the truth should work to remedy that damage in any way they can
By adhering to the facts, prosecutors and grand jurors set a model of behavior that puts them at odds with the politicians — in Congress, in statehouses and on the Republican presidential campaign trail — who have tried to advance their agendas by falsely demonizing an organization that provides critical health care to women. In their evidence-free crusade, they have put vital health services at risk and wasted millions of taxpayer dollars.
Republicans' investigation needlessly endangers the privacy and safety of patients, health care providers, and scientists seeking cures that will help all Americans. House Republicans should admit when they’re wrong. Their relentless and baseless efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and their select investigative panel must stop.