Throughout July and August of 2015, the Center For Medical Progress, an ironically named anti-abortion organization released several propaganda videos produced by founder David Daleiden, in which people claiming to represent Biomax Procurement Services, a sham medical research company, ask Planned Parenthood personnel about purchasing fetal tissue while secretly filming the conversation.
As it turns out, the videos were subsequently edited in such a way as to suggest that reproductive healthcare provider Planned Parenthood has been illegally selling fetal tissue procured from abortions.
As a result of this cheap alarmist demagoguery, Republicans in the U.S. Senate are up in arms, calling for Planned Parenthood’s funding to be cut, with some even threatening a government shutdown over the issue.
Amid the outcry, the National Abortion Federation, a nonprofit organization representing abortion providers, filed a lawsuit in San Francisco federal court, accusing both Daleiden and the Center For Medical Progress of illegally infiltrating and recording its meetings, along with charges of harassment, intimidation, invasion of privacy and injury to reputation.
Not surprisingly, the false claims made by Daleiden and the Center For Medical Progress, like all uncontextualized untruths, do not hold up when put to scrutiny. For example, despite the claim that the videos document discussions regarding the sale of fetal tissue, each video also shows that fetal tissue from abortions are being donated to medical research — which is not illegal.
Also, the financial amounts discussed in this video merely refer to reimbursement for the cost of shipping and transporting the fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood to the researchers, who use the material to develop vaccines and treatment for ailments such as Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, since the amounts are set only to cover the aforementioned cost, by no means is Planned Parenthood profiting from the sale of unborn children’s body parts.
Furthermore, despite the wild, cockeyed claim that “taxpayer-funded abortions are taking place at Planned Parenthood facilities,” the Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, nixes the federal funding of abortion.
Of course, the claims on the part of the Center For Medical Progress that Planned Parenthood is making a literal killing selling body parts from aborted fetuses have been proven to be exaggerated. The truth is that in the 15 years since the passage of a law in Kansas in 2000, which prohibits the for-profit sale of fetal organs or tissue and requires any person who transports the material over the course of a legal donation to medical scientists to file an annual report about such activity (an investigation requested by Kansas governor, Sam Brownback, in direct response to the dishonest videos in question), found that the state Department of Health and Environment has not seen a single report of that kind.
In fact, Kansas, despite measuring over 80,000 square miles, has only three abortion providers in the entire state, and none of them have any tissue donation programs.
Though some abortion opponents claim that the lack of fetal tissue transfers in Kansas is a result of such activity being conducted without any scrutiny or intervention on the part of the KDHE, Julie Burkhart, the founder and CEO of Trust Women, a pro-choice political organization that operates an abortion clinic in Wichita, maintains that ignoring the state law requiring yearly reporting of fetal tissue transfers would result in the shuttering of said facility.”[Kansas] is a politically hostile environment for us,” she concluded.
Although Burkhart agreed to cooperate with the investigation, she made no secret of her resentment thereof.“This is just somebody looking for a problem that’s nonexistent,” she said during a conversation in August 2015 with The Kansas City Star.
Then again, appealing to the fears of credulous, irrational ideologues to promote right-wing policies, particularly those encroaching upon women’s reproductive rights, is entirely predicated on complaints about non-existent problems, and invariably, such a thing cannot be accomplished without showing a blatant disregard for the truth.
This is particularly unsurprising, considering that the overwhelming majority of Republican politicians and voters seemingly believe expressing fallacious opinions with the volume turned all the way to 11 equals being correct.
Featured image via The Center For Medical Progress