‘Where is the full, unedited video footage that experts say was heavily edited to distort Planned Parenthood’s work, and why won’t this group turn it over?’

WASHINGTON, DC – Planned Parenthood Federation of America today called on anti-abortion activists who have been posting heavily edited videos for the last six weeks to immediately release their complete, unedited source video footage to the California attorney general.

A California-based group calling itself the Center for Medical Progress – whose leadership is connected to groups linked to bombings of women's health centers and the murder of an abortion doctor – has released eight videos in the last six weeks, including five videos of Planned Parenthood staff members. The videos focused on Planned Parenthood staff members have a total of at least 42 splices, where statements were edited to create the appearance of seamless conversations, changing the meaning of what people said in order to support CMP’s outrageous and false claims.

An expert report released yesterday determined that the secretly recorded videos were heavily edited and “significantly distort and misrepresent” actual events. Three teams of experts, including a video science instructor at the FBI National Academy, noted that supposed “full footage” that the group has released is edited, inaccurate, and unreliable, as are transcripts the group has produced. The experts noted that no unedited source footage has been released.

In the last few hours, media outlets have reported that David Daleiden, the activist at the center of the nearly three-year fraud campaign, said he couldn’t release “a lot of” footage because some court orders prevent it, then said “we are providing” footage to authorities, and also claimed footage has already been provided to authorities. He did not specify which authorities, and it is not clear whether it is source footage, which is full, completely unedited video footage. To date, no source footage has ever been released publicly. Daleiden has said that he is releasing the videos to the public one at a time for maximum political effect and to garner more media coverage, and that he has several more videos to release.

Following is a statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“This group should immediately provide every minute of video footage they have of Planned Parenthood staff to the California attorney general. No unedited source footage has ever been provided publicly for any of these videos. Everything that’s been released has been edited, and experts have now said unequivocally that the video editing was deceptive and does not reflect actual events.

“The question today is: Where is the full, unedited video footage that experts say was heavily edited to distort Planned Parenthood’s work, and why won’t this group release it? We know that some members of Congress and state legislators were shown these videos weeks before they were released. Did those politicians see full, unedited source footage? If they thought they saw wrongdoing on the videos they were secretly shown, why didn’t they immediately insist that the full videos all be given to proper authorities?

“As a trusted health care provider, Planned Parenthood has extremely high standards – and if there are ever questions about whether our standards are being met, we want to know about it so we can take swift action. If these folks really think they saw wrongdoing, which so far isn’t even apparent on their heavily edited videos, they should turn everything involving Planned Parenthood over to their state’s attorney general to get to the bottom of it.”

While some video footage cannot be released because of a court order, Planned Parenthood is calling for all video footage involving its staff that is not covered by the court order to be released immediately to California’s attorney general. The Center for Medical Progress is based in California, and several of the videos were shot there.

In a letter to congressional leadership yesterday, Planned Parenthood Federation of America provided substantial background about fetal tissue research, laws in this area, the organization’s medical guidelines, and new expert analysis showing that the videos were heavily edited and do not reflect actual events. Planned Parenthood follows all laws and medical standards, and nothing in the videos that have been released shows any violations of law or standards. All five states that have concluded investigations that were sparked by these videos have found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood.

On Background: notes on terminology:

It is inaccurate to refer to Planned Parenthood’s “national” fetal tissue donation work or “a program” at Planned Parenthood for fetal tissue donation. This is important work that Planned Parenthood affiliates in two states are involved in, and it is an option for patients at 1% of Planned Parenthood’s health centers. There is no national program or effort.

It is inaccurate to say that earlier videos released by this group showed Planned Parenthood staff members discussing “selling” tissue. Staff discussed voluntary, nonprofit fetal tissue donation – identical to programs at hospitals and universities across the country.

It is inaccurate to say that earlier videos showed Planned Parenthood staff members “haggling” about tissue donation “fees.” They are discussing standard reimbursements for costs, often in response to leading and aggressive questions.

It is inaccurate to say that “unedited” videos or transcripts have been released by this group, since no source footage has ever been provided. Every video, short or long, has been edited, often extensively and deceptively, and transcripts the group has posted are incomplete and erroneous.

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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.