Washington Post’s Dana Milbank Explains How The GOP Have Discredited Their Own Anti-Planned Parenthood Investigation

Washington Post’s Dana Milbank Explains How The GOP Have Discredited Their Own Anti-Planned Parenthood Investigation

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The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank pointed out Republicans discredited their own investigation into Planned Parenthood after Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) attended an anti-Planned Parenthood protest while leading the congressional investigation into whether the organization illegally profited from the sale of fetal tissue, a claim created and pushed by the anti-choice Center for Medical Progress (CMP) in deceptively edited videos. Congressional Republicans convened the first hearing of Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives on March 2 to investigate the ethics and morality of using fetal tissue for research. During that hearing the majority GOP panel relied on research and materials stemming from the baseless allegations from Center For Medical Progress. Panel members have also been fed information from the radical anti-abortion group Protest ABQ, a group with a history of harassing abortion providers and has connections to Operation Rescue, another radical anti-abortion group with a history of extreme rhetoric. Rep. Blackburn claimed the videos released by CMP “revealed that something very troubling is going on related to fetal tissues research.” In an April 20 Washington Post op-ed, columnist Dana Milbank highlighted how congressional Republicans undermined their own investigation and the appearance of impartiality after Rep. Blackburn appeared in a protest against Planned Parenthood, “the very entity she is supposed to be investigating. Milbank wrote that whatever “legitimacy” the panel had left, had been “undermined by Blackburn”:

Marsha Blackburn isn’t one to worry about appearances.

The Tennessee Republican didn’t make any pretense this week of being impartial with the committee she chairs, the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, commonly known as the Planned Parenthood committee.

On the eve of her panel’s Wednesday’s hearing, Blackburn went over to Georgetown University to participate in a protest against Planned Parenthood, the very entity she is supposed to be investigating. According to the Right to Life organization, she gave a speech at a gathering called “Life-Affirming Alternatives to Planned Parenthood,” part of a series of events in opposition to Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards’s speech at Georgetown on Wednesday.

Then Blackburn showed up at her committee hearing the next morning and proclaimed, “My hope is that both parties can work together.”

That was probably never going to happen — and it certainly isn’t now that the secret videos that justified the committee’s creation have been discredited as doctored.

[...]

GOP leaders, in naming Blackburn to lead the Planned Parenthood panel, had hopes of defusing the Democrats’ complaint that the probe was another offensive in the Republicans’ “war on women.” That charge has been easier to make with Donald Trump leading the Republican presidential race — and with several House Republicans on Monday making the extraordinary gesture of voting against a ceremonial bill honoring the first woman to be elected to Congress.

But whatever legitimacy the select panel had left after the videos were discredited has been undermined by Blackburn.

[...]

GOP leaders, in naming Blackburn to lead the Planned Parenthood panel, had hopes of defusing the Democrats’ complaint that the probe was another offensive in the Republicans’ “war on women.” That charge has been easier to make with Donald Trump leading the Republican presidential race — and with several House Republicans on Monday making the extraordinary gesture of voting against a ceremonial bill honoring the first woman to be elected to Congress.

But whatever legitimacy the select panel had left after the videos were discredited has been undermined by Blackburn.

Despite a Texas grand jury clearing Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing and indicting 2 CMP employees based on the fraudulent nature of the smear videos, House Republicans moved forward with their special committee to investigate abortion service providers and fetal tissue donations.

 

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