The shallow defense of Planned Parenthood

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Planned Parenthood makes its first appearance on Capitol Hill today since the string of videos by Center for Medical Progress were released. Predictably, pro-abort harpy Cecile Richards is trying to take a page out of Saul Alinsky’s rulebook and make the videos the issue while evading the actual cause of the hearings: that Planned Parenthood stands in violation IRS regulations and federal law for altering abortions procedures to facilitate organ harvesting and then selling those organs at a substantial mark-up.

The defense Planned Parenthood and its infanticidal followers offers is shallow and transparent. It is based on lies and misdirection. As Richards says in her opening statement, which fortunately for her can’t be used to make her vulnerable to arrest for perjury:

As I explained, they sought to infiltrate Planned Parenthood affiliates and tried unsuccessfully to entrap Planned Parenthood physicians and staff for nearly three years. It is clear they acted fraudulently and unethically — and perhaps illegally. Yet it is Planned Parenthood, not Mr. Daleiden, that is currently subject to four separate congressional investigations.

The first attack is that the videos are “edited.” Of course they were edited. Every video segment released to the public has been edited. What the pro-aborts are trying to do is use “edit” as a synonym for “fake and misleading.” This is not the case. Planned Parenthood hired a Democrat opposition research firm to do an “analysis” which the pro-abort media dutifully picked up:

The videos, which were released by the anti-abortion activist group Center for Medical Progress, have prompted calls for congressional investigations, which are expected to begin next month. There have also been public protests over the weekend around the country, both condemning and defending Planned Parenthood.

The Fusion GPS analysis shows the videos were edited, cutting between undercover footage, graphics and interviews with a woman the group calls only an “ex-procurement tech.”

CMP also posted several hours-long videos labeled “FULL FOOTAGE” on YouTube, but Planned Parenthood said even the longer videos and transcripts are heavily edited. Planned Parenthood called on the group to release its full source footage.

Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson also called the video files “unreliable,” contending that uploading them on YouTube distorted the quality of the audio. His firm says its analysis, supported by an outside transcription service, found one part of a videowhere CMP transcribes a doctor saying “it’s a baby” when the audio is actually unintelligible.

However when an actual forensics analysis company was hired to evaluate the video, the findings were very, very different:

But the results of the forensic analysis, conducted for the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress, were released shortly before the hearing. The Alliance Defending Freedom engaged cybersecurity and forensic analysis company Coalfire Systems to examine the 10 “full-footage videos” put out by CMP.

According to their review, the videos were not manipulated. The report said any missing footage was of “non-pertinent” events like meals and bathroom breaks.

“The Coalfire forensic analysis removes any doubt that the full length undercover videos released by Center for Medical Progress are authentic and have not been manipulated,” ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox said in a statement.

“Analysts scrutinized every second of video recorded during the investigation and released by CMP to date and found only bathroom breaks and other non-pertinent footage had been removed. Planned Parenthood can no longer hide behind a smokescreen of false accusations and should now answer for what appear to be the very real crimes revealed by the CMP investigation.”

As Mollie Hemingway, writing in The Federalist, notes, the gaps in the video were 1) commuting, 2) camera adjustments, 3) bathroom breaks, 4) meals, and 5) waiting.

The second line of attack is your run-of-the-mill ad hominem in two parts. First, David Daleiden is against abortion therefore he isn’t reliable. Second, the video makers acted illegally and unethically. Let’s take the second issue, first. If they acted illegally, that is a matter for the courts and has no bearing on the veracity of their claims. Ethics is obviously in the eye of the beholder. Anyone caught in a sting video where they are recorded selling pieces of murdered infants is going to feel put out. It is worthy of note that none of the organizations or individuals caught on video have filed slander or libel suits.

The direct attacks on Daleiden are sort of funny. The sort of remind you of the apocryphal story of the 1950 Democrat senate primary in Florida:

Smathers told an audience of bumpkins that incumbent Claude Pepper was “a known extrovert,” practiced “celibacy” before marriage, practiced “nepotism” with his sister-in-law, “matriculated” with women in college, that his sister was “a thespian” and his brother “a practicing homo sapien.”

The bizarrely misnamed People for the American Way comes up with this:

So where are these charges coming from?

The Center for Medical Progress was created by anti-abortion activist David Daleiden for the purpose of conducting the kind of “stings” used in previous efforts to “take out” Planned Parenthood. Reps. [mc_name name=’Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C000984′ ] (D-Md.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.), ranking members of the House Oversight and Government Reform and Judiciary committees, have urged an investigation into potentially illegal actions by Daleiden and CMP.  But Daleiden’s lawyers have said he will invoke the Fifth Amendment rather than defend his actions.

Daleiden got his start in anti-choice activism at Live Action, which has conducted its own discredited “sting” investigations of Planned Parenthood. For his new project, Daleiden turned for advice and support to Troy Newman, the head of Operation Rescue, which has a long association with radical and sometimes violent anti-choice activism. Newman and his colleague Cheryl Sullenberger, who was once jailed for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic, advise activists that “stretching the truth” is acceptable when trying to destroy a “godless enemy.” Newman is one of two CMP board members in addition to Daleiden himself.

Also providing strategic advice and promoting CMP’s videos are Mark Crutcher and his group Life Dynamics. It conducted a similar “sting” in 1999, which led to a “train wreck” of a congressional hearing in which Crutcher’s star witness admitted to lying and receiving $20,000 from Life Dynamics.

Another group helping spread CMP’s videos, and providing talking points for use by churches, is Online for Life, a group that tries to intercept women seeking information about abortion and divert them to anti-abortion “pregnancy centers.”

Life Dynamics and Online for Life have received millions of dollars in recent years from the Thirteen Foundation, set up by Texas fracking billionaire and pastor Farris Wilks. That’s the same Farris Wilks who, with his brother Dan, are the biggest donors – to the tune of $15 million – to a super PAC backing [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] (R-Texas). CNN reported this month that top officials of Online for Life are “playing a growing role in the super PACs backing Ted Cruz.”

Let’s assume, arguendo, that every thing they say is true. So what? What is at issue is the behavior of Planned Parenthood, not the past history of people who may or may not be associated with the video.

Planned Parenthood is on the ropes. They will probably survive this attempt to defund them but the writing is on the wall. Several states have launched criminal probes which will almost certainly result in indictments for Medicaid fraud. The brand has suffered a body blow and it is no longer associated with helping desperate women but rather it is known as a seller of dead babies.