Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), a senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, stated his vehement opposition to the biased, partisan inquiry into the recent fetal tissue donation allegations against Planned Parenthood.
“Clearly, the majority is not interested in a serious inquiry into the accusations made against Planned Parenthood,” said Congressman Nadler. “This hearing is a farce. Despite the heavily edited videos, there has been no evidence uncovered that Planned Parenthood does not comply with the law. The people who made these videos are liars in a long line of liars.”
The following is the text of Congressman Nadler’s statement as prepared for delivery at the hearing:
“Mr. Chairman, before I begin my questions, I would first like to express my dismay at the title given to this hearing: ‘Planned Parenthood Exposed: Examining the Horrific Abortion Practices of the Nation’s Largest Abortion Provider.’”
“That title alone is enough to call this hearing a farce. Clearly, the majority is not interested in a serious inquiry into the accusations made against Planned Parenthood. They have already decided that the organization has been ‘exposed’ for its ‘horrific practices.’ It is wrong and beneath this committee to state its conclusion without a shred of evidence and before we have even heard a word of testimony.
“Perhaps that explains why not a single representative from Planned Parenthood is here to testify about its practices. It may also explain why the Chairman has chosen to ignore the request from Ranking Members Conyers and Cummings to suspend these one-sided investigations until they include the so-called Center for Medical Progress, which made the videos about which we have heard today.
“Of course, if we really wanted to hear about the practices at Planned Parenthood, we could fill this room with women and families who have found health care, counseling, and support at Planned Parenthood. We could have hours of testimony on the compassionate medical professionals who work at the organization, the lives saved by Planned Parenthood’s cancer screenings, or the families impacted by Planned Parenthood’s comprehensive health services.
“But the majority is not interested in hearing that testimony.
“If you clear away the partisan rhetoric, it appears the Chairman has called this hearing to examine how Planned Parenthood participates in fetal tissue donation, which Congress made legal in 1993 by codifying the guidelines of a Blue Ribbon Panel convened by the Reagan Administration.
“In the twenty years since Congress enacted the laws, fetal tissue and cells have been used to make groundbreaking medical discoveries on birth defects, developmental diseases, and organ development. The polio and rubella vaccines were developed through fetal tissue research. Fetal tissue has been grafted into children and adults to reverse neurological disorders or repair spinal cord injuries. If you want to find the cure for diabetes, stroke, degenerative eye disease, sickle cell anemia, Huntington’s disease, or for hundreds of other life-threatening illnesses, fetal tissue and cells are a necessary part of the research toolkit.
“The laws surrounding fetal tissue donation are simple and clear. Planned Parenthood has consistently and clearly demonstrated that the affiliates who participate in fetal tissue research, which represents about 1 percent of all 700 Planned Parenthood heath centers, comply with these laws just as they comply with thousands of other federal, state, and local laws and regulations every single day.
“That should be the conclusion of this hearing. Planned Parenthood complies with the decades-old laws and regulations surrounding fetal tissue research, and despite the media storm of the last several weeks, there has been no evidence uncovered that Planned Parenthood does not comply with the laws.
“But instead, before any inquiry, this committee has already declared Planned Parenthood guilty. They have chosen to believe a series of heavily-edited videos created by a man who spent years fraudulently, possibly even illegally, attempting to infiltrate Planned Parenthood with one simple goal – eliminating access to safe, legal abortion for millions of women.
“The Committee has chosen to capitalize on these sensational, unsubstantiated claims about Planned Parenthood. We are once again ignoring the major issues facing this country to spend the Committee’s time shaming women who exercise their constitutionally-protected right to abortion and spurring on anti-science rhetoric about fetal tissue donation and research. The goal here is clear – to cut off access to life-saving health care for millions of women, and access to safe, legal abortion, by eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood across the board.
“Sadly, this is not the first time Congress has been drawn into this charade. But every time, it follows the same pattern – extremists try to entrap Planned Parenthood into unethical or illegal conduct and make sensationalized accusations. But in no time at all, the claims are debunked and investigations find no wrongdoing. This pattern is being repeated here today.
“In 2012, anti-abortion groups released videos claiming to show Planned Parenthood was conducting sex-selective abortion. And it was not true.
“In 2011, anti-abortion groups released videos claiming to show Planned Parenthood condoned sex trafficking and statutory rape. And following the release of those videos, Republicans in Congress tried to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood and nearly shut down the government. But of course, Planned Parenthood had already reported the actors claiming to be sex traffickers to the FBI. So once again, not true!
“The list goes on. In 2010, videos falsely claimed women were pressured into abortion – not true; 2009 false claims about clinics avoiding parental consent – not true; 2002 false claims about statutory rape – not true.
“And for a real sense of déjà vu – in 2000 videos were released claiming Planned Parenthood was participating in illegal tissue sales. But of course, when the man who made those videos came before Congress, he totally recanted his testimony, and an FBI investigation did not lead to any charges against Planned Parenthood.
“What is true? It is true that the people who made these videos are liars in a long line of liars. It is true that if they had a shred of real evidence that Planned Parenthood was breaking the law, they would have taken it to a state or federal prosecutor right away. But they didn’t. It is true that if the Chairman had even a bit of real confidence in the man who made these videos, you would have brought him here to testify before this committee. But you didn’t.
“The fact is this is all a farce designed to shame women for exercising their constitutional right to an abortion, scare abortion providers into ending their services, and eliminate options for women to access health services.
“I hope the majority comes to its senses and realizes they have fallen into the same sad pattern we have seen for more than a decade.”
Click here for a link to a video of my statement.