Planned Parenthood Alleges ‘Smear’ in Letter to Congress

28 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Sting’ Videos Of Planned Parenthood Are Totally Manipulated, Forensic Analysis Finds.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America defended its practices Thursday in a lengthy letter to congressional leaders and included a report by experts it hired who found undercover videos of officials discussing fetal tissue for research were heavily altered by anti-abortion activists. The undercover Planned Parenthood videos that spurred a congressional investigation were so severely manipulated that they wouldn’t hold up in court, according to an analysis by three teams of forensic experts.Republican leaders in Congress are considering a pledge to hold a separate vote on defunding Planned Parenthood as a way to keep the issue from derailing legislation to keep the government running, said congressional aides with knowledge of the discussions.Six weeks and eight videos into a campaign by an anti-abortion group — which says its secretly recorded videos show evidence that Planned Parenthood broke federal laws governing fetal tissue donation — Planned Parenthood says that even the group’s “full” videos have been significantly altered.

Planned Parenthood staff did not report multiple rapes of a 14-year-old girl who got two abortions at the clinic that were four months apart, the Alabama health department found during a recently published review of the clinic. In private discussions, the leaders are looking at using reconciliation procedures to let a Planned Parenthood bill come up for a filibuster-proof Senate vote, the aides said. According to a report compiled by a group Planned Parenthood hired, Fusion GPS, a forensic video expert found that the Center for Medical Progress’s “full footage videos contained numerous intentional post-production edits.” Based on the timestamps on the longer videos alone, roughly 30 minutes are missing from the videos recorded in Texas and Colorado.

Four congressional committees are investigating Planned Parenthood’s practices, and lawmakers unsuccessfully tried to strip the organization of federal funding. He said the teams found that all of the videos analyzed — even the supposedly “full,” unedited footage the CMP released — were missing large sections of time and misleadingly altered so that separate conversations appeared to take place in an uninterrupted take. Some Republican presidential candidates, including Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, have demanded that legislation to fund federal agencies after Sept. 30 include a provision barring abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood from receiving federal money. The group behind the videos, made up of anti-abortion activists, spent nearly three years posing as a fetal tissue procurement agency seeking to act as a middleman between Planned Parenthood and medical researchers.

Planned Parenthood did not obtain proper consent from a guardian, as required by Alabama law, and did not take proper precautions when administering the medication abortions. Democrats have blocked Senate action on those, arguing that spending shouldn’t be capped at the levels mandated in the the Budget Control Act, Public Law 112-25. Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, previously apologized for the “tone and statements.” But she defended the organization in her letter to Congress, saying it did nothing illegal and calling the videos a “smear” on its reputation. The clinic’s own standards require an abortionist to consult the medical director and/or affiliate protocols before performing a medication abortion on someone with a hemoglobin level below 10.

At issue is a federal law that prohibits abortion providers from profiting from the sale of fetal tissue, inducing someone to have an abortion to provide the tissue or altering the procedure in any way to harvest fetal tissue. But the CMP edited the videos into episodes that make it look as though Planned Parenthood is selling fetal parts for profit and changing abortion methods to deliver intact specimens. The leaders could combine Planned Parenthood provisions with language repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act into a package that, under reconciliation procedures, would require only a simple majority of members. The clinic’s director of patient services verified a report was not made in an interview with the health department, but “gave no additional information as to why,” the review notes. The review also found sanitation and infection control problems, noting a number of observed abortions in which the doctors failed to wash their hands properly or at all between procedures and when changing gloves.

The clinic “failed to follow the procedure for Instrument Cleaning and Sterilization, gloves and hand hygiene,” the review states. “This had the potential to negatively affect all patients served by this facility.” Planned Parenthood Southeast, which includes the Alabama clinic in its network, did not respond to a request for comment. In one case, the video indicates that a technician said, “It’s a baby.” But those words cannot actually be heard in the video — the segment consists of incomprehensible background chatter. “In our view, CMP created the purported statement, ‘It’s a baby,’ either through transcription error or intentional fabrication,” Simpson wrote in the report. One affiliate in California works with a third-party contractor like the one the anti-abortion activists purported to be, she added, charging “$60 per tissue specimen” for what Richards said was reimbursement of costs, and an affiliate in Washington works directly with the University of Washington for no reimbursement.

The House and Senate aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stressed that using reconciliation to deal with Planned Parenthood was still an option being studied. Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS said the video work was “sloppy at best” and that transcripts provided by the center were frequently inaccurate and erroneous.

He said a thorough analysis wasn’t possible without the original footage because the videos lost some of their digital information when they were compressed and posted on YouTube. In the case of one video filmed in Colorado, Richards said, the doctor “repeatedly told the Biomax representative that legal counsel would have to review any contract with Biomax. If rank-and-file Republicans accept such an assurance, the leaders would be able to focus on other aspects of their negotiations with the White House. She added that sometimes doctors will make “clinical adjustments” during an abortion procedure to preserve the fetal tissue if a woman requests that it be donated, but said that such adjustments do not affect the safety or well-being of the patient. Supporters of Planned Parenthood argue that abortions constitute only a small percentage of its activities and that the organization and its affiliates are a major provider of women’s health services, including contraception and breast cancer screening, for indigent women.

One possible option would be to repeal the Obamacare mandates that individuals purchase health insurance, either with government-subsidized exchanges, or on the private market. The activist who secretly recorded the video said in a statement that editing out bathroom breaks or waiting periods didn’t change the meaning of the dialogue. “Planned Parenthood’s desperate, 11th-hour attempt to pay their hand-picked ‘experts’ to distract from the crimes documented on video is a complete failure,” the center’s founder, David Daleiden, said in a statement. “Planned Parenthood’s abortion providers are far more honest about the brutal reality of their work than the paid political consultants at the national office.”

When a Tissue Procurement Organization handles all dissection, packaging, and shipping of fetal organs, and all Planned Parenthood does is spend 10 minutes consenting a patient, the $60 per body part harvested quickly adds up to illegal baby parts profit for Planned Parenthood. A 1993 law, which was supported by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and many other Republicans, explicitly allows for the kinds of reimbursements Planned Parenthood claims it receives. Two separate organizations, Stem Express and the National Abortion Federation, have sued in state and federal court respectively seeking to block the videos’ release.

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