Democrats Are Finding It A Bit Harder To Defend Planned Parenthood

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Jul 30, 2015 6:05 PM
Democrats Are Finding It A Bit Harder To Defend Planned Parenthood

The videos released by the Center for Medical Progress allegedly showing Planned Parenthood illegally engaging in the selling and procuring of body parts from aborted babies has reignited the abortion wars, especially late-term abortions. Pretty much everyone is against late term abortion, and 60 percent of American women are for abortion bans after 20 weeks into a pregnancy. This isn’t a controversial position, the undercover investigation by the Center for Medical Progress is forcing Democratic presidential candidates to respond to the grisly procedure they’ve captured on video, and it’s got them a bit tongue-tied, according to Dave Weigel of the Washington Post. For starters, this isn’t your typical “war on women/women’s health” narrative. This is about the illegal harvesting of baby’s body parts:

Clinton's "disturbing" comment, made in an interview with New Hampshire's Union Leader, landed poorly. It did not matter that Planned Parenthood's CEO Cecile Richards had apologized for the conversations in the video sting. The Democratic frontrunner, seemingly, had been forced into a defensive crouch. "She needs to clarify what her [point of view] is, and articulate it strongly and without apology," former Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt told MSNBC's Irin Carmon. "I just think that when candidates get to the firing line of a campaign they get thrown off balance and waffle."

Clinton's closest competitor, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (R-Vt.), fared no better -- at first. On July 17, when the videos broke, he cited Richards's statement and averred that "the tone was terribly wrong" in the fetal tissue conversation. "He has not gone out of his way to defend the group," wrote Mother Jones reporter Molly Redden in an article shared nearly 3000 times on Facebook.

Only today [July 29] -- before the Senate GOP press conference -- did Sanders release a new statement about the coming vote to defund Planned Parenthood. "The current attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood is part of a long-term smear campaign by people who want to deny women in this country the right to control their own bodies," said Sanders. "Let’s be clear: Federal funding for Planned Parenthood does not pay for abortions. The vast majority of government funding that Planned Parenthood receives is through Medicaid reimbursements."

Yet, that didn’t seem to cut it with the pro-abortion zealots. Weigel quoted feminist writer Katha Pollitt who wasn’t all too happy about Sanders’ later statement since he didn’t outright defend abortion.

“It's a little mealy-mouthed, no? … As I read it, he doesn't defend abortion specifically. He says Planned Parenthood provides gyno care for millions of poor women."

Granted, this is one of many fronts in the cultural battle over abortion. Pro-abortion activists claim we’re a pro-choice nation, but that’s hardly accurate. Over the years, the pendulum has swung in either direction; it’s a highly volatile subject regarding polling. Yet, pro-life activists are probably somewhat frustrated given that the majority of Americans support the Roe v. Wade decision, but also support restrictions on the act. The rates of approval drop like a rock when you discuss late-term, or third trimester, abortions. Now, we have the macabre dynamics of possible illegal body parts sales that are occurring under the umbrella of Planned Parenthood. Either way, it’s a public relations nightmare­–or it should be–for this organization. Nevertheless, their allies in the media have done a good job in omitting coverage of the investigation, opting to discuss how some dumb lion was killed by a Minnesota dentist with a bow and arrow*.

According to Katie Yoder at the Media Research Center, the Big Three–CBS, NBC, and ABC–have devoted 30 minutes covering poor, dead Cecil the Lion, while giving the Planned Parenthood videos a meager 11 minutes and 13 seconds of airtime over the course of two days.

Guy wrote yesterday that PP has hired a crisis PR firm that’s circulating memos to members of the media begging them to not report on the videos.

Exit Question: Who got Cecil’s skin? James Earl Jones looked really good wearing lion back in 1988.

Last note: there’s the tired talking point that the Center for Medical Progress videos are heavily edited. The full videos are listed on their YouTube channel as well.

UPDATE: It seems Hillary had a "come to Jesus" moment.

*That’s awesome!