This summer, a group of anti-abortion extremists launched a video attack on Planned Parenthood and affiliate fetal tissue donation programs in which only 1% of our health centers nationwide participate. So who’s behind the video smear?
It’s a group calling themselves the “Center for Medical Progress” (CMP). Some of those connected to CMP are also connected to the most militant wing of anti-abortion extremists — people who’ve peddled in lies and harassed women and doctors for years. Here are the 11 most important facts about them.
1. They heavily, HEAVILY edited those videos.
CMP’s videos include dozens of instances where content is edited out but the conversation appears seamless — in fact, there are at least 42 of these splices in the first five videos alone. But that’s not all:
Many times, critical context is left out of the videos — including Planned Parenthood staff members repeatedly saying that there is no “profit” from tissue donation, and should not be; that tissue donation programs must follow the law; and that substantial changes to medical procedures would not occur.
False quotes are attributed to Planned Parenthood staff members — including a discredited, provocative quote that the Washington Post used in an editorial, although it later issued a correction.
Even the “full footage” was edited: Longer videos and transcripts that have been released after the short, sensationalized videos are also heavily edited. The group releasing these videos has not released full, unedited source footage, making it impossible to know the full extent of the deceptive editing.
But don’t take it from us. Take it from the New York Times:
“The Center for Medical Progress video campaign is a dishonest attempt to make legal, voluntary and potentially lifesaving tissue donations appear nefarious and illegal. Lawmakers responding by promoting their own anti-choice agenda are rewarding deception and putting women’s health and their constitutionally protected rights at risk.”
2. They lie, and their campaign is a fraud.
The extremists behind the videos are making false claims to deceive the public as part of an agenda to ban abortion, and prevent women from accessing reproductive health care. They created a network of lies that has been both discredited and disproven.
But people aren’t fooled. A poll by Hart Research Associates shows strong public support for and trust in Planned Parenthood in the wake of these outrageous political attacks. Just look at this great infographic from Rewire to see CMP's web of lies.
3. This was not journalism.
CMP’s videos are not “investigative journalism” as CMP claims. The videos are harassment against Planned Parenthood doctors and privacy violations against its patients. And their efforts appear to have been coordinated with politicians and others across the country, all for the purposes of acquiring content to wage a false and inflammatory campaign to tell lies about Planned Parenthood.
4. They created a phony company.
Nearly two years ago, David Daleiden and other co-conspirators created what we now know to be a phony business called “BioMax” that held itself out as a legitimate tissue procurement organization. They then embarked on a campaign of corporate espionage with Planned Parenthood and its affiliates as their target. The sham business used the false pretense of procuring tissue to be used in research to gain access to Planned Parenthood facilities and staff.
5. They may have broken the law.
Not surprisingly, CMP has reportedly broken the law and politicians have called for it to come under investigation. The group’s activities include possible violations of state and federal tax laws, laws prohibiting recording without consent, as well criminal laws that prohibit the use of a false state identification card.
Meanwhile, PlanneRewire - http://rhrealitycheck.org/a-network-of-lies/
d Parenthood is under investigation from politicians who caved to the anti-abortion movement’s pressure — but all of the completed investigations into Planned Parenthood have come up with nothing. Indeed, from all that is known today, the only people who have potentially broken laws are the extremists who have been hounding women and Planned Parenthood doctors for years.
6. They terrorize women and doctors.
The people behind CMP have close ties with organizations and individuals who attempted to firebomb abortion clinics and threatened the physical safety of doctors who provide abortion. This history of harassment and intimidation is staggering. And it’s all part of the long-term pattern of unlawful harassment and illegal activity aimed at intimidating providers to the point of shutting them down.
7. Their ringleader is fixated on attacking access to safe, legal abortion.
According to the Daily Beast,
“David Daleiden has been trying to destroy Planned Parenthood for nearly his entire life.”
Now at 26 years old, he has been involved with the pro-life movement for 11 years, since the age of 15. In that short time, he has created a name for himself within the pro-life extremist movement (on and off line). This includes his heavy involvement with Lila Rose’s discredited group, Live Action, which has targeted Planned Parenthood and is also known for its videos attacking the organization ACORN.
This anti-abortion activist posed as a biomedical research company representative on a video he misleadingly edited to misrepresent Planned Parenthood staff he targeted. His video attacks have involved gaining access to Planned Parenthood health centers or offices under false pretenses, and taping staff without their knowledge.
8. They’re tied to a group whose members committed extreme acts of violence.
Another man involved in the fraud is Troy Newman. He's one of the board members of CMP. He is also the leader of Operation Rescue, whose members may have ties to the man who murdered Dr. George Tiller in his church in Wichita, Kansas, in 2009, after Operation Rescue ran a multi-decade harassment campaign against Dr. Tiller.
According to Breitbart,
"Troy Newman, president of the pro-life group Operation Rescue, helped hatch the plan with Daleidan more than three years ago."
Operation Rescue also employs Cheryl Sullenger, an anti-abortion fanatic who was found guilty of attempting to bomb a family-planning clinic in 1988. She served two years for her crime in federal prison.
9. Their group is a reinvention of Live Action.
“The Center for Medical Progress appears to be nothing more than a front organization for the anti-abortion group Live Action.”
Live Action is “a group of propagandists who roll out lurid and titillating videos” to push their anti-abortion agenda. Daleiden became Live Action’s director of research when the group was working on smear videos starring Live Action founder Lila Rose, who similarly misrepresented herself to Planned Parenthood staff and went on to release heavily edited videos full of misdirection.
10. They’re not getting off the hook.
On July 31, the National Abortion Federation (NAF) filed a lawsuit against BioMax, CMP, Daleiden, and Newman and accused them of violating criminal and civil statutes and breaking agreements with NAF. The effort resulted in a ruling that blocked CMP from releasing some of the footage acquired through this unlawful behavior.
11. It’s political, of course.
Let’s call this attack campaign what it really is: part of a decade-long campaign of deceiving the public, making false charges, and terrorizing women and their doctors.
Despite their lies and unlawful tactics, these anti-abortion extremists have allied themselves with politicians in Congress and state legislatures. Some of whom were given access to the videos weeks and even months before they were released to the public. Now, these politicians are using the videos as excuses to call for defunding Planned Parenthood.