Cohen & Conyers: Planned Parenthood Allegations Are Unsubstantiated by Deceptive Video

July 16, 2015
Press Release

[Washington, DC] – Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) released the following joint statement in response to the decision to open an investigation into allegations that Planned Parenthood altered procedures to “sell” fetal tissues for profit:

“House Leadership is using a sensationalist and heavily-edited video as an opportunity to attack one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality health care for women.  Chairman Goodlatte’s suggestion of wrongdoing is wholly unsubstantiated by the video in question.

“The video does not demonstrate that Planned Parenthood is ‘selling’ fetal tissue.  In fact, many portions of the full video—edited out of the nine-minute version that House Republicans have circulated—directly contradict the allegation that Planned Parenthood has violated federal law.

“In the coming days, it is our hope that Chairman Goodlatte will reconsider his position, and that the House Judiciary Committee will turn to more pressing and substantive issues.”

Background

The nine-minute video at the center of these allegations has been significantly edited to deceive audiences.

  • The unedited version of the video is nearly three hours long, and contains several sections that directly contradict the allegations against Planned Parenthood.  For example, the Planned Parenthood official in the video says that “[n]obody should be ‘selling’ tissue.  That’s just not the goal here.”
  • The full video captures a discussion about reimbursing affiliates for “shipping” and other overhead costs associated with the lawful tissue donation process.  The edited video splices out eight minutes of this conversation in an attempt to imply that Planned Parenthood is violating federal law.
  • The unedited transcript shows the Planned Parenthood official referring repeatedly to “tissue donation,” not sale, during the conversation.  Those references are edited out of the nine-minute video.

The video contains no evidence to support allegations of illegal activity at Planned Parenthood.

  • The nine-minute video and accompanying press release claim that Planned Parenthood is in violation of federal law that prohibits the sale fetal tissue (42 U.S.C. § 289g-2).  Neither the edited video nor the unedited footage contain evidence to substantiate that claim.
  • The New York Times reports that the central allegation against Planned Parenthood is contradicted by the full, video. 
  • The Washington Post writes that the full video actually “provides reassuring evidence of how Planned Parenthood affiliates operate.”  The Planned Parenthood official in the video explains how consent for donations is obtained only after a woman has made the decision to have an abortion, how many women are motivated to donate tissue because of the good that can come from medical research, and how there is no difference in treatment between women who choose to donate tissue and those who do not.           

Planned Parenthood remains one of the nation’s leading providers of quality, affordable health care.

  • In the United States, 2.7 million men and women visit Planned Parenthood affiliates for health care services and information every year.
  • Nearly 80 percent of Planned Parenthood clients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancy.  The organization provides nearly 400,000 Pap tests and 500,000 breast exams each year.  Only three percent of the health services provided by Planned Parenthood are related to abortion.
  • Planned Parenthood is the only source of family planning for many of the women it serves.
  • One in five women in the United States has visited a Planned Parenthood health center at least once in her life.