Conservatives are currently sobbing over the recent announcement that contrary to what they’ve been trying to make people believe with their Planned Parenthood sting videos, the organization has been cleared of any inhumane practices.
In an investigation on Planned Parenthood by the Department of Health and Human Services, it was found that the women’s health clinics had not violated any fetal tissue laws “among government researchers or the companies that supply the tissue” or wrongdoing.
This investigation was sparked after anti-abortion, conservative group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a series of strategically edited videos that made it look like Planned Parenthood was selling the body parts of aborted fetuses. These videos were debunked, and it was clear that the officials displayed in the video were merely discussing tissue donation and legal reimbursement, but CMP desperately continued release more videos.
Official clearance of Planned Parenthood was announced on August 16th in a report from Politico, which stated that every one of the CMP’s deceptive attempts to smear Planned Parenthood’s name were based on lies.
The HHS’ assistant secretary for legislation explained to Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) that the organization found “no violation of these laws in connection with research done at our agencies.” The letter read, in part:
“Furthermore … we have confirmed that HHS researchers working with fetal tissue obtained the tissue from non-profit organizations that provided assurances to us that they are in compliance with all applicable legal requirements.
Very little federal research is done with fetal tissue, but it has come under scrutiny since an anti-abortion group earlier this summer began releasing undercover videos alleging that Planned Parenthood was trafficking in fetal tissue and organs. Planned Parenthood has denied that, saying it facilitates legal tissue donation at a few of its locations.”
Nice try, conservatives. Anti-abortion CMP is going to have to do better than horrifically edited videos if they want to bring down a completely ethical organization that provides so many critical health services to women.
In a hilarious twist, it turns out that CMP’s little smear campaign actually HELPED Planned Parenthood! Following CMP’s attempts to derail the women’s health organization, donations to Planned Parenthood increased and the organization doubled down by working with a PR firm to spread accurate information and debunk conservative fear-mongering lies. Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Dawn Laguens described this phenomenon best when she said:
“The benefit of having been a women’s health care provider for 99 years, and to being somebody who’s been there in the lives of 1 in 5 American women, is that when people come after Planned Parenthood, people tend to not like that, and it actually has the opposite effect. More people send money, more people ask what they can do to help, more people come to us for health care.”
Obama is also doubling down on halting the efforts to defund Planned Parenthood since CMP’s dirty video campaign. Recently, the Obama administration has threatened states attempting to cut off Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood with potential violation of federal law and promises to ultimately stop Medicaid funds to those particular states.
Currently, states that have canceled their Medicaid contracts to the women’s health provider are Alabama, Louisiana and New Hampshire, but more states intend to follow. Obama isn’t having any of it, and is reminding these states that they are not allowed to exclude health providers from Medicaid just because of certain services they offer. The Obama administration threatened to do this a few years ago, when Texas’ former Gov. Rick Perry stopped funding for low-income women’s health centers from reaching the state’s Planned Parenthood clinics. This forced Perry to fund his ill-advised plan with his state’s own money.
From the beginning of his first term, President Obama has been a tremendous advocate and champion for Planned Parenthood, and has proven time and time again that he cares for women’s rights and women’s access to safe and affordable healthcare.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.