Senate Leaders Question State Agency About Planned Parenthood Videos

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TEXAS AG
  • Texas AG

Members of the Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services grilled state officials over highly edited undercover videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood employees selling baby parts.

Planned Parenthood does not profit from the donation of fetal tissue.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton testified today in front of the Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services regarding an active, ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practices.

“The videos that have made all the headlines raise a large number of troubling allegations, allegations that — again — my office is aggressively investigating and we will go to any and all lawful lengths to get to the bottom of what has been happening. But more than any misdeeds involving the sale of aborted baby parts is this fundamental truth: the true abomination in all this is the institution of abortion.”

Paxton continued by describing his team’s investigation at the Houston branch Planned Parenthood,

“As my staffers watched, a technician took an aborted child from a jar, rinsed it in a colander, and placed the body parts in a tray. Fingers and toes, exceptionally tiny but fully-formed, were clearly visible. The remains were eventually deposited in a red plastic bag, about the size of an average grocery sack. According to the people at the facility, they average at least 260 pounds of ‘medical waste’ a week, every week.”

Currently, there is no state law regarding the use of fetal tissue for research or teaching purposes.

State Senator Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, asked the HHSC bluntly whether they had heard complaints suggesting the “remains go down the garbage disposal?”

The HHSC stated the agency had not found substantiated proof of this and other allegations regarding improper disposal of remains. The remains saved for research are known as pathological waste. 

Naturally, state leaders are bringing the controversial debate to Washington D.C.

Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) filed a bill initially regarding highway funding, however, the bill has transformed to a measure including a Planned Parenthood de-funding amendment, according to The Hill. Sen. Cornyn tweeted Monday, to expect a vote on the bill as early as this week. 

However, Progress Texas Executive Director, Edward Espinoza, offers a different sentiment in regards to today's hearing,

“If Republican politicians really care about sound public policy, they should focus on real problems facing Texas such as the recent controversies surrounding our criminal justice system, the growing problem of the state's refusal to grant birth certificates to American-born Latino children, or on the county clerks who refuse to enforce marriage equality, instead of using the power of their offices to take up fake controversies from anti-abortion radicals attacking Planned Parenthood."

Heather Busby, executive director of National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) Pro-Choice Texas joins the criticism of the Senate’s hearing, “By calling for this sham hearing and stacking it with biased testimony, our state’s leaders are wasting taxpayer money on malicious lies and dangerous tactics.”

The anti-abortion radicals Espinoza refers to are those members of the Center for Medical Progress orchestrating the release of several videos attacking women’s health care providers, like Planned Parenthood.

According to multiple news sources, including the New York Times, The Nation and Politico, the three individuals involved in the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) have several ties with anti-abortion extremist efforts like the bombings of abortion clinics and the murder of Dr. George Tiller, a late-term abortion physician.

David Daleiden, the leader of the Center for Medical Progress, has clear links to other anti-abortion organizations, Operation Rescue and Live Action, “[that] similarly used undercover sting videos to accuse Planned Parenthood clinics of everything from racism and manipulative counseling to sex-selective abortion and infanticide,” Politico reported.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America stated in a press release, “The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) is an extreme activist organization whose sole mission is to prevent women from accessing health care and to destroy Planned Parenthood.”

Moreover, the provider says, “they're using these very highly edited videos, sensationalized videos, to try to impugn and smear the name of Planned Parenthood. They have zero credibility. They set up a fake company. They apparently used fake government IDs. They've faked faxed tax filings and completely falsified what they were about.”

In an article for The Nation, Eli Clifton and Amanda Marcotte write, “The video, long on misleading editing and short on any evidence for its claims of illegal behavior, had all the hallmarks of right-wing agitprop.”

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