See more of our coverage on the misleading Center for Medical Progress videos here.
A Texas Republican told a crowd gathered for an anti-choice rally at the state capitol Tuesday morning that Planned Parenthood’s practice of legally collecting fetal tissue for medical research is “no different than what happened in Nazi Germany.”
State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker), who in 2013 sponsored Texas’ highly restrictive omnibus anti-choice law, said she was proud to be leading efforts to “turn back Roe v. Wade.”
About 150 people attended the rally, held the day before a Texas senate committee is set to hear testimony concerning fetal tissue collection for medical research at Texas Planned Parenthood affiliates, none of which collect fetal tissue for medical research.
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Health and Human Services Committee Chair Sen. Charles Schwertner called the hearing after the release of a series of heavily edited videos produced by an anti-choice front group calling itself the Center For Medical Progress (CMP), which recorded Planned Parenthood officials and employees without their consent, likely illegally. CMP, which has ties to violent abortion opponents and religious extremists, is currently under investigation on allegations of tax fraud in California.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose office is “investigating” Planned Parenthood, sent his chief of staff Bernard McNamee to represent him at the rally by giving a brief speech in which he claimed that “over 57 million babies” have died “since the Supreme Court imposed abortion on America through Roe v. Wade.”
“We must accept these videos as a reminder of the horror that is abortion in America,” McNamee told the crowd. “These are dead babies.”
McNamee described legal abortion as “depravity.”
“One can only wonder at how this depravity affects the soul of this great nation,” he said, before thanking the crowd on Paxton’s behalf.
Professional anti-choice activist and former Planned Parenthood employee Abby Johnson also spoke at the rally, saying that “we will not stop until every Planned Parenthood is shut down,” as did Corey Tabor, an Austin pastor who runs a crisis pregnancy center.
Tabor said that it was a myth that abortion opponents did not concern themselves with babies and children after they are born, and that his crisis pregnancy center is proof. If pregnant women who come to the center take the classes he offers, he said, they can “earn vouchers called ‘baby bucks'” for items like cribs and diapers in order to learn the value of “earning.”
Wednesday’s Planned Parenthood hearing at the state capitol is scheduled for 9 a.m.; in advance of the invite-only testimony, lawmakers are reviewing a video “obtained by the Office of the Attorney General as part of their ongoing investigation into the activities of Planned Parenthood in Texas.”
Planned Parenthood requested the video from Schwertner’s office on Sunday, but were then referred to the attorney general. The organization then asked for, but has not yet received, a copy of the video from Paxton’s office, requested “in fairness to Planned Parenthood as the subject of the investigation.”
Paxton, who is under investigation on allegations of first-degree felony securities fraud in North Texas, is expected to testify at Wednesday’s hearing.
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