Women testify on Hill: Planned Parenthood misleads
Democrats slam ‘show trial,’ say videos are ‘bogus’
In the first congressional hearing on videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood’s involvement in illegally selling fetal tissue for profit and violating other federal prohibitions, two women who survived abortions told a congressional hearing that the abortion giant and pro-choice groups are already misleading people about the group’s practices.
Planned Parenthood says it is for women’s rights, said Gianna Jessen, who showed pictures of her burned body when she was born at 71⁄2 months old after a failed saline abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic in 1977.
“If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine?” she said.
“I have to say, as a woman who survived an abortion survivor, there is something wrong when health care and women’s empowerment is based on someone’s life ending,” said Melissa Ohden, founder of the Abortion Survivors Network. Ms. Ohden was also almost killed in a 1977 saline abortion, but she lived, thanks to two nurses who made sure she got medical care instead of being dumped “into a bucket of formaldehyde.”
The House Judiciary Committee is probing Planned Parenthood’s activities regarding the harvesting and distributing of fetal body parts, based on nine undercover videos released over the summer by the Center for Medical Progress. Planned Parenthood claims many of the most damning sequences were misleadingly edited.
The House Republican Conference on Wednesday also launched a new Web-based timeline at gop.gov/plannedparenthood to track the many ongoing House investigations into Planned Parenthood.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, said the hearings were needed because Planned Parenthood is granted “huge amounts of federal funds,” and it is Congress’ business to ensure that federal taxpayers are “not contributing to the sorts of horrors reflected in the undercover videos.”
The Democratic committee members lambasted the hearing as a “show trial,” called the videos “bogus” and defended Planned Parenthood as the target of multiple smear campaigns aimed at defunding it and ending legal abortion.
“The people who made these videos are liars in a long line of liars,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler, New York Democrat.
This hearing is “one-sided,” said Rep. John Conyers, Michigan Democrat, who chided the majority for not inviting representatives of Planned Parenthood or the Center for Medical Progress to the hearing.
These “doctored videos” offer “no credible evidence” that Planned Parenthood — one of the most popular organizations for 100 years — violated federal law, said Mr. Conyers.
But Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican, said the undercover videos show people “haggling” over price of fetal parts, and using painful dismemberment methods to destroy the lives of “these little babies.”
The congressman recalled how in one video a woman testified that she was shown an aborted baby boy’s heart that was still beating and told to harvest his brain.
The only time this baby was held was by people “who cut his face open and took his brain,” said Mr. Franks.
The minority Democrats’ witness was Priscilla J. Smith, a senior fellow for the Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice at Yale Law School, who said she was testifying in her personal capacity.
She repeatedly dismissed the undercover videos as deliberately edited to misrepresent Planned Parenthood’s practices. In response to a question by Mr. Goodlatte, Ms. Smith said abortion procedures, including dilation and evacuation, were humane — if the fetus was “pre-viable.”
Gianna Jessen, a pro-life and disability rights activist from Franklin, Tennessee, showed the House Judiciary Committee pictures of her burned body when she was born at 7½ months old after a failed saline abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic in 1977.