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Anti-Choice Front Group Continues Planned Parenthood Misinformation Campaign

Teddy Wilson

An anti-choice organization behind a series of videos spreading misinformation about Planned Parenthood, posted a fifth attack video to its YouTube channel Tuesday, failing once more to include clarifying comments from a Planned Parenthood official.

See more of our coverage on the misleading Center for Medical Progress videos here.

The Center for Medical Progress, an anti-choice organization behind a series of videos spreading misinformation about Planned Parenthood, posted a fifth attack video to its YouTube channel Tuesday, failing once more to include clarifying comments from a Planned Parenthood official in its edit of the footage.

The video is packaged in CMP’s now-familiar style of heavily edited soundbites during meetings with Melissa Farrell, the director of research of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, in an office, laboratory, and restaurant.

The beginning of the video includes footage of Abby Johnson during the Texas state legislative hearings into the CMP videos. Johnson claimed during the hearing that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast made up to $120,000 per month from aborted fetal tissue.

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Johnson is the former clinic director of the Bryan, Texas Planned Parenthood clinic, a shuttered affiliate clinic of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. She left her position as director of the clinic in 2009.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) released a statement that said the video was “repulsive and unconscionable.”

“Selling baby body parts is the furthest thing imaginable from providing women’s healthcare, and this organization’s repeated and systematic disrespect for human life is appalling,” Abbott said. “The State of Texas is aggressively investigating this matter and must use all available legal remedies to address this depraved conduct.”

However, according to the full 119-page transcript, Farrell says that her organization doesn’t participate in fetal donation programs. “I don’t know about the other Texas affiliates, at our affiliate, I mean we don’t have any ongoing fetal donation,” Farrell said.

The statement, which echoes previous statements by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, was not included in the edited attack video.

David Daleiden, the project leader of CMP, said in a statement that the video shows Planned Parenthood leadership discussing payments for aborted baby parts; he did not make any connection to the actual costs of tissue donation.

“Planned Parenthood’s system-wide conspiracy to evade the law and make money off of aborted fetal tissue is now undeniable,“ Daleiden said. “Anyone who watches these videos knows that Planned Parenthood is engaged in barbaric practices and human rights abuses that must end.”

The video was recorded by operatives posing as representatives from a human biologics company who met with Farrell at the headquarters of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in Houston, according to CMP. The video appears to be heavily edited, with sharp jumps in the footage and timestamps appearing in some parts of the video but not in others.

CMP had not yet released the unedited footage at the time of publication.

CMP operatives throughout the edited video attempted to have Farrell explain how her organization could get “creative” with abortion procedures to ensure that the most amount of fetal tissue remains intact.

“Some of it is really outside, some of it will be happenstance, because you know sometimes as the procedure’s happening, you know the procedure itself, for the removal, is generally standardized,” Ferrell said in the video. “Just depending on the patient’s anatomy, how many weeks, where it’s placed in the uterus, we’re going to potentially have some that we’re going to be able to do more or less intact, and some that will not be.”

Later in the video CMP operatives ask Farrell about how a contract could be structured to make “compensation for certain specimen types higher.” Ferrell then explains that more complicated procedures require more time and administrative cost.

“Obviously, the procedure is more complicated,” Farrell said in the video. “So that anything that we integrate into that procedure, without having you cover the procedural cost, is going to be higher. So anything of a higher gestational age, there’s more opportunity for complication, there’s more administrative time involved.”

What is not included in the edited video, but included in the full transcript, were Farrell’s comments regarding per-specimen compensation.

“I’m very particular about working with the language of the budgeted contract to where the language is specific to covering the administrative costs and not necessarily the per-specimen, because that borders on some language in the federal regs that’s a little touchy,” Farrell said.

The videos have sparked outrage directed at Planned Parenthood from Republican legislators and anti-choice activists.

Lawmakers have used the videos to justify calling for Congress to ban Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds for services unrelated to abortion. State lawmakers in Texas held a hearing Wednesday to investigate the issue, even though Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas don’t collect fetal tissue for donation in medical research.

Anti-choicers across the country have compared Planned Parenthood to everything from drug dealers to Nazis.

A host of lawsuits have been filed against CMP since the release of the front group’s first video. Judge William Orrick of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted a temporary restraining order Friday against the release of video materials obtained at meetings held by the National Abortion Federation. Judge Orrick extended his order until August 27.

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