From the July 27 edition of MSNBC's NOW with Alex Wagner:
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From the July 27 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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Iowa radio host Steve Deace hosted Troy Newman, a radical anti-abortion activist and president of anti-choice group Operation Rescue, to hype the deceptively edited Planned Parenthood videos Newman helped produce and release. Newman has a history of violent speech and actions directed at abortion service providers, including systematically harassing clinic workers and defending the murder of an abortion clinic doctor.
Following the July 21 release of a second deceptively edited video purportedly showing a Planned Parenthood staff member engaging in a discussion about "selling" fetal tissue for medical science, Deace hosted Newman to discuss the videos he admitted helping create:
Although not discussed by Deace, who also has some extreme thoughts of his own about women's reproductive rights, Newman and Operation Rescue have a track record of aggressive anti-choice rhetoric and actions. According to a 2003 Operation Rescue West press release, Newman defended Paul Jennings Hill, an anti-abortion activist who murdered a Florida abortion doctor and his security guard in 1994. In the release Newman said Hill's conviction was unfair because Hill was unable to present "the legal defense that his conduct was justifiable defensive action" to "save the lives of pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day."
For his part, Newman has engaged in personal harassment of clinic staff. As the Los Angeles Times reported in a February 17, 2004 article, he planned to stalk clinic workers -- who he compared to infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele -- to "make it clear they're not welcome in Wichita":
Newman will pick through clinic workers' trash to figure out where they do business; he'll trail them at a distance to learn their routines.
His goal is not just to make their lives uncomfortable. He wants to unsettle and disgust their friends and associates, so their hairstylists and their pharmacists, even their neighbors, make it clear they're not welcome in Wichita.
"If Josef Mengele came into a bank saying, 'Here are a few gold teeth I ripped out of the Jews before I gassed them,' the bank would be horrified. They'd say, 'I'm not taking your blood money.' That's the picture of abortionists that we have to paint," Newman said.
The videos Newman's organization consulted on and took credit for on Deace's show are full of deceptive edits and do not show any illegal activity. As the New York Times explained in an editorial discussing the videos, the full first video, which was edited down from over two hours to less than 10 minutes, "shows something very different from what these critics claim" by "eliminat[ing] statements made by Dr. Nucatola explaining that Planned Parenthood does not profit from tissue donation." The editorial continued:
The Center for Medical Progress video campaign is a dishonest attempt to make legal, voluntary and potentially lifesaving tissue donations appear nefarious and illegal. Lawmakers responding by promoting their own anti-choice agenda are rewarding deception and putting women's health and their constitutionally protected rights at risk.
Factcheck.org agreed, saying the deceptively edited videos did not show Planned Parenthood violating any laws and highlighting experts who said that the money discussed in the video "represents a reasonable fee" for tissue donation.
FactCheck.org debunked a deceptively edited video from the Center for Medical Progress smearing Planned Parenthood by falsely claiming the organization has been "selling" fetal tissue donations, pointing out that the unedited video shows the clinics just "want to cover their costs, not make money" when making donations.
Discredited anti-choice organization Center for Medical Progress released a deceptively cut video claiming to have caught a Planned Parenthood official discussing the "selling [of] aborted baby parts" on July 14. Conservatives jumped on the opportunity to call to defund Planned Parenthood, despite mainstream media calling out the attack for "show[ing] nothing illegal."
FactCheck.org further demolished the video's credibility in a July 21 post explaining that, despite Center for Medical Progress' claim, the video does not show Planned Parenthood violated any laws. Noting that the official in the video "repeatedly say[s] its clinics want to cover their costs, not make money, when donating fetal tissue from abortions for scientific research," the fact-check quotes "biorepository" experts explaining that the fees discussed in the video would not generate "a profit at that price" -- it'd just offset some of the costs associated with the process:
We also asked experts in the use of human tissue for research about the potential for profit. Sherilyn J. Sawyer, the director of Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital's "biorepository," told us that "there's no way there's a profit at that price." She continued in an email:
Sawyer, July 20: In reality, $30-100 probably constitutes a loss for [Planned Parenthood]. The costs associated with collection, processing, storage, and inventory and records management for specimens are very high. Most hospitals will provide tissue blocks from surgical procedures (ones no longer needed for clinical purposes, and without identity) for research, and cost recover for their time and effort in the range of $100-500 per case/block. In the realm of tissues for research $30-100 is completely reasonable and normal fee.
Jim Vaught, president of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories and formerly the deputy director of the National Cancer Institute's Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research, told us in an email that "$30 to $100 per sample is a reasonable charge for clinical operations to recover their costs for providing tissue." In fact, he said, the costs to a clinic are often much higher, but most operations that provide this kind of tissue have "no intention of fully recovering [their] costs, much less making a profit."
Carolyn Compton, the chief medical and science officer of Arizona State University's National Biomarkers Development Alliance and a former director of biorepositories and biospecimen research at the National Cancer Institute, agreed that this was "a modest price tag for cost recovery." Compton told us in an email: " 'Profit' is out of the question, in my mind. I would say that whoever opined about 'profit' knows very little about the effort and expense involved in providing human biospecimens for research purposes."
From the July 21 edition of MSNBC's NOW with Alex Wagner:
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From the July 21 edition of Fox News' The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson:
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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.
From the July 15 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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From the July 15 edition of MSNBC's NOW With Alex Wagner:
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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.
On June 30th, five male justices held that "closely held" for-profit secular corporations like Hobby Lobby are exempt under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) from the so-called "contraception mandate." Right-wing media predictably cheered and mocked women's access to contraception, even though the decision was based on a series of myths.
Here are eight women explaining why the Hobby Lobby decision is dead wrong:
Fox host Shannon Bream and correspondent Molly Henneberg continued Fox's relentless campaign to demonize Planned Parenthood and stoke fears about their participation in an initiative to expand health insurance. Bream and Henneberg dishonestly linked abortion with federal funds going to Planned Parenthood to cover federal funds helping enroll Americans in health insurance.
On the August 22 edition of America Live, Bream proclaimed there was "outrage over a new plan to give federal money to Planned Parenthood," and concluded that "critics are upset that the government wants to give funds to clinics that also provide abortions." Henneberg brought up the irrelevant red herring that Planned Parenthood is "the largest abortion provider in the country":
Despite Henneberg's dishonest attempt to tie the funding to abortion, the purpose of the navigators is to provide "'fair, impartial and accurate information that assists consumers with submitting the eligibility application, clarifying distinctions among [qualified health plans] and helping qualified individuals make informed decisions during the health plan selection process.'"
Henneberg then attempted to portray the funds as a broken promise by the president by claiming Obama said "no federal dollars that fund Obamacare would go to abortion providers." As The Daily Beast's Amanda Marcotte notes, this is a blatant falsehood:
Well, if you're watching Fox, you'd think it's apocalyptic. Right-wing radio host Mike Gallagher acted like there was nothing more outrageous than a public health clinic getting involved in a program that helps people get better access to health care. "I always try to anticipate what my friends on the left will possibly say to try to defend this egregious about-face," he chuckled on Fox. The "about-face" is a reference to the overt lie underpinning this entire campaign against Planned Parenthood, which is the conservative claim that Obama somehow promised that Planned Parenthood as an entity would not get any federal funding under the Affordable Care Act. Obama made no such promise. He signed an executive order disallowing abortion to be covered in health-care plans sold on the exchange, but signing people up for health care should not be equated with giving them abortions or even giving them plans that cover abortion. That's like saying the Department of Motor Vehicles is casting your ballot for you by giving you the opportunity to register to vote--an outright and inflammatory lie.
Fox even read a statement by Planned Parenthood Vice President Eric Ferrero, who assured that the grants "have nothing to do with abortion and won't be used for abortion services," which would fulfill Obama's promise.
Planned Parenthood is one of 105 groups to receive federal funds under the Affordable Care Act to aid in enrolling Americans in health insurance. According to The Hill, "organizations on the other side of the ideological spectrum also received grants," including Ascension Health, the nation's largest Catholic and non-profit health system, and Catholic Social Services, an arm of the Archdiocese of Mobile, Alabama.
From the August 9 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
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Rush Limbaugh and Breitbart.com both falsely suggested that Planned Parenthood knew Dr. Kermit Gosnell was committing murder in his clinic and failed to report his crimes to authorities.
Gosnell is currently on trial for murdering seven infants and a mother, accused of grotesque behavior committed under the guise of women's health services.
Following comments made by Dayle Steinberg, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, Breitbart.com claimed, linking to a LifeNews.com article, that Planned Parenthood "knew about the massacre of the innocents" at Gosnell's clinic but "didn't say a word to the authorities about it."
Similarly, on the April 23 broadcast of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh, also referencing the LifeNews.com post, claimed that Steinberg had admitted Planned Parenthood "knew of what Gosnell was doing at his abortion facility" and "didn't report it to the state health department or other state or local officials." He concluded:
LIMBAUGH: Folks, that is profound to me. We know what was going on in Gosnell's -- I don't even know what we could -- house of horrors doesn't describe what was going on in there. And now we find out that Pennsylvania Planned Parenthood knew all along.
But Steinberg never said that Planned Parenthood was aware of the full extent of Gosnell's crimes -- only that women complained to Planned Parenthood about the "conditions" at Gosnell's clinic. A Philadelphia Inquirer article noted that Steinberg said Planned Parenthood "would always encourage [women with complaints] to report it to the Department of Health."
UPDATE: In a letter to the editor published on Philly.com, Steinberg confirmed that complaints Planned Parenthood had received about Gosnell's clinic referred to "the uncleanliness of his facility." She added, "If we had heard anything remotely like the conditions that have since come to light about Gosnell's facility, of course we would have alerted the state and other authorities."
From Steinberg's letter to the editor:
When Gosnell was arrested, I asked our staff if anyone had ever heard of him, and clinic staff members reported that a few women over the years said they were concerned about the uncleanliness of his facility and came to Planned Parenthood instead.
Our staff told these women that issues of cleanliness should be reported to state officials. If we had heard anything remotely like the conditions that have since come to light about Gosnell's facility, of course we would have alerted the state and other authorities.
Nobody who believes in good health care, access to safe and legal abortion, and respect for women would ever look at Kermit Gosnell's facility and call it a health-care center. He preyed on women in their most vulnerable moments.