Fox News Ignores Investigations Finding No Wrongdoing By Planned Parenthood To Prop Up False Claims That The Organization Has Admitted Guilt

››› ››› ALEXANDREA BOGUHN

Fox News is parroting anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress' (CMP) claim that Planned Parenthood's decision to stop accepting reimbursement for fetal tissue donations is an "admission of guilt," ignoring that state and federal investigations have already cleared the organization of wrongdoing.

CMP Seizes On Planned Parenthood's Announcement That They Will No Longer Accept Reimbursement For Fees Associated With Fetal Tissue Donations To Claim It's An Admission Of Guilt

Planned Parenthood To Decline Reimbursements For Fetal Tissue Donations. On October 13 Planned Parenthood announced that the organization would cease acceptance of "reimbursements for supplying fetal tissue for medical research," as The Wall Street Journal reported:

Planned Parenthood Federation of America said it will immediately stop accepting reimbursements for supplying fetal tissue for medical research, an attempt to tamp down a controversy that has led to Republican investigations in Congress and an effort to end federal funding.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said in a letter Tuesday to the National Institutes of Health that the organization's affiliates will no longer accept any reimbursement for costs associated with procuring tissue from abortions and providing it to researchers. [The Wall Street Journal10/13/15]

Anti-Abortion Group Behind Deceptively-Edited Videos Claims Move Is An "Admission Of Guilt." After Planned Parenthood's announcement, the anti-abortion group behind the series of deceptively-edited videos attempting to falsely smear Planned Parenthood, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), claimed that the move was an "admission of guilt":

The anti-abortion-rights activist who has targeted Planned Parenthood is declaring the group's decision to stop taking compensation for fetal tissue procurement an "admission of guilt" in response to his undercover videos.

Hours after Planned Parenthood announced its policy change, Center for Medical Progress (CMP) President David Daleiden blasted the move as a "PR stunt" that he said offers evidence that its affiliates have been acting illegally.

"If the money Planned Parenthood has been receiving for baby body parts were truly legitimate 'reimbursement,' why cancel it?" he asked in a statement. "This proves what CMP has been saying all along -- Planned Parenthood incurs no actual costs, and the payments for harvested fetal parts have always been an extra profit margin." [The Hill10/13/15]

Fox News Parrots CMP's Allegations

Megyn Kelly: If Planned Parenthood Has "Done Nothing Wrong, Then Why Are They Canceling The Reimbursement?" During an October 13 discussion of Planned Parenthood's announcement on The Kelly File, host Megyn Kelly asked why, if Planned Parenthood has "done nothing wrong" they would be "canceling the reimbursement":

MEGYN KELLY: Tony, what do you think that their decision, they're not stopping the donation program, they're stopping the reimbursement that they've been receiving for that fetal tissue, says about Planned Parenthood?

TONY PERKINS: I think they're in crisis mode. They know that Congress is on their tail, chasing them, and they're hoping that this will throw Congress off because they know better than anybody what Congress is liable to find if they continue with this investigation looking into what they're doing. Not unlike when I was a police officer, you'd be chasing a car and theywoul[[']]d throw something out the window hoping you would either stop chasing them or they wouldn't be caught with the goods. It didn't work for them, and I don't think it's going to work for Planned Parenthood either.

KELLY: Richard, the group that was behind the sting videos, comes out and says this:"If the money Planned Parenthood has been receiving for baby body parts were truly legitimate reimbursement, why cancel it?"  

RICHARD FOWLER: Well,  I think that what Planned Parenthood is trying to do here is be above board, as they've always been and do the humanitarian work they continue to do. I think the question I have for Tony, and I think a lot of questions, a lot of women are asking this question --  what do you think Congress is going to find? That Planned Parenthood does mammogram screenings and does cancer screenings? That they help people make life changing decisions regarding birth control and condoms and preventing the spread of STDs -- because that's what Planned Parenthood does each and every day for millions and millions of people.

KELLY: Well Richard, Richard, if Planned Parenthood has no problem whatsoever with the investigation, then why don't they just welcome it? They haven't. If they want the investigators to come in, why have they objected so loudly?

FOWLER: That's exactly why you saw Cecile down on Capitol Hill last week for almost 3 to 4 hours answering every single question. Because Planned Parenthood understands they've done nothing wrong here and  these are some botched videos that were edited horribly.

[Crosstalk]

KELLY: Tony, you tell me, If they've done nothing wrong, then why are they canceling the reimbursement? Why not just say, we've done nothing wrong, we're not going to change a thing?  [Fox News, The Kelly File10/13/15]

Fox's Peter Doocy: "Critics Say" If Planned Parenthood Was Following The Law, "Why Make A Change At All?" During the October 13 edition of Special Report with Bret Baier, correspondent Peter Doocy highlighted CMP's claim that Planned Parenthood's decision was "an admission of guilt": 

PETER DOOCY: But the producer of the videos sees things differently, telling Fox today that "For three months, Planned Parenthood has tried to pass off its baby-parts-for-money scheme as totally legitimate. Today Planned Parenthood's latest PR stunt of so-called 'policy' change is an admission of guilt." On Capitol Hill, Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said today, "This is a good tangible result of the [[neglected]] collective efforts of the House in investigating Planned Parenthood," adding "congressional scrutiny will continue," something pro-life groups are happy to hear.

[...]

PETER DOOCY: Planned Parenthood insists the way they've been collecting fetal tissue goes above and beyond what's required by the law. But its critics say, if that's been the case, it raises the question why make a change at all? [Fox News, Special Report10/13/15]

But Multiple State Investigations Have Already Cleared Planned Parenthood Of Wrongdoing -- And Even Republicans Investigating The Organization Have Admitted They Found Nothing Illegal

Growing List Of Planned Parenthood Investigations Clears Organization Of Any Wrongdoing. The deceptively-edited and secretly-recorded videos released by CMP have spurred at least 12 states to launch investigations into Planned Parenthood's operations, even though there are "only three states in which Planned Parenthood affiliate clinics can participate in fetal tissue donation programs," according to Yahoo News. Six states -- Massachusetts, Indiana, South Dakota, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Missouri -- and the Department of Health and Human Services have all announced that they found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood or violations of federal fetal tissue laws. [Media Matters8/24/15]

Rep. Jason Chaffetz On Investigation Into Planned Parenthood: "Did We Find Any Wrongdoing? The Answer Is No." Speaking at a House Judiciary Committee Meeting, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) admitted that investigations have found no evidence that Planned Parenthood had broken the law, saying "Did we find any wrongdoing? The answer was no":

House Republicans have held four hearings since September investigating Planned Parenthood. They claim that deceptively edited videos released by an anti-choice front group, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), raise serious questions about whether Planned Parenthood broke the law.

They've said these questions justify creating a new select committee looking into the issue indefinitely.

Yet several Republican members of Congress admitted at Thursday's House Judiciary Committee Hearing that there's either no evidence Planned Parenthood broke the law, or that the point of the congressional investigation is really to debate the morality of abortion.

"Did we find any wrongdoing? The answer was no," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) in reference to a recent hearing he chaired in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Chaffetz was trying to clarify recent comments he made to the media that he "wasn't suggesting [Planned Parenthood] broke the law." Democrats have repeatedly cited this quote as evidence that the "investigation" into Planned Parenthood is a politically motivated witch hunt.

Chaffetz argued that his comments shouldn't have been taken as "some grand conclusion" about every facet of the Planned Parenthood investigation, since his particular committee hearing was "narrowly focused" on Planned Parenthood's finances, not other issues like fetal tissue research.

"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," Chaffetz said.

Asked whether he knows of any evidence that Planned Parenthood broke the law in any way, Chaffetz cited none. [RH Reality Check, 10//9/15]

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.