Déjà Vu: Center for Medical Progress Just the Latest in More than a Decade of Eerily Similar Discredited Attacks on Planned Parenthood
For Immediate Release: Dec. 28, 2015
Nine Similar Attacks Followed Nearly Identical Pattern, All Fell Apart on Closer Inspection
Washington, DC — The recent two-month long campaign by activists who call themselves the Center for Medical Progress is not unique — in fact it is only the latest in a decade’s worth of similar, discredited attacks against Planned Parenthood, according to a new memo released by the nonprofit women’s health provider today. The memo, titled, “The Fanatical Crusade Against Planned Parenthood: Decades of Doctored Videos, Failed Entrapments, and False Accusations” outlines nine other similar attacks over the past 15 years, all following a strikingly familiar pattern: A few extremists spend months — even years — trying to entrap Planned Parenthood health centers into unethical or illegal conduct; release recordings that purport to support their sensationalized accusations, and accuse reporters of ignoring their findings; this leads to media coverage, and condemnation by legislators who oppose Planned Parenthood; only to have the accusations fall apart upon further inspection.
Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President for Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“For 15 years anti-abortion activists have been trying to manufacture public outrage, and for 15 years their attacks have fallen apart upon closer inspection. The Center for Medical Progress may have a different name, but this is the same cast of characters and follows the same script. There’s a reason those who oppose women’s access to health care have had to resort to lying and inventing false claims to make their case: The vast majority of the American public wants to ensure women have access to safe, legal abortion.”
A few of the previous attacks outlined in the memo:
- 2000: False Claims of Fetal Tissue Sales and a Discredited Witness: In a situation eerily similar to recent attacks, an undercover “whistleblower,” Dean Alberty, claimed that he had witnessed widespread violations of the federal prohibition on fetal tissue sales, that he helped create price lists, and that he witnessed viable fetuses outside the womb in a clinic. In 2000, a Republican-led congressional committee launched an investigation into allegations that Planned Parenthood health centers sold fetal tissue for profit, only to have the claims fall apart on closer inspection. Alberty admitted in a sworn affidavit that his accusations were not true, and according to Roll Call, his credibility was left “in tatters.”
- 2011: Videos Falsely Claim Planned Parenthood Condones Sex Trafficking and Statutory Rape: In another situation that mimics today’s attacks, anti-abortion extremists released a series of heavily doctored videos attempting to show Planned Parenthood staff acting inappropriately. However, Planned Parenthood staff had reported the undercover activists to managers, and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards proactively wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder alerting him to potential sex trafficking and requesting an investigation. Republican members of Congress ignored the clear evidence discrediting the videos and the active role Planned Parenthood took in reporting potentially illegal activity, and instead cited the videos as grounds for defunding Planned Parenthood and bringing the government to the brink of a shutdown — leading Senator Jon Kyl made the now infamous false claim that abortion services are “well over 90% of what Planned Parenthood does,” which he later clarified “was not intended to be a factual statement.”
- 2009: Videos Falsely Claim Planned Parenthood Violates Informed Consent Laws: In 2009, an anti-abortion group released a series of videos with key phrases edited out, claiming that Planned Parenthood counseling practices violated informed consent requirements, induced women to obtain abortions under duress, and inappropriately worked to avoid parental consent requirements. The videos edited out all relevant statements such as “Are you sure this is the best thing for you?” and “No that’s the law. Period. Anywhere you go, if you are under the age of 18 you’re going to have to have a parent’s consent.”
- 2002: Attempted Telephone “Sting” Operation: In 2002, an anti-abortion group placed over 800 phone calls to women’s health clinics across the country attempting to show the clinics did not comply with state statutory rape reporting requirements. The recordings prompted a criminal investigation in Connecticut and attacks around the country. However, the criminal investigation quickly collapsed due to lack of evidence that any actual victims were harmed, and further investigation of the tapes revealed that the recordings presented an extremely limited portion of the actions a Planned Parenthood clinic would take when presented with an actual patient and the full facts of the case. The HHS Office of Inspector General subsequently conducted a nationwide review of federally funded family planning centers, which found no violations.
To read the full memo, click HERE.
Three teams of forensic experts have thoroughly reviewed the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, and concluded that they “significantly distort and misrepresent” actual events. In addition, legal problems are piling up for the group behind the videos — with David Daleiden already indicating he will plead the Fifth Amendment in court proceedings.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
September 09, 2015