On January 25, David Daleiden, the founder of the anti-choice group Center for Medical Progress (CMP), was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a government record and a misdemeanor charge of violating the "prohibition of the purchase and sale of human organs" for the actions he took to manufacture smear videos of Planned Parenthood officials. Daleiden has a history of working with conservative groups on anti-choice campaigns.
The first set of amicus briefs for Whole Woman's Health v. Cole, a Supreme Court case that will determine the constitutionality of a Texas anti-choice law that severely limits women's access to abortion and broader medical care, has recently been filed. Many of these briefs respond to Justice Anthony Kennedy's past invocation of "post-abortion regret" and the "severe depression" that supposedly follows, an "antiabortion shibboleth" repeated in right-wing media's long-standing effort to stigmatize women who have had abortions.
In its latest deceptively edited video, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) claims to have caught a Planned Parenthood official "haggling" over the price of "baby parts" and agreeing to change abortion methods to aid the fetal tissue collection process. But the full video and transcript show the official confirming that any change in procedure is done pursuant to medical advice without additional risk to the patient, and that the compensation being discussed was about legal reimbursement for costs associated with tissue donation.
Republican presidential candidates are attempting to capitalize on right-wing media's manufactured outrage over a deceptively edited video attacking Planned Parenthood, using conservative media platforms to call for investigations into Planned Parenthood and fundraising off of the drummed up outrage.
On July 14, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a deceptively edited video purporting to show a Planned Parenthood official discussing prices for the illegal sale of fetal tissue from abortion. But the full, unedited video makes it clear that Planned Parenthood actually facilitates tissue donation with full patient consent, at no financial benefit to the organization, and in full compliance with the law.
Right-wing media seized on the video, with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly calling for an FBI investigation into Planned Parenthood, and Megyn Kelly accusing the organization of "celebrating its practice of harvesting the organs of aborted fetuses for money."
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) along with House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called for a congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee agreed to conduct the investigation.
Republican presidential candidates are following suit. Ted Cruz advocated for federal and state criminal investigations and Senate hearings, pledging to hold congressional hearings himself to defund Planned Parenthood on the July 15 edition of Fox News' The Kelly File.
On Twitter, Jeb Bush called the video "shocking and horrific," Ben Carson urged Congress to "eliminate every last dime" of funding for Planned Parenthood, and Bobby Jindal called the video "disgusting." Jindal also ordered an investigation in Louisiana as governor.
Some candidates are even hoping to cash in on the right-wing media frenzy with fundraising emails. Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul are both urging donors to "chip in a contribution" to defund Planned Parenthood.
UPDATE: CQ Roll Call reported that at least two Republican members of the House Pro-Life Caucus, Reps. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Tim Murphy (R-PA) -- who is also chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee that is conducting an investigation following the video -- viewed the video attacking Planned Parenthood weeks before CMP officially released it.
A deceptive video from a conservative group purports to show a Planned Parenthood official discussing prices for the illegal sale of fetal tissue from abortions. But the full, unedited footage and transcript released by the group undermines their sensationalist claims, showing at least three crucial edits that reveal the Planned Parenthood official was instead discussing the reimbursement cost for consensual, legal tissue donations.
The anti-abortion rights group Live Action released today an undercover video claiming to reveal "illegal and inhuman practices" at an abortion clinic in New York City, and accused a doctor at the clinic of committing murder. The video reveals nothing of the sort, and actually undermines Live Action's baseless allegations that the clinic is performing illegal procedures and endangering the lives of patients.
Live Action and its founder, Lila Rose, have a long, disreputable history of perpetrating hoaxes and concocting false allegations against abortion rights supporters, Planned Parenthood in particular. This latest "undercover video" project is timed to coincide with the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortion provider facing multiple murder charges resulting from the monstrous and horrific procedures he is alleged to have carried out under the guise of women's reproductive health.
The Live Action video depicts a woman at Dr. Emily Woman's Health Center in the Bronx inquiring after an abortion in the 23rd week of her pregnancy -- a procedure that is legal in New York State. The woman speaks to both a clinician and a counselor at the facility, and the video is edited down to make it appear as though the clinician describes a procedure in which a baby that survives an abortion is killed using a toxic solution.
Based solely on this exchange, Live Action claimed that the doctor who performs abortions at the clinic "has violated" the state's law against murder in the first degree and called on the state's attorney general to launch a homicide investigation. But Live Action edited out from the video the portion in which the clinician makes clear that the situation they're talking about has never happened in her experience and the discussion is hypothetical, and the video shows the counselor explaining to the woman that the doctor would have to resuscitate the baby if that situation did occur.
Despite these flaws, the Live Action video has already been written up by the the New York Post, the Daily Caller, and Michelle Malkin's Hot Air. The story has spread to Fox News and will likely offer grist for other conservative outlets that have been using the Gosnell trial to attack legal abortion.
The anti-choice group Live Action has released the latest in its series of undercover videos that attempt to create the false impression that Planned Parenthood encourages sex-selective abortion. This video contains clips from two visits to Planned Parenthood clinics in Hawaii by a Live Action activist claiming she wants to have an abortion because the fetus is female. The Planned Parenthood counselors shown in the video do not encourage the activist to receive a sex-selective abortion. Rather, one counselor tells the activist that a woman's reasons for having an abortion are her own, which is in line with Planned Parenthood's stated policy, and the other is not shown discussing the activist's motives.
The video is part of an effort by Live Action and its founder Lila Rose to concoct a problem. Sex-selective abortion does not happen with any regularity in the United States. The fact is that most abortions are performed before the sex of the fetus can be determined. Furthermore, the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization, has written that "the U.S. sex ratio at birth in 2005 stood at 105 boys to 100 girls, squarely within biologically normal parameters."
The first encounter in the new video is introduced with the text, "Planned Parenthood provides a sex-selective abortion," but that's not what the video shows. It depicts a counselor in Maui telling the Live Action activist that the only way to be sure of the sex of a fetus is to have an ultrasound. The counselor also tells the activist that "it's really up to the patient whether -- I mean, everybody has their different reasons why they choose to have a termination and, of course, everybody's story matters. And if that's -- you know, if that's what you want to base your decision on, really, you know, it's really up to you."
The counselor goes on to say that while Planned Parenthood performs ultrasounds, it doesn't perform them for the purpose of determining gender and that the activist would have to go elsewhere to do so. The counselor also consoles the activist after she tells a story about a doctor showing disapproval of her reason for wanting an abortion.
The second video is introduced with the claim that "Planned Parenthood provides multiple sex-selective abortions." In fact, it shows a counselor telling the activist that it's "not healthy" to have abortions too frequently. The activist asks if it would be OK to have another abortion after a year, and the counselor tells her it would.
The next clip is labeled, "Planned Parenthood uses state funds to cover a sex-selective abortion." In reality, the activist is shown saying that she is disappointed the military will not pay for an abortion. After confirming that the military won't pay for abortions, the Planned Parenthood counselor points out that the woman can pay for an abortion out of her own pocket or through the state's Medicaid program, which would mean meeting several eligibility requirements.
Anti-choice activist Lila Rose's campaign to stoke fears that America faces an epidemic of sex-selection abortion sputtered once again, as Rose released another video that utterly failed to alter the fact that sex-selection abortion is not a growing problem.
Rose and her group, Live Action, released a video showing a woman posing as a patient at abortion clinics in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. As with Live Action's previous videos, the fake patients claim that they want to have an abortion because the fetus is female and discuss their options.
Live Action is trying to use these videos to distort the reality about sex-selective abortion in America -- facts show that it is rare:
Rose's barrage of videos has coincided with an effort by House Republicans to outlaw some abortions on the false premise that sex selection is widespread problem. The end result of the movement behind the legislation, which was voted down, would be to eliminate abortion rights entirely.
Earlier today, anti-choice activist Lila Rose and her group Live Action released a heavily edited video designed to falsely portray a Planned Parenthood employee as having helped an activist posing as a patient get an abortion because of the sex of the fetus. While the edited video includes less than seven minutes of clinic footage, the full video runs for a more than an hour, and the activist's encounter with the employee featured in the video lasts for more than 30 minutes.
So, what did Live Action edit out of the finished product? That the Planned Parenthood employee brought up the idea of giving the child up for adoption, that the employee declined to refer the activist to an OB/GYN who "would be understanding of [the activist's] situation," and that the employee repeatedly noted that the activist's decision about whether to have a sex-selective abortion would be hers alone.
Despite Live Action's suggestions in the edited video, at no point did the Planned Parenthood employee encourage the activist to undergo a sex-selective abortion.
A Fox News promo indicates that tonight's edition of The O'Reilly Factor will answer the question of whether journalists are conspiring to "silence" the manufactured attack on Planned Parenthood that is being ginned up by anti-choice activist Lila Rose and her group Live Action:
VOICEOVER: Press protection of Planned Parenthood? Has the media intentionally silenced the story about the group's gender-specific abortion counseling?
If "the media" -- in Foxspeak, that means "every outlet other than Fox" -- chooses not to cover Rose's videos, perhaps it's because there is no story. Statistics show that sex-selective abortion simply does not happen with any regularity in the United States, as the vast majority of abortions are performed before gender is detectable, and the gender birth ratio in America is close to even. The videos Live Action has released thus far do not show a pattern of Planned Parenthood encouraging women to have sex-selective abortions.
What's really at work here is the Fox Cycle. As we've documented, this is a strategy Fox News uses to help right-wing activists and fringe figures catapult bogus stories into mainstream outlets.
Anti-choice activist Lila Rose and her group Live Action have released an undercover video of an activist in New York City pretending to want to abort a fetus if it's not a male. This is part their effort to manufacture evidence that Planned Parenthood facilitates gender-based abortion -- even though statistics show that sex-selective abortion simply does not happen with any regularity in the United States, as the vast majority of abortions are performed before gender is detectable, and the gender birth ratio in America is close to even.
In the video, the activist tells an employee at a Planned Parenthood clinic that her fetus "looks like it's gonna be a girl, another girl," and "we'd really like to have a son." The employee gives the activist advice on prenatal care and testing, and she explains the services the clinic offers.
Despite Live Action's suggestion, at no point is the Planned Parenthood employee in the video shown encouraging the phony Live Action "patient" to undergo a sex-selective abortion -- in fact, the employee specifically states that "it's not up to us to decide what is a good or bad reason for somebody to decide to terminate a pregnancy."
This is in line with Planned Parenthood's stated policy: "no Planned Parenthood clinic will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in those states that explicitly prohibit sex-selective abortions (Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Illinois)."
Sex-selective abortion is not something that exists in real life in America to any notable degree. But you won't hear that from Lila Rose, who has declared it her mission to "take out Planned Parenthood." And don't expect to hear that from those in the right-wing media who uncritically hype Rose's hoax videos and dishonest activism, of whom Bill O'Reilly and Michelle Malkin are merely the latest.
Discredited anti-choice activist Lila Rose went on The O'Reilly Factor to push her latest hoax video attacking Planned Parenthood. Rose and host Bill O'Reilly want people to think that, in the words of Rose's group, Planned Parenthood is complicit in "widespread sex-selection by means of abortion." In fact, Planned Parenthood has stated that it "finds the concept of sex selection deeply unsettling" and the organization "does not offer sex determination services; our ultrasound services are limited to medical purposes."
Furthermore, Huffington Post reported that Planned Parenthood "condemns seeking abortions on the basis of gender, but its policy is to provide 'high quality, confidential, nonjudgmental care to all who come into' its health centers."
O'Reilly and Rose mentioned none of this. Instead, they aired footage from Rose's hoax video of a person walking into a Planned Parenthood office and pretending to be a patient. O'Reilly and Rose pretended that the actions of the employee were representative of the organization. O'Reilly even asked "Are we now China in this country? If Planned Parenthood is advising woman to abort because of gender choice, then we are China. And you should remember that the next time a politician or famous person endorses Planned Parenthood."
But Planned Parenthood has said that the staff member highlighted in the video was terminated "within three days of this patient interaction" and that "all staff members at this affiliate were immediately scheduled for retraining in managing unusual patient encounters."
Also unmentioned by O'Reilly and Rose is that fact that statistics show no evidence of systematic sex-selection abortion, since the majority of abortions are performed before the gender can be identified, and the gender-birth ratio in the United States is almost even.
Maybe that's because once the facts are known, Rose's and O'Reilly's attacks fall apart.
Planned Parenthood responded this morning to discredited conservative activist Lila Rose's bogus "gendercide" attack on the organization, stating that the staffer shown in the "hoax patient encounter" was fired after the incident and that the organization "condemns seeking abortions on the basis of gender." From The Huffington Post:
A Planned Parenthood spokeswoman told The Huffington Post on Tuesday the staffer in the video "did not follow our protocol" for dealing with "a highly unusual patient scenario."
"Planned Parenthood insists on the highest quality patient care, and if we ever become aware of a staff member not meeting these high standards we take swift action," she said in a written statement. "Within three days of this patient interaction, the staff member's employment was ended and all staff members at this affiliate were immediately scheduled for retraining in managing unusual patient encounters. Today opponents of Planned Parenthood are promoting an edited video of that hoax patient encounter."
This spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Federation of America also told The Huffington Post that the organization condemns seeking abortions on the basis of gender, but its policy is to provide "high quality, confidential, nonjudgmental care to all who come into" its health centers. That means that no Planned Parenthood clinic will deny a woman an abortion based on her reasons for wanting one, except in those states that explicitly prohibit sex-selective abortions (Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Illinois).
In material accompanying the highly edited video, Live Action claimed that this proved Planned Parenthood is facilitating rampant "gendercide" in America. But statistics show that sex-selection does not happen with any regularity in the United States, as the vast majority of abortions are performed before gender is detectable, and the gender birth ratio in America is close to even.
Discredited anti-choice activist Lila Rose launched her latest video hoax, claiming that a highly edited video proves that Planned Parenthood is facilitating rampant "gendercide" in America. But statistics show that sex-selection simply does not happen with any regularity in the United States, as the vast majority of abortions are performed before gender is detectable, and the gender birth ratio in America is close to even.
Rose on Tuesday released undercover footage purporting to show a clinic worker in Austin, Texas, discussing health care options with a woman who claimed to want to terminate her pregnancy if she was carrying a girl. Live Action's accompanying petition suggests that Planned Parenthood is complicit in "Widespread sex-selection by means of abortion." This video hoax is part of a campaign aimed at "exposing the practice of sex-selective abortion in the United States and how Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry facilitate the selective elimination of baby girls in the womb."
But the first video demonstrates that Rose can show no such effort to facilitate rampant sex-selection abortion.