After months of hurling vile slander and gruesome accusations at Planned Parenthood, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) announced that his investigation of the beleaguered healthcare provider has, predictably, turned up no wrongdoing of any sort. During a judiciary committee meeting, he admitted that “did I look at the finances and have a hearing specifically as to the revenue portion and how they spend? Yes. Was there any wrongdoing? I didn’t find any.”
It is a bitter vindication for pro-choice advocates. Planned Parenthood, an organization which was granted its federal funding by Republicans, has had their good name and vital work dragged through the mud. They have been slandered in heavily edited, illegally recorded videos that give false impressions. They were called out on national television by opportunist and reprehensible gender-traitor Carly Fiorina who demanded that we “watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.” The footage used belonged to a miscarriage, and did not take place in a Planned Parenthood, and may not even have been inside the United States.
The GOP’s relentless witch-hunt led to the president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, being summoned to Congress for several hours to withstand an insulting barrage of outrageous misogyny and ignorance that even pro-life activists condemned as a “circus.” The Huffington Post described it like this: “It went mostly like this: Republican asks question. Richards starts to respond, and Republican interrupts and asks question again. Richards starts to respond, and Republican interrupts and demands answer. Richards starts to respond, and the chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), interrupts to move to next questioner.”
After all of this wasted time and effort and counterproductive libel just to deny women access to reproductive healthcare, and the delusional GOP comes up with nothing. This whole affair would be a farce if the consequences weren’t so significant. How many Americans will now believe these stupid lies? How long will it be before we have this same fight again?
Planned Parenthood deserves an apology and a public declaration of innocence. The work that Planned Parenthood does every day has a much more tangible impact on the lives of the American people than anything our do-nothing Republican Congress does. The complete disregard of facts and truth, the sheer rudeness, the absurd sob stories from Chaffetz, and the obvious foregone conclusion all combine to make one of the most disgraceful smear campaigns that our nation has ever seen.
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.