No apologies expected

Last week on the back page of this newspaper, Nevada Right to Life ran a full page ad asserting, “Due to recent undercover videos, Planned Parenthood is under investigation for harvesting and selling baby body parts from abortions they perform and for changing their abortion procedures to obtain ‘more intact specimens’.”

This week, following a two-month investigation, Planned Parenthood was cleared by a Texas grand jury investigating those videos. The same grand jury indicted two people involved in producing the videos for a felony count of tampering with a government record and a misdemeanor count for violating Section 48.02 of Texas law, “Prohibition of the Purchase and Sale of Human Organs.” Paradoxically, one of the group members was charged with the crime they tried to bring against Planned Parenthood.

Earlier, a Kansas state medical board had also cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing. And a report commissioned by Planned Parenthood itself indicated the videos had been edited to misrepresent events. Both these developments were known well before the ad was placed in the RN&R.

The groups and individuals involved in producing the videos also face a Planned Parenthood lawsuit filed on Jan. 19.

The July 2015 announcement in Texas of the existence of the videos, in which anti-abortion activists posed as purchasers of fetal tissue or parts, resulted in anti-abortion politicians across the country rushing to judgment. In Nevada, Attorney General Adam Laxalt opened an inquiry in August and closed it in December. Presidential candidate Ben Carson virtually ran against Planned Parenthood for a while, his poll numbers falling after it became known the videos had been doctored and that Carson himself had done fetal tissue research.

Among those taken in were the governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general of Texas. It was the lieutenant governor who ordered the grand jury investigation. Investigations were also launched in Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, and South Dakota. As the videos unraveled, several states declined to mount investigations, but a number of states have taken action to cut off Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood.

The investigations found the group that produced the videos, the Center for Medical Progress, was associated with an array of right-wing players such as vaccination denialists and anti-ACORN activists. CMP is under investigation by the California attorney general’s office.