The Fifth Circuit of Court of Appeals has vindicated the undercover videos that exposed the illegal practices of Planned Parenthood and has cleared the way for states to defund the abortion provider.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission stripped Planned Parenthood of its status as an approved Medicaid provider after watching the sting videos by activist David Daleiden and his Center for Medical Progress. Those tapes showed Planned Parenthood employees talking about selling the organs of their abortion victims, bragging about how they get around laws forbidding partial birth abortion, and other illegal and unprofessional activity. (Go here for the videos and transcripts.)
At the prospect of their being cut off from Texas taxpayer money, Planned Parenthood sued. They claimed that the tapes were misleadingly edited and taken out of context. They had hired a Democratic investigative firm, Fusion GPS–remember them? the same group responsible for the phony anti-Trump dossier?–that came to that conclusion, though they merely repeated Planned Parenthood talking points and did not explain what the full context was that would change the meaning of what was said on camera and that would exonerate the employees.
Remarkably, virtually all of the news media parroted the claim of “deceptive editing” in dismissing the findings of Daleiden, who himself was criminally charged for making the tapes (though he was later acquitted). Read this for an account of how journalists promoted the Planned Parenthood talking points about the videos with no independent investigation of their own.A lower court also bought the Planned Parenthood line, ruling in its favor. But now the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has overruled that decision. The lower court did not consider the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s reasons for dropping Planned Parenthood funding.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals noted that the Texas Office of the Inspector General had independent experts study the tapes. The finding was that the tapes were NOT deceptively edited and that they DID constitute evidence of misdeeds on the part of Planned Parenthood!
From the Ruling:
The record reflects that OIG had submitted a report from a forensic firm concluding that the video was authentic and not deceptively edited. And the plaintiffs did not identify any particular omission or addition in the video footage. . . .
The OIG further concluded, based on the videos, that the Provider Plaintiffs at a minimum violated federal standards regarding fetal tissue research and standards of medical ethics by allowing doctors to alter abortion procedures to retrieve tissue for research purposes or allowing the researchers themselves to perform the procedures. The plaintiffs’ briefing with regard to the substance of the discussions contained in the videos (as opposed to their trial witnesses’ post hoc justifications) is curiously silent.
I’m sure the abortion industry and their political minions will complain about the conservatism of the court. But the Fifth Circuit appeals court is not particularly pro-life. Earlier, the justices stopped Louisiana’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood on other grounds. But now the way is cleared for Texas and other states to use the Daleiden tapes as reason to cut off Planned Parenthood funds. How about prosecuting the organization for trafficking in fetal tissue and other illegal activity?
Photo: Screen-Shot-2015-07-14-at-11.59.16-AM. Videos available at Center for Medical Progress.