After a four month long investigation, the Planned Parenthood affiliate in Washington State has been cleared of any allegations of wrongdoing or illegal activity. State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced on Monday that there is no evidence that Planned Parenthood performs so-called “partial-birth abortions,” or that any of the clinics sell fetal tissue for profit.
His letter stated that his office “found no basis to believe that Planned Parenthood is selling fetal tissue or profiting from fetal tissue donations,” and that procedures performed by Planned Parenthood are of a “legally authorized medical procedure.”
Washington now joins the list of many other states where investigations have fallen flat. However, these findings in Washington are particularly meaningful for one major reason: Washington is one of the only two states where the organization currently offers abortion patients the option to donate fetal tissue for medical and scientific research.
Republican state officials started launching investigations into Planned Parenthood affiliates in early August, after a misleading series of videos released by Center for Medical Progress accused the organization of illegally profiting from the sale of fetal tissue. The heavily edited videos have been widely referenced by GOP lawmakers in attempts to defund the health clinics and have resulted in state-wide investigations.
So far, they have all come up empty. Officials in states like Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, South Dakota, and Missouri have not been able to turn up any evidence that Planned Parenthood clinics are violating state laws and regulations regarding the collection of fetal tissue donations.
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards confirmed last month that her group’s affiliates willno longer accept any reimbursements for the cost of collecting and transporting fetal tissue samples. Richards explained in her statement that, although it’s legal for abortion clinics to receive reimbursement for the costs incurred by fetal tissue donation, her organization is taking steps to “completely debunk the disingenuous argument” that Planned Parenthood is improperly profiting from this practice. She also pointed out that Planned Parenthood’s role in fetal tissue research is “an extremely small part” of what they do — just 1 percent of the health centers facilitate tissue donation for scientific research.
Despite there being no evidence of wrongdoing, Richards was still grilled by the GOP lawmakers for more than five hours in October as they questioned whether or not Planned Parenthood deserves taxpayer support. Thanks to the renewed momentum against the group, anti-choice activists and lawmakers have gone through tremendous efforts in their crusade against Planned Parenthood’s health clinics — such as dropping the organization from government-run charity campaigns, banning Planned Parenthood employees from speaking on college campuses, and cutting Medicaid funding to clinics that do not perform abortions in the first place.
One of the biggest chunks of Planned Parenthood’s budget comes from providing health services, like birth control consultations, STD testing, and cancer screenings, to people enrolled in Medicaid. Abortions make up 3 percent of the clinic’s total services and federal funds are prohibited from being used for abortion by law.
Paul Ryan hasn’t even worked a full day as speaker of the House, and he’s already said enough to make members of the Freedom Caucus write up their motions to vacate the chair.
“I think we need to be very clear about what we can and cannot achieve and not set expectations that we know we can’t reach given the constraints of the Constitution,” Ryan told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” […]Bash asked, “Will you defund Planned Parenthood?”
“This is what I mean when I say being an effective opposition party. I think being an effective opposition party means being honest with people upfront about what it is we can and cannot achieve,” he said. […] “We have a president that isn’t willing to listen, that isn’t going to sign lots of our bills into law, we have a Senate that has a very difficult process when it comes to actually getting bills voted on, so knowing that we have those constraints, we have to operate within those constraints.”
In other words, no, he won’t defund Planned Parenthood. That’s the kind of public acknowledgement of reality that doomed John Boehner. He does go on to say, “I believe we need to do our oversight. We’re just beginning to start a committee to investigate Planned Parenthood. That’s important. So the special committee on Planned Parenthood, I think, should be in the driver’s seat overseeing this process.” So there’s that—he’s perfectly willing to waste even more of the taxpayers’ money on purely political investigations. That might keep the maniacs satisfied for a few weeks.
“Was there any wrongdoing? I didn’t find any,” the would-be House Speaker admitted
As if truth-telling worked out so well for his colleague Kevin McCarthy, Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz has just admitted that the GOP’s investigation into Planned Parenthood’s misuse of federal funds turned out to be a dud.
“Did I look at the finances and have a hearing specifically as to the revenue portion and how they spend? Yes. Was there any wrongdoing? I didn’t find any,” Huffington Post’s Jennifery Bendery reports the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman admitted during yet another hearing on Thursday.
Chaffetz is of course, currently preoccupied lobbying to lead his fellow House Republicans after current House Speaker John Boehner announced his surprise resignation from Congress at the end of this month (Boehner has since offered to stay on as speaker until a replacement is found).
Chaffetz announced his upstart challenge to McCarthy last week, but after continued fallout over McCarthy’s boast to Fox News’ Sean Hannity that the Select Committee on Benghazi has served as a successful political tool against Hillary Clinton, McCarthy’s coronation turned into a collapse. Curiously, the Utah Republican has followed a similar route to McCarthy’s, admitting that his committee’s investigation into Planned Parenthood has been unsuccessful.
“Did we find any wrongdoing? The answer was no,” Chaffetz said.
Just last week, all three cable networks covered his grilling of Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards and his tearful introduction blaming her organization for causing the death of his parents by wasting limited federal resources that could otherwise have been used for cancer research.
“Cancer in this country kills about 1,500 people a day,” Chaffetz said. “A day — and yet our federal government only spends $5 billion to fight it. If they were shooting 1,500 people a day, if there were rockets coming in, we would be fighting this with everything we’ve got.”
“Every time we spend a federal dollar,” Chaffetz added, “what we’re doing is we’re pulling money out of somebody’s pocket and we’re giving it to somebody else.”
For five hours, Republican lawmakers grilled Richards about her salary, the organization’s travel budget and of course abortions, all the while ignoring that Planned Parenthood provides crucial cervical cancer screenings.
“I think there will continue to be investigations,” Chaffetz said of the ongoing charade to prop up a series of selectively edited undercover videos that purport to show the discussion of fetal tissue donation sales that triggered this latest defunding effort.
During Thursday’s hearing, Republicans successfully admitted a graphic abortion video, that a witness testified under oath was not even filmed inside a Planned Parenthood location, into the Congressional record as evidence against the women’s health organization.
Daily Show host Trevor Noah asked his viewers on Monday to imagine what would happen if Republicans put as much effort into regulating guns as they did womens’ reproductive health.
“The amount of lives they save could reach superhero levels,” he said. “They just need to have a superhero’s total dedication to life. Right now they’re more like comic book collectors: human life only holds value until you take it out of the package, and then it’s worth nothing.”
Noah then asked his audience to “imagine if we could bring some of that pro-life passion into being more, well, pro-life,” adding his own gun-safety commentary to anti-abortion rhetoric from various conservatives.
As things stand, though, Noah argued that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Rep. Jason Chaffetz are more underwhelming characters, dubbing Bush “the Tranquilizer” and Chaffetz “Delusional Man.” In Chaffetz’s case, he said, the Utah congressman reacted to being widely-criticized for his performance in a House hearing on Planned Parenthood by announcing that he would run for House Speaker.
“What the hell?” Noah asked. “A guy who gets stronger the more embarrassed he gets?”
Noah also made fun of GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina for her tough talk regarding a Planned Parenthood video that actually did not exist.
“When Carly Fiorina plays truth or dare, she does not mess around,” the host said, before noting that the videos purporting to show the sale of “baby parts” have been debunked.
Watch Noah’s commentary, as posted online on Monday.
Ted Cruz’s crusade to defund Planned Parenthood ended with an embarrassing procedural vote on the Senate floor Monday, which led to a meltdown of epic proportions. Cruz spent nearly an hour lecturing his fellow senators on why they have failed him and God, making some pretty bold accusations along the way.
Cruz speculated that Republican leadership, including Mitch McConnell and outgoing Speaker John Boehner, are in league with the Democrats. He says they are eager to compromise, taking half of the Republican votes with them, virtually giving a “blank check” to Barack Obama.
If you allow that to sink in you’ll realize just how ridiculous it is. The Republicans are eager to compromise? From 19 January 2009 until today, the Republican caucuses in both chambers have done nothing but obstruct, with prejudice, every step the President has tried to take to reverse the damage George W. Bush did to our country in eight years of unfettered spending and lawless war.
“Ted has chosen to make this really personal and chosen to call people dishonest in leadership and call them names, which really goes against the decorum and also against the rules of the Senate, and as a consequence, he can’t get anything done legislatively,” Paul told Fox News Radio. “He is pretty much done for and stifled and it’s really because of personal relationships, or lack of personal relationships, and it is a problem.”
It is a problem. It’s a problem for Ted Cruz and the ongoing implosion of the Republican Party. Here you have a senator — a contender for the party’s nomination for president — openly disrespecting the leadership of the party on C-SPAN. Cruz displayed a complete inability to lead when he couldn’t muster 11 votes for a roll call on a procedural motion to amendment to the clean CR the Senate is expected to vote on Wednesday morning to keep the government functioning.
This man wants to be President of the United States? Cruz has proven that he would disregard the counsel of his aides, his ambassadors, his czars and his chiefs of staff if he had the slightest inkling that it would displease God. He belongs in front of a camera in a church on Sunday morning, not Congress on a Monday.
Cruz, in essence, has become less than a joke. He’s become the cliché punchline everyone’s already heard a hundred times.
Here’s video of the best minute and a half of the Cruz meltdown for your viewing pleasure.
A number of states have launched investigations into Planned Parenthood after the release of the Center for Medical Progress’s blatantly deceptive videos, including Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and South Dakota, and so far every state has completely vindicated the women’s health organization of any and all wrongdoing.
Today Missouri joins this growing list of states, as Attorney General Chris Koster’s office announces they have found absolutely no evidence Planned Parenthood is illegally selling fetal tissue.
An investigation in Missouri found no evidence that Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis clinic mishandled fetal tissue or engaged in unlawful activity, Attorney General Chris Koster’s office said on Monday.
Koster’s office had launched an investigation after an anti-abortion group released videos over the summer alleging that Planned Parenthood in other states illegally sold fetal tissue.
“The evidence reviewed by my investigators supports Planned Parenthood’s representation that fetal tissue is handled in accordance with Missouri law,” Koster said in a news release. “We have discovered no evidence whatsoever to suggest that Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis facility is selling fetal tissue.”
How much more money will the Republican Party waste on “investigations” prompted by a bogus religious right smear attack?
At last week’s GOP debate, Carly Fiorina received a hefty boost in the polls after she passionately described a gruesome scene caught on film: a fully developed fetus laid out on a table, alive, as doctors plan to harvest it’s brain.
The problem is — that footage does not exist, so a PAC supporting her has created it.
In what became one of the most talked about moments of the republican debate, which sky-rocketed her to second place in the polls, Fiorina narrated this scene:
“As regards [to] Planned Parenthood, anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, it’s heart beating, it’s legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’”
She then passionately called for the people to stand with her against the unspeakable horror she described:
“This is about the character of our nation, and if we won’t stand up and force president Obama to veto this bill , shame on us!”
The problem is, this boost was based on a lie, as this video simply does not exist. In the entire 12 hours of heavily edited footage released by the “Center for Medical Progress,” an anti-abortion group, there is no such video, what-so-ever.
Unfortunately for Fiorina, even Fox News anchor Chris Wallace called her out:
“Do you acknowledge what every fact checker has found…that it was only described on the video…there is no actual footage that you just mentioned?”
Frantic not to lose the new momentum after being called out by the very network catering to her potential voters — the PAC supporting her campaign created it.
The PAC cobbled together Fiorina’s lying debate moment, bits of an unrelated interview from one of the CMP videos, along with a video from the Grantham Collection and the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform — an anti-abortion group who will not disclose the circumstances or even what country or when the video was taken, as well as footage of a stillborn baby (which The Nation noted was used without permission of the parent). The footage depicted in the one minute long ad is most certainly not, however, from Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood reached out to the PAC on Wednesday, stating that the“fraudulent video is beneath a serious candidate for the presidency, and you should take it down immediately.”
They also sent a breakdown of the video, clip-by-clip, to The Nation:
:00 < Intro montage of media footage noting that the video Fiorina described at the debate does not exist :15 < image from debate :16 < Fiorina speaking at debate :22 < image from discredited Grantham Collection (which is likely not even a fetus, and is not at Planned Parenthood) with audio stripped and replaced with Fiorina voiceover from the debate :30 < Fiorina speaking at the debate :34 < same image from discredited Grantham Collection with audio stripped and replaced with voiceover from audio conversation with Novogenix Lab, taken from an unrelated Center for Medical Progress video :37 < image of a stillborn (used without that family’s permission), taken from an unrelated Center for Medical Progress video with audio stripped and replaced with voiceover from a Planned Parenthood staff member, taken from another unrelated Center for Medical Progress video :41 < former Stem Express worker Holly O’Donnell being interviewed, taken from a Center for Medical Progress video :45 < Fiorina speaking at debate :53 < image from debate Close: montage of marketing content”
Despite the fact that the campaign ad is a produced fictional horror movie, completely pieced together to create something that does not exist, it seems unlikely that those who refuse to acknowledge facts about Planned Parenthood will be swayed either way — and it will be Fiorina’s own gender who suffers for it.
Video (video shows graphic content)
An anti-abortion group has, over the past month, released five videos that it argues show Planned Parenthood profits from procuring fetal tissue for medical researchers.
A new Planned Parenthood report, released Thursday, now suggests those videos are doctored — and the evidence is pretty compelling.
Planned Parenthood hired a forensic research firm to analyze about 12 hours of footage that the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) secretly taped when it had actors pose as employees of a fetal tissue procurement company.
“This analysis did not reveal widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation, but we did identify cuts, skips, missing tape, and changes in camera angle,” the report from Fusion GPS, the firm that Planned Parenthood hired, concludes.
CMP took no steps to hide the fact that it edited its shorter, more widely viewed clips of undercover meetings with Planned Parenthood. The group interspersed news clips and overlaid text on top of the video; there’s clear evidence of production work.
But the group held that these “full footage” tapes were complete, unbiased presentations of its Planned Parenthood meetings. If CMP also edited these “full” tapes — ones that it told viewers were complete footage — then the group is guilty of deceiving the public the exact same way it deceived Planned Parenthood.
Time stamps reveal missing chunks of video
The Center for Medical Progress has, since early July, released two types of videos. Planned Parenthood has long argued that the short ones — about 10 to 15 minutes long — are highly edited.
There are also longer videos, which range from one to five hours, that CMP edited down to make the shorter pieces. CMP has described these videos as “full footage,” creating the impression that they show a complete interaction with the Planned Parenthood employees.
THE GROUP IS GUILTY OF DECEIVING THE PUBLIC IN THE SAME WAY IT DECEIVED PLANNED PARENTHOOD
The GPS Fusion report argues this isn’t the case: The authors cite moments in the video that suggest the supposedly full videos were also doctored.
One of the most compelling examples is a few minutes into a five-hour video from a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas. If you look at the timestamp in the lower left-hand corner, it jumps forward by nearly a half-hour (from about 7:46 to 8:18) in just a few seconds. You can watch it happen here, if you fast-forward to about eight minutes and 55 seconds into this video.