From an editorial Wednesday in the Washington Post:
The antiabortion movement seems to have gained new momentum. Thousands of protesters rallied outside Planned Parenthood clinics over the weekend. Republicans in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail are demanding a crackdown on the organization. Several Republican governors have moved to cut off funds, including Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a state with just two Planned Parenthood clinics that don’t even perform abortions.
Energizing the fight, which threatens to complicate this fall’s federal budget negotiations and could lead to a government shutdown, are notorious sting videos from the so-called Center for Medical Progress targeting Planned Parenthood officials. But for all the outcry the videos have caused, they reveal nothing that changes the substance of the debate over abortion. That, though, doesn’t mean there won’t be damage. Public time and money will be wasted in pointless efforts to investigate or defund Planned Parenthood. And, in some cases, defunders are likely to run afoul of federal law in their zeal to act on what so far have been phantom accusations of wrongdoing.
The videos seek to show that Planned Parenthood has violated federal law by selling fetal tissue to scientific researchers. It has long been legal for patients to donate culled fetal tissue for medical research and for abortion clinics to recoup the costs they incur to facilitate the donations. The videos are strategically edited and employ familiar antiabortion shock tactics, such as the use of gruesome images of fetal tissue and inflammatory language; they may show distressing insensitivity on the part of some Planned Parenthood staff but there is certainly nothing close to illegality.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Absent from the videos, meanwhile, is information on why these tissue donations have been allowed to happen: to assist in life-improving and life-saving medical breakthroughs.
Defunding Planned Parenthood, meanwhile, would deny women access to all sorts of non-abortion services, such as contraception, cancer screening, sexually transmitted disease testing and so forth.
Americans, according to consistent public polling, oppose defunding Planned Parenthood. Republicans need to end their wasteful fixation.