The anti-choice Center For Medical Progress (CMP) has secretly and possibly illegally recorded footage of abortion providers that was subsequently deceptively-edited to smear Planned Parenthood. The resulting videos have been heavily promoted by Fox news, which even went so far as to suggest CMP should qualify for a Pulitzer Prize. However, CMP has been embroiled in a lawsuit with the National Abortion Federation based in part on the violation of confidentiality agreements it signed in order to participate in NAF's conferences under false pretenses.
On December 9, RHRealitycheck's Imani Gandy reported on the lengths CMP has gone to hide the funders and supporters of its campaign to smear Planned Parenthood, despite a court's determination that this information is necessary to determine if the anti-choice group was part of an illegal conspiracy.
[A]ny possibility that [Planned Parenthood] will be found to be in violation of policies regarding fetal tissue donation seems to be flickering out.
What remains, then, are questions about whether or not David Daleiden himself and the organizations he created--CMP and BioMax Procurement Services, the fake tissue procurement company--broke federal and state laws in connection with their crusade against Planned Parenthood, and who coordinated with Daleiden to perpetrate this alleged fraud.
These questions have been teed up in federal court in San Francisco, where a discovery battle has been raging between the National Abortion Federation (NAF) and Daleiden for several months.
"Discovery" is the process in litigation whereby parties to a lawsuit have to, essentially, lay their cards on the table and turn over information that the other side might need to support their claims or defense. And in the lawsuit that NAF filed against CMP, discovery is the process that could unravel a conspiracy involving multiple players all acting in concert to take down Planned Parenthood. Such players may include anti-choice extremists connected to groups like Live Action and Operation Rescue, in addition to some of the anti-choice politicians who jumped at the opportunity to hold congressional hearings and form investigative committees about Planned Parenthood's supposed dastardly deeds.
Within weeks of the first video release, NAF filed a lawsuit in federal court against CMP, BioMax, David Daleiden, Troy Newman (the founder of radical anti-choice extremist group Operation Rescue), and a number of thus far unidentified alleged other parties. Among other civil and criminal allegations, the lawsuit alleges a conspiracy to defraud NAF, perpetrated for the purpose of intimidating and harassing abortion care providers.
Days after NAF filed its lawsuit, it won a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking CMP from releasing additional footage or other materials that NAF alleges CMP fraudulently acquired at NAF meetings. The judge who issued the temporary restraining order, William Orrick, also ordered CMP and Daleiden to provide responses to NAF's discovery requests: testimony, documents, and other evidence that NAF needs in order to prove its case that the temporary restraining order should be converted into a preliminary injunction continuing to block the video release.
The most important information sought by NAF is probably the video recordings themselves, many of which were surreptitiously recorded at private NAF events in violation of the explicit nondisclosure agreement that CMP members were required to sign before they could gain entrance into NAF's annual meetings in 2014 and 2015. The confidentiality agreements are one piece of an extensive security protocol that NAF put in place to protect attendees from anti-choice terrorism.
Daleiden and CMP maintain that the TRO and any preliminary injunction that the court might issue constitutes "prior restraint," or pre-publication censorship, in violation of the First Amendment. Daleiden believes that the confidentiality agreement that he signed is invalid because in his mind, NAF is an accomplice in Planned Parenthood's baby parts trafficking scheme.
NAF has countered, and thus far Judge Orrick seems to agree, that First Amendment rights can be waived by contract, which is exactly what Daleiden did. And considering that no federal or state agency has found Planned Parenthood guilty of anything, Daleiden's continued insistence that he's an investigative journalist on a crusade to expose the illegal sale of aborted fetal tissue has begun to ring rather hollow.
A segment on Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier attacked the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by falsely claiming that a study from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the healthcare law hurt the economy by reducing jobs. Fox correspondent Rich Edson argued that a working paper from the CBO buttressed GOP claims that the ACA would cost American jobs. The CBO study was referring to provisions of the ACA meant to end the issue of "job lock." MSNBC's Steve Benen explained that job lock "describes a dynamic in which many Americans would like to leave their current jobs - to retire, to start a new business...but can't because they and their families need the health benefits tied to their current job. " As Media Matters reported in 2014, the "projected change is in the supply of labor, not the demand for labor." Thus, the "job lock" provision actually gives Americans more choices, they can chose to work less or even retire earlier than expected and still be covered. From the December 8 edition of Special Report with Bret Baier:
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From the December 7 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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A prominent anti-choice activist has written that fellow activists in the movement should examine their rhetoric and to speak in ways that would "reduce the possibility of further risk to human life."
On November 27, a gunman attacked a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, killing three and injuring nine. The alleged Planned Parenthood attacker in police custody, Robert Lewis Dear, is reported to have told police "no more baby parts" - which may have been a reference to repeated use of that term, and other heated anti-choice rhetoric that has been repeated extensively in right-wing media since release of the deceptively-edited videos smearing Planned Parenthood.
Extremist anti-choice Operation Rescue's president Troy Newman is also a board member for the Center for Medical Progress, which is behind the release of the videos. Rev. Rob Schenck is a former spokesman for the Western New York State affiliate of Operation Rescue, and wrote that he was haunted by the accusations of murder he made to Dr. Barnett Slepian, an abortion provider who was later murdered by James Kopp. Schenck is still an anti-choice advocate, but in a December 2 op-ed for Time, citing Slepian's widow partially blaming his rhetoric for the doctor's death, he wrote, "It is time for pro-life activists to examine the unintended consequences of our often over-heated rhetoric":
Throughout the 1990s, I served as an organizer and spokesman for the Western New York State affiliate of Operation Rescue, which staged demonstrations and sit-ins at abortion facilities around the country. Our local group was one of the most active and effective expressions of that movement.
A major focal point of our efforts was Buffalo GYN Womenservices, Inc., where Dr. Barnett Slepian worked as a physician. I led numerous large-scale blockades of the clinic, on several occasions personally confronting Dr. Slepian. I denounced him to his face for "the killing of unborn children," and accused him of "murder."
During those 10 years, I did a lot of soul-searching. My activism had taken a toll on me and on my family. I sought spiritual and psychological help in repairing my interior life and my relationships. Through that process, I discovered my own propensity for treating others with contempt. That's what I did with Barnett Slepian, and it was expressed in my language. Speaking about it now is a form of confession, and it's good for my soul.
It is time for pro-life activists to examine the unintended consequences of our often over-heated rhetoric. The Bible warns against using language as a weapon, "There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." (Proverbs 12:18) The past 15 years have demonstrated that there are plenty of James Kopps out there, and contemptuous words feed their murderous fantasies.
Being pro-life means pro-actively protecting and promoting the sanctity and dignity of every human life. Doing so includes the speech we employ and the way in which we deliver it. If there is any way to reduce the possibility of further risk to human life, pro-lifers like me should be the first to embrace it.
In the wake of the November 27 attack on a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood that left three people dead and another nine injured, Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker discussed the role previous, demonstrably false statements by Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina might have played in instigating the attacker. However, Parker's recap of the smear campaign against Planned Parenthood severely misstated the level of inaccuracy of Fiorina's fabricated charges against the organization.
From the December 2 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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From the December 1 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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Fox News host Megyn Kelly misleadingly defended videos smearing Planned Parenthood as well as previously debunked falsehoods about the videos pushed by GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.
During a November 30 segment on Fox's The Kelly File, Kelly discussed whether videos released by the anti-choice Center for Medical Progress influenced the alleged gunman who attacked a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, killing three people and injuring others. Kelly criticized assertions that "rhetoric" stemming from the anti-choice videos drove the shooter. She also defended Fiorina's much-debunked claims that those who watch the videos would see "a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain."
Kelly conceded that Fiorina "made a claim ... that was a bridge too far" by "sort of meld[ing] two different sets of videos." But she added "in Fiorina's defense, she did not see on those tapes, because it didn't exist, the live fetus having its organs harvested. The reason the fetus wasn't alive is because it had just been killed by a Planned Parenthood doctor."
This is an outright falsehood. None of the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress show an abortion procedure, a fact even the group's founder David Daleiden admits. The Center for Medical Progress did misleadingly insert in one of their videos an unrelated image from a woman's stillbirth and a separate undated, unsourced video from an unknown miscarriage. Neither of the inserted materials had any connection to Planned Parenthood nor with abortion procedures.
Kelly also questioned reports that the videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress were "debunked." She implied the reports of debunking stemmed exclusively from Fiorina's statements and claimed that "even ... Planned Parenthood's own investigation" hasn't proven the videos have been debunked.
In fact it's been thoroughly demonstrated that videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress, particularly the shorter edited videos that misleadingly used secretly recorded footage of Planned Parenthood employees, removed statements made by Planned Parenthood officials that would cut against the smears the anti-choice group wished to propagate -- that Planned Parenthood profits from the sale of fetal tissue and will change abortion procedures for that purpose.
Multiple state investigations and the Department of Health and Human Service have found no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood nor found any violations of federal fetal tissue laws, which also cuts against claims presented by the Center for Medical Progress' videos. In short, the videos do not depict what their creators claim they show: illegal activity on the part of Planned Parenthood involving fetal tissue donation or collection.
While much is not yet known about the motives of the shooter in Colorado Springs, he reportedly used the phrase "no more baby parts" in an interview with law enforcement following his arrest. "Baby parts" is a term used extensively by the Center For Medical Progress' videos and press releases. What is also known is that in September -- following the release of the videos -- the FBI reported an increase in attacks on reproductive health care facilities and stated that "it is likely criminal or suspicious incidents will continue to be directed against reproductive health care providers, their staff and facilities."
In the aftermath of a deadly shooting attack at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic, Bill O'Reilly defended his previous attacks on Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider who was assassinated by a gunman in 2009. O'Reilly, who repeatedly referred to the doctor as "Tiller the baby killer" and said there was a "special place in hell" for him, insisted he had "reported accurately" on Tiller.
On November 27, a gunman attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing three and injuring nine others. After being taken into custody, the suspect reportedly said, "no more baby parts," likely referring to a series of deceptively-edited videos released by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress, which allege that Planned Parenthood illegally sells fetal tissue. This was the first deadly anti-abortion attack since Dr. Tiller, who notably provided late-term abortions, was shot to death by an anti-abortion gunman in a church in 2009.
On the November 30 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly argued that Planned Parenthood "is in the baby body parts business and deserves much of the harsh criticism directed toward it." O'Reilly then exploited the recent shooting to defend his previous attacks on Dr. Tiller, claiming that after Tiller's assassination "some far-left loons blamed me. The truth is, I reported accurately on Tiller." During the same segment, O'Reilly claimed that "For $5,000 Tiller would terminate any pregnancy for any reason. He was nicknamed 'Tiller the baby killer' by organizations who objected to his gristly practice."
In fact, O'Reilly himself repeatedly referred to Dr. Tiller in his own words as "Tiller the baby killer," and as "Dr. Killer," a fact he later denied. In a 2006 anti-Tiller rant on his radio show, O'Reilly said, "And if I could get my hands on Tiller -- well, you know. Can't be vigilantes. Can't do that. It's just a figure of speech. But despicable? Oh, my God. Oh, it doesn't get worse."
What O'Reilly described as accurate reporting also included two segments from 2006 and 2007 during which The O'Reilly Factor producers "confront[ed] the doctor known as Tiller the baby killer" and his attorney. Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, an extreme anti-choice organization that "systematically harass[es]" abortion clinic workers and employs a felon who conspired to bomb an abortion clinic, wrote in his 2014 book Abortion Free: Your Manual for Building a Pro-Life America One Community at a Time that he had helped The O'Reilly Factor producer Jesse Watters "locate Tiller gassing his armored Jeep."
In March 2009, after Tiller was acquitted of charges of performing illegal late-term abortions, O'Reilly said that Tiller was "acquitted today of murdering babies ... there's got to be a special place in hell for this guy." In May of that year, Tiller was assassinated by an anti-abortion gunman while attending a service at his Kansas church. Weeks later, O'Reilly accused then-Salon editor Joan Walsh of having "blood on her hands" for defending Tiller, whose practice he described as "an abortion mill."
From the December 1 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered:
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Conservative commentator and Fox News contributor Erick Erickson wrote that he is surprised "more Planned Parenthood facilities and abortionists are not being targeted," while pushing the smear against Planned Parenthood that was reportedly mentioned by the alleged shooter of a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado.
Leading up to the fatal November 27 shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, numerous conservative media figures had used deceptively-edited videos from the Center For Medical Progress (CMP) to compare Planned Parenthood to Nazis, including Erickson's RedState blog, which compared the organization to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Following the shooting, right-wing media figures have continued attacking the organization.
In a December 1 blog post, Erickson wrote, "It really is surprising more Planned Parenthood facilities and abortionists are not being targeted," claiming the organization has "been killing children and harvesting the children's organs," a false smear similar to comments reportedly made by the alleged shooter. Erickson also misleadingly wrote the Colorado attack was "a rare event," despite the fact that there have been over 70 successful attacks on abortion clinics since 1997 and the frequency of attacks has increased since the release of the CMP videos. Erickson added that "the left" should "damn well better be glad Christians follow a faith that tells them to honor and pray for their leaders, follow the law, love everyone, and let the state and not the individual act as the sword bearer for God":
There is one surprising thing about the Colorado Springs shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic. It is that it is a rare event. According to NARAL, there have been eight people killed and seventeen injured in attacks on American abortion providers in twenty-five years. And they have been getting rarer: this is only the second such killing - after the 2009 murder of George Tiller - in this century. In Chicago alone over Thanksgiving weekend, there were eight people killed and twenty wounded.
It really is surprising more Planned Parenthood facilities and abortionists are not being targeted. It speaks to the pro-life movement being faith based and turning to their better angels.
Cecile Richards is about the closest we have come in the United States to Joseph Mengele. Under her leadership at Planned Parenthood, doctors have been killing children and harvesting the children's organs. In some cases, the children are born alive. In some case, whole children are born and then carved up.
This has all been caught on tape repeatedly. The media and left would prefer you ignore it. They'd prefer you believe the tapes were altered, edited, or fabricated. But we should not be ashamed of speaking the truth. It is the truth that Planned Parenthood sells baby parts and its employees were caught on tape talking about the value, the sale, and the altering of abortion procedures to preserve organs for sale.
Planned Parenthood butchers millions of children. Three people died at the Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado. Every single one of those millions plus three lives is a tragedy and outrage.
The left is desperate to compare the American pro-life movement to terrorists. They damn well better be glad Christians follow a faith that tells them to honor and pray for their leaders, follow the law, love everyone, and let the state and not the individual act as the sword bearer for God.
Given the public light shed on the atrocities committed by Planned Parenthood and both the government and media's turning a blind eye to it, dismissing it, laughing it off, or lying about it, it really should be surprising that Americans convicted of the need to stop the murder of children have not taken the law into their own hands.
The pro-life movement is most typically represented by men like Garret Swasey, who though pro-life and Christian, worked as a police officer to save lives in Colorado Springs, CO. We should all be thankful for that. We should all be thankful the pro-life movement respects the rule of law even when the lawmakers and media do not respect them.
Colorado Springs was a terrible tragedy. The shooter was a lunatic, not a pro-life activist. The left can engage in all the moral equivalence it wants comparing Christians to ISIS, but they know it is not true and should ponder what it would look like if it was true. The majority of this country considers itself pro-life and there are at least 90 million self-identified Bible believing pro-life evangelicals in the United States.
After the fatal November 27 shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood health care facility, The Washington Post's Dana Milbank called out prominent conservative media figures and Republican presidential candidates for their incendiary rhetoric about abortion, such as characterizing abortion providers as "subhuman killers."
Planned Parenthood came under renewed persecution from conservatives and Republicans after the anti-abortion group Center For Medical Progress released a series of doctored videos, claiming to show Planned Parenthood officials trafficking fetal baby parts. The controversy led to multiple government investigations that have shown Planned Parenthood didn't violate laws in its donation of fetal tissue to scientific research. Since the release of the Center for Medical Progress' videos, the FBI warned of increased attacks on reproductive health care facilities. This "uptick" in violence occurred around the same time congressional Republicans attempted to stop all government funding of Planned Parenthood.
Milbank's November 30 opinion piece highlighted Republican candidates' calls for "outrage" and conservative media figures comparing Planned Parenthood to Nazis after the release of the deceptively edited CMP videos, warning that unhinged individuals may use this rhetoric as "justification to contemplate the unspeakable":
In one sense, I agree with Cruz. The antiabortion movement did not kill those three people in Colorado Springs. The one responsible is the deranged gunman himself. But it's a different matter to ask whether the often-violent imagery used by conservative leaders on abortion is unwittingly giving the unhinged some perverse sense of justification to contemplate the unspeakable.
Just days before the shooting, Cruz trumpeted an endorsement from an antiabortion activist who once called killing an abortion doctor a "justifiable defensive action" and who leads a group, Operation Rescue, where a colleague did prison time for a conspiracy to bomb an abortion clinic.
The activist whose endorsement Cruz celebrated, Troy Newman, is also on the board of the Center for Medical Progress, which made the surreptitious Planned Parenthood videos that prompted Cruz and many other conservatives to accuse the organization of selling "baby parts" -- the phrase Dear allegedly used.
There will always be the irrational and the unstable. But when political leaders turn disagreements into all-out war, demonize opponents as enemies and accuse those on the other side of being subhuman killers, the unbalanced can hear messages that were never intended.
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who has flirted with the idea of using federal troops to block access to abortion, dismissed the Supreme Court's authority and said that we should "protect children instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they're parts to a Buick."
Rival Carly Fiorina said, incorrectly, that the Planned Parenthood videos showed "a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, 'We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.' "
Chris Christie talked of "the systematic murder of children in the womb to preserve their body parts," while Marco Rubio asked on Twitter: "Where is all the outrage over the planned parenthood dead babies?"
Leading conservative commentators Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh have likened Planned Parenthood practices to those of the Nazis, and Emily's List, an abortion rights political group, has tracked violent or apocalyptic images served up by presidential candidates: Rand Paul said he doesn't think "civilization can long endure" with abortion rights; Ben Carson likened those who have abortions to slave owners; Huckabee talked about the "holocaust" of abortion and compared the morality of Planned Parenthood to that of the Islamic State; and Rubio spoke of people being "pushed into abortions so that those tissues can be harvested and sold for a profit."
After the Colorado shooting, Donald Trump condemned the killing but, asked by NBC's Chuck Todd if he could "understand why people might react this way" to the Planned Parenthood videos, replied: "Well, there's tremendous -- there's tremendous dislike, I can say that."
And of course there's Cruz, who said Planned Parenthood committed "multiple felonies" and who recently signed a letter with other GOP lawmakers saying (falsely) that Margaret Sanger, a founder of the group that became Planned Parenthood, sought the "extermination" of black people.
From the November 30 edition of Premier Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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Since the release of deceptively-edited videos smearing Planned Parenthood, right-wing media have frequently compared abortion providers to the Nazis, referencing Auschwitz and the notorious experiments performed by Josef Mengele.
From the November 30 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered:
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