It took three videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors and executives discussing the culling and retailing of aborted baby parts, but Hillary Clinton finally managed to say that she found the videos “disturbing.”
For a professional politician like Clinton, whose every word is vetted by the vast right lobe of her brain, “disturbing” in the vernacular of less-scripted folk would be something like “horrifying” or “vile.”
But Clinton, whose base includes supporters of Planned Parenthood, as well as the mega-fundraising, pro-choice Emily’s List, tiptoed out on a limb. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it brave, but I also wouldn’t underestimate its significance. Even a passionately pro-choice presidential candidate has to pause at this juncture.
A tipping point may have already been reached, however, as people recoil from that which cannot be denied. Where once many could avert our eyes from the details of abortion, the details are now all we see and, thanks to the videos, hear.
In this excerpt from a fourth video, released Thursday, Dr. Savita Ginde, medical director and vice president of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains; Jess, a PP medical assistant; and two actors posing as fetal tissue buyers discuss a product of termination:
Jess: Head, arms, I don’t see any legs. Did you see the legs?
Ginde: I didn’t really look, but ...
A buyer: Yea, there it goes. Yup, you got all of them right there.
Jess: Another boy. Should I just put it ...
Ginde: Yea, just put it over here, I’ll wash it out. Yea, so you guys staying the night or are you leaving?
Buyer: Leaving ...
Ginde: Do you have a car?
Just another day in the baby parts biz. Just another boy.
The videos, made clandestinely over a three-year period by an anti-abortion group, are being released incrementally for sustained effect. It’s working.
Planned Parenthood, faced with a renewed push for federal defunding (to the tune of a half a billion dollars), has begun a public relations campaign of its own. As of Friday, two ads had been released, each featuring a breast-cancer survivor who says she wouldn’t have survived without the health care she received at PP.
But is this true? Negligibly.
Planned Parenthood offers only a manual breast exam that any woman can do herself, and it performs no mammograms. Rather, they refer women to other clinics. Thus, the ads are at least exaggerated if not purposely deceptive.
Also deceptive is the claim that defunding Planned Parenthood would strip women of health care. In fact, a Senate bill to defund Planned Parenthood, co-authored by Rand Paul and Joni Ernst, specifically stipulates that all of its public funding be reallocated to federally qualified community health centers, which provide all women’s health care services except abortion, without regard to a person’s ability to pay.
In other words, Planned Parenthood would still be able to provide abortions, since no federal funding can legally be used for abortion anyway. And abortion opponents would no longer have to worry that their tax money was going to an abortion provider, even though the funds can’t legally be used for abortion.
The Senate bill is expected to come up for a vote Monday evening, the final moment of the session before August recess and the only time Senate Democrats would allow the vote.
Meanwhile, as of Friday afternoon, pro-life Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine were trying to cobble together an alternative to the defunding bill. Collins has expressed concern that defunding would deprive women in her state of health care. But would it, really?
Maine has four Planned Parenthood installations and 135 community health centers that could accommodate women’s basic health needs. Throughout the country, community centers vastly outnumber PP, totaling 9,059 to 669. It would appear that women could still get the health care they need.
In final ironies in this theatre of the grotesque, PP doctors performing abortions often use sonograms so they can ensure that the imminently deceased baby’s organs aren’t damaged. Yet, Planned Parenthood has persistently fought “informed consent” laws requiring that women be shown their sonograms pre-abortion, arguing that abortion is hard enough without showing women what they’re about to destroy.
Some might even call it disturbing.
Kathleen Parker is a columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group.