Eighth state clears the nonprofit and condemns political attacks on its patients and services
WASHINGTON, DC — Officials in eight states have now cleared Planned Parenthood affiliates of all wrongdoing, with the announcement this week by Washington State officials that they found no evidence to support allegations against Planned Parenthood in Washington. This is the latest in a growing number of states to find that the allegations against Planned Parenthood are baseless — laying bare that the campaign launched by anti-abortion politicians and extremists to attack the essential health care Planned Parenthood affiliates provide is blatantly political. In addition, seven other states have declined to even investigate Planned Parenthood ---- citing a lack of evidence of any wrongdoing.
In his decision, Attorney General Bob Ferguson wrote: “Unfounded allegations against Planned Parenthood are troubling. They seek to discredit the organization and divert resources away from patient services, making it more difficult for Washington women to exercise their constitutional rights. We conducted a review and found no evidence of any violations and no basis for further review.”
Washington joins officials in seven other states in clearing Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing: Pennsylvania, Georgia,Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri and South Dakota. In addition, Iowa, Delaware, Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Colorado have declined to launch investigations because there is nothing to substantiate claims of wrongdoing.
Investigations continue in a number of states, including many that have failed to uncover any wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood: Nebraska state investigators found no evidence of wrongdoing after inspections of Planned Parenthood clinics. In Kansas, an open records request from the Associated Press revealed that an ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practices is equally unfounded. In Ohio, local media reported that after close to two months of investigation, officials had yet to produce any evidence of wrongdoing.
In Florida, the Scott administration has been called out for “scrubbing” a press release and lodging patently false accusations against Planned Parenthood. At both the federal and state level, news reports have confirmed that politicians are working in coordination with anti-abortion extremists behind the smear campaign, including officials in Texas and in Congress (read more here and here).
Following is a statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Planned Parenthood is the most trusted women’s health care provider in this country. We have the highest professional standards, and we take swift action if we are ever aware of an instance where those standards aren’t met. States across the country continue to find evidence of Planned Parenthood’s high standards and officials are finding these extremist attacks baseless.
“Eight states have now cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing, and seven more have said they won’t launch investigations in the first place. We’ve always said that these extremists’ claims would fall apart upon closer inspection, and that’s exactly what’s happening. The more the public and various officials look into this, the more they’re seeing that Planned Parenthood has done nothing wrong.
“Extremists who oppose Planned Parenthood’s mission and services are making outrageous and completely false claims. They are engaged in a fraud, intended to deceive the public in order to advance an extreme political agenda. We will of course cooperate with legitimate investigations, but it is clear that the public does not want elected officials spending time and money looking into patently false claims that are simply designed to advance an extreme anti-abortion agenda.
“At Planned Parenthood, our focus will continue to be on serving our 2.7 million patients across the country who depend on our health centers for basic health care, no matter what.”
Following is a statement from Karl Eastlund, CEO, Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho:
“Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho assists patients who wish to donate tissue. Our medical practices and guidelines in this area are clear, and we do this important work just like other high-quality health care providers — with full, appropriate consent from patients, under the highest ethical and legal standards, and with no financial benefit for the patient or Planned Parenthood. Virtually every person in this country has benefited from research using fetal tissue- as indicated by the New England Journal of Medicine (one of the top medical journals in the world), and we proudly stand by our commitment to offer this as an option to our patients. We should honor and respect women and families who make the decision to donate tissue for scientific and medical research, not demean and attack them or the providers who carry out their wishes, based on entirely unfounded allegations.”
Anti-abortion politicians and extremists have called for investigations on fetal tissue based on heavily edited videos that have been discredited. In September, a team of forensic experts found that the videos “significantly distort and misrepresent” actual events. While fetal tissue research is important and critical for helping develop treatments and cures for serious diseases, Planned Parenthood affiliates in just two states (representing one percent of all Planned Parenthood health enters) are involved in fetal tissue donation for medical research.
A number of states have tried — and failed — to block access to care at Planned Parenthood, citing the thoroughly discredited claims in this smear campaign. In recent weeks, courts have blocked efforts to bar patients from accessing health care and education at Planned Parenthood health centers in Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, and Utah. Texas politicians have also threatened to bar patients from accessing care through Medicaid at Planned Parenthood health centers.
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 media office: 212-261-4433
November 18, 2015