Anti-abortion extremists who are releasing heavily edited, deceptive videos about Planned Parenthood have acknowledged that their latest video included false and misleading information. They posted a clarification to their YouTube page yesterday that an image they suggested was from an abortion was actually a photo of a stillborn fetus.
The image was used in a video released Wednesday (the seventh video released by anti-abortion activists over the last month) in which a woman who claims she used to work at a medical research organization makes a number of outrageous assertions about Planned Parenthood’s practices – none of which is substantiated in any way. While she talks about a fetus she claimed to have seen after an abortion in the course of her work, an image of a fetus is shown on screen. In fact, that image is of a Pennsylvania woman’s stillborn son; it was taken two years ago and used in this week’s video without her permission. In a Facebook post yesterday, the woman (whose name Planned Parenthood is not publishing, to protect her privacy) confirmed that the photo was her son, that it was used without her permission, that she believes it is an illegal use of the image, and that she plans to take no action about it. By the end of the day yesterday, the anti-abortion group that released the video posted a note on its YouTube page saying that the video includes an image of the woman’s son and linking to a media article with the image.
“It’s been clear all along that these videos are unreliable and deceptive, and now even the extremist group releasing them has acknowledged that their latest video includes false information,” said Eric Ferrero, Vice President for Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “These videos are a fraud, intended to deceive the public in order to advance an extreme political agenda. This is just one of many deceptive edits and false claims in these discredited videos.”
“This fraudulent smear campaign is falling apart on closer inspection,” Ferrero said. “These anti-abortion extremists apparently violated multiple laws to perpetrate this fraud. They weren’t documenting wrongdoing – they set out to create wrongdoing and catch it on tape, and when they couldn’t even do that, they edited videos to try to mislead and deceive the public.”
Several states have launched investigations or inquiries into Planned Parenthood’s practices as a result of the videos — and not one investigation has shown any wrongdoing. Today, Pennsylvania became the fifth state in two weeks to conclude an investigation and announce that there is no evidence that Planned Parenthood has engaged in wrongdoing.
Planned Parenthood affiliates in two states help women who wish to donate fetal tissue for lifesaving medical research. Research using fetal tissue has led to numerous medical breakthroughs throughout history, including the polio vaccine.