In her first major televised interview since a pair of "highly-deceptive" videos emerged trying to discredit her organization, the president of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards appeared on 'This Week' on Sunday to discuss the orchestrated campaign.
"Planned Parenthood has broken no laws," said Richards and explained how the "highly-edited videos" show no wrong-doing but are a clear attempt by the most extreme elements of the anti-abortion movement to undermine a women's right to choose. "We have the highest standards," she said of her non-profit organization. "The care and health care and safety of our patients is our most important priority."
As Common Dreams previously reported, the shadowy anti-choice group behind the effort, the Center for Medical Progress, used hidden cameras and fake interviews to make spurious and unsubstantiated claims that Planned Parenthood was involved in the illegal selling of human tissue obtained while performing late-term abortions. However, the full video provides no evidence that Planned Parenthood sells fetal tissue for profit, as many—including the organization itself—have noted.
As Richards reiterated on Sunday, "The folks behind this, in fact, are part of the most militant wing of the anti-abortion movement that has been behind, you know, the bombing of clinics, the murder of doctors in their homes, and in their—in their churches. That's what actually needs to be—to be looked at."
Watch the segment:
In a detailed letter to sent to lawmakers in Washington, DC last week, Planned Parenthood detailed the continuing harrassment it has faced from anti-choice outfits like the Center for Medical Progress and others. On the specifics of the case involving the fraudulent videos, the group provided the following information in order to document the level of the deception:
- An analysis of the heavily edited, nine-minute video released last week, compared to a longer 150-minute video, shows that a Planned Parenthood staffer said 10 different times that Planned Parenthood would not sell tissue or profit from tissue donations and that all 10 instances were cut out and the video was edited to falsely claim she said the opposite.
- The man who perpetrated the fraud, David Daleiden, has participated in at least 10 separate fraud campaigns over the last eight years involving gaining access to Planned Parenthood health centers or offices under false pretenses, taping staff (and sometimes patients) without their knowledge on at least 65 occasions (not counting the latest fraud), and misleading the public with heavily edited tapes and false charges. Another man involved in the fraud, Troy Newman, is the leader of Operation Rescue, whose members have bombed abortion clinics and murdered Dr. George Tiller in his church.
- This latest attack started approximately three years ago, and included the creation of a phony company claiming to be a health care organization, which then embarked on a campaign of corporate espionage with Planned Parenthood as its target.
- The fraud included possible violations of state and federal recording laws and tax laws, as well as the use of a false state identification card.
Additionally, and based on initial analysis, Planned Parenthood believes that Daleiden may have thousands of hours of videotape that he will use to edit deceptively into short clips to make false claims, likely for many months. Among the areas that Planned Parenthood said it expects to see on tapes are:
- Illegal, secret recording in a highly sensitive area of a health center where tissue is processed after abortion procedures, a serious invasion of women’s privacy and dignity.
- Offers from impersonators posing as health care professionals to pay various sums of money for tissue or organs, from $100 to $1,600 – offers which could be illegal, and which Planned Parenthood staff refused.
- Leading and vague questions and discussions about how abortions are performed, to get footage that could be edited to suggest wrongdoing, regardless of the fact that Planned Parenthood staff made clear they would not violate laws.
- Particularly cynical and ugly questions about whether tissue from African-American patients could be isolated to use for research to find a cure for sickle-cell anemia, presumably to edit deceptively and manufacture false and inflammatory video involving race.