The Anatomy of a Smear

New smear videos aimed at destroying Planned Parenthood were selectively edited to make it appear the organization was collecting and selling fetal tissue from abortions for profit.  It’s possible to create videos using readily available editing software to create any message one desires.  Right wing groups have been fraudulently doing this for years.  They destroyed a great organization called ACORN and have targeted Planned Parenthood for some time.

Let’s look at this realistically instead of the sensationalized approach being taken by many on the right wing.  Planned Parenthood does NOT sell fetal tussue for profit.  Yes, some is collected to be used for medical research but Planned Parenthood only collects it’s costs for doing it and sending it to labs.

Even the videos purporting to show that the organization does this show no evidence for its claims.  The original footage of the edited videos are available for anyone to watch.

Protests have been organized by anti-choice crazies and calls to defund Planned Parenthood have been gaining steam.  Investigations into a practice no one has shown any evidence of are being threatened.

Let’s get real folks.  This is a hoax created by people out to destroy Planned Parenthood.  Only 3% of the medical procedures done by the organization are abortions.  The vast majority of women (and men) coming t its health centers are there for routine medical evaluations, exams and treatments.  One in five American women have used Planned Parenthood as a health care provider.  For many uninsured women Planned Parenthood is their only choice for health care.

Who are the people who recorded and edited this attack?  They are rabid anti-abortion extremists.  The Center For Medical Progress is a right wing group and one member of its Board is Troy Newman from Operation Rescue.  One of its members, Scott Roeder, assassinated Dr. George Tiller.   This organization has used violence against abortion providers including attempted bombings.

These people are violent extremists who will stop at nothing to destroy Planned Parenthood and their highly edited videos show that the organization has done nothing illegal though they have attempted through their selective editing to do so.

Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates (I was a Board member for quite a while though I no longer serve the organization) issued this statement:

The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) is an extreme activist organization whose sole mission is to

prevent women from accessing health care and to destroy Planned Parenthood.  The board members of

this group believe that abortion is “genocide,” and employ people who went to jail for attempting to

bomb a women’s health clinic. They are also connected with the man who murdered abortion provider

Dr. George Tiller.

CMP has used footage obtained through deceit and unlawful behavior, including possible violations of

state recording laws, federal tax laws and falsified state identification.  Then, they concoct wildly false

stories through selective editing.  We expect this video will be no different in that regard; however,

footage yet to come is expected to represent an extreme violation of patient privacy by including

footage of post-abortion fetal tissue neither patients nor health care professionals authorized be filmed.  

When your network decides whether to consider this story newsworthy, or whether to use any of this

footage at all, we urge you to keep this in mind: The extremists who entered Planned Parenthood labs

under false pretenses violated research protocol, and, worse, violated the privacy of patients

involved. Those patients’ privacy should not be further violated by having this footage shared by the

media.

The storage and examination processes that CMP used to get this footage are medically necessary. It is

necessary medical professionals ensure an abortion is complete so that patients do not get an infection.  

When tissue is donated for medical research, these steps are also necessary for the donations to be

completed.  It is also medically necessary that researchers evaluate the laboratory procedures of a

medical provider for safety standards and best practices.  

Some of the conversations and protocols that occur in medical settings and among professional peers

can sound jarring when taken out of context.  While this can be difficult to hear or watch, it should not

be used as an excuse to defund Planned Parenthood.

CMP gained access to Planned Parenthood facilities under false pretenses and filmed without securing

approval from the Planned Parenthood staff being filmed or the patients whose privacy is compromised

by this secret videotaping.  The material should not be aired.

Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Reacts to Election Results

(Disclosure:  I am a Board member of these organizations)

Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates and Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC issued this press release this morning:

Planned Parenthood: Obama Reelection Is ‘Resounding Victory for Women’

Washington, DC – President Obama’s reelection is a historic victory for women’s health, driven by a substantial gender gap, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates and PAC said Wednesday morning.

“This is a resounding victory for women. More than ever before, women’s health was a decisive issue in this election. Americans on Tuesday voted to ensure that women will have access to affordable health care and be able to make their own medical decisions,” said executive director Sari Stevens.

“This election sends a powerful and unmistakable message to members of Congress and the Pennsylvania legislature that the American people do not want politicians to meddle in our personal medical decisions, and that politicians demean and dismiss women at their own peril.”

Women’s health issues played a defining role in the presidential election, with preliminary data showing candidates and advocates nationwide aired broadcast ads 46,141 times highlighting the issues – a 350% increase in spending from 2008. Throughout the campaign, these issues have presented one of the starkest contrasts between President Obama and Mitt Romney. Obama vowed to fully implement the Affordable Care Act and ensure that millions of women get preventive care at no cost, require insurance companies to cover birth control, protect funding for Planned Parenthood and federal family planning programs, and protect access to safe and legal abortion. Romney took the opposite position on all of these issues, and then tried unsuccessfully to cast himself as more of a moderate on women’s health in the final weeks of the campaign.

In Pennsylvania, pro-choice candidates scored major victories with the stunning election of Rob Teplitz in the open seat of retiring Jeff Piccola, Steve Santarsiero’s crushing defeat of tea party challenger Anne Chapman, Matt Smith’s victory in the seat of retiring Senator John Pippy and Dave Levdansky’s defeat of far-right incumbent Rick Saccone in a moderate Western PA district.

In Senate District 15, Teplitz closed out the final two weeks of the race with a major TV ad buy highlighting opponent John McNally’s out of touch views on women’s health, specifically his opposition to legal abortion in cases of rape and incest. McNally went so far as to oppose sex education in public schools and protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation, positions highlighted in Planned Parenthood’s direct mail to a universe of 25,000 predominantly republican and independent women voters. “Rob trusts women to make their own health care decisions, and Rob won on Tuesday because voters want a strong advocate for women to represent them” said Stevens. Planned Parenthood PA PAC invested $50,000 in the Teplitz victory.

Representative Steve Santarsiero scored a resounding victory Tuesday night, proving once again that the voters of the 31st House District will not tolerate politicians with extreme, out of touch views on women’s health. His opponent, Anne Chapman, was the embodiment of that dangerous agenda. During the Republican primary, Chapman vowed to defund Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services – centering her campaign around limiting women’s access to health care and involving politicians in women’s personal health decisions. Chapman was so out of touch with the 31st district, she aligned herself with the Todd Akin view of women’s health through her opposition to legal abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Akin was another casualty of the Tuesday election, falling to Claire McCaskill after showing callous disregard for victims of rape.

Significant investments were also made on behalf of Matt Smith and Dave Levdansky who were elected Tuesday night, demonstrating that Western Pennsylvania voters will not tolerate politicians with extreme, antiquated views on women’s healthcare.

In Senate District 37, the republican candidate, D. Raja, would have gone too far in interfering in personal health care decisions best left to a woman and her doctor – including support for an intrusive Pennsylvania mandatory ultrasound bill. Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC communicated with a universe of 25,000 female voters about the out of touch views of Raja, and Matt Smith’s strong support for women’s reproductive health care.

In House District 39, Rick Saccone opposed such mainstream services as comprehensive sex education in public schools and Planned Parenthood’s family planning services. Saccone also opposed legal abortion even in cases of rape and incest – all positions highlighted in direct mail from PP PA PAC.

Additional victories for women’s health were in the election of Democrat Sean Wiley in the retiring seat of Jane Earll in Senate District 49, Mark Painter over anti-choice Tom Quigley in House District 146 and Kevin Deely over far-right incumbent Justin Simmons.

Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC worked hard to educate voters across Pennsylvania about what was at stake in this race for women’s health. The PAC spent a record $250,000 on state races, with the biggest investments on behalf of Matt Smith in Senate District 37 and Rob Teplitz in Senate District 15. Over 250,000 pieces of mail, 80,000 phone calls and 10,000 door to door knocks were generated through months of efforts.

Nationally, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Vote’s spent more than $15 million dollars to educate voters in key battleground states, employing television and radio ads, direct mail, online ads, tele-townhalls, and a variety of other methods.

·         All of the messaging throughout the Planned Parenthood Action Fund campaign focused on Mitt Romney’s positions in his own words – to repeal the birth control insurance benefit, repeal coverage for preventive care, eliminate the nation’s family planning program, defund Planned Parenthood, and overturn Roe v. Wade – contrasted with President Obama’s strong record for women’s health.

·         Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes also invested in 20 Senate, Congressional, and gubernatorial races to elect candidates with strong records and positions on women’s health.  

·         In the final four days of the campaign, the Action Fund and local Planned Parenthood advocacy organizations collectively ran neighborhood canvasses in 22 states and phone banking operations in 24 states. In just these four days, the groups made more than 845,000 calls, knocked on more than 100,000 doors, and organized more than 2,000 volunteers in key states including Virginia, Ohio, Montana, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.

“Planned Parenthood Action Fund fought hard in this campaign to protect the programs and policies that millions of Americans, especially women, rely on to lead healthy lives,” Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates and PAC said. “We will focus on working with lawmakers at all levels, from all political parties, to ensure that millions more Americans can get the health care they need, while Planned Parenthood health centers provide the essential health care that one in five American women has relied on Planned Parenthood for at some point in their lives.”

Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its 74 affiliates nationwide are underscoring their commitment to helping women, men, and young people lead healthy lives with a new tagline “Care. No matter what.” The refreshed logo and new tagline, which went live earlier today on websites and social media properties, are part of Planned Parenthood’s ongoing effort to reach millions more patients with quality, affordable, confidential health care.

“As a trusted and essential provider of health care in every part of the country, Planned Parenthood stands ready to serve the millions of people who will soon have access to health care under the Affordable Care Act – to provide millions more with care, no matter what,” Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates and PAC said.

We targeted five House and Senate races this fall.  Tom Corbett, our chief fundraiser, helped us by motivating thousands of women and their supporters throughout the Commonwealth to contribute to our efforts this year.  I thank him for that.  As you watch the results Governor just close your eyes.

In State House race 31 Steve Santasiero was challenged by a fervent anti-chice candidate who made Planned Parenthood the issue in her primary.  We dropped a significant amount in support of Steve and he won resoundingly.

In the 161st House race in Delco we supported Larry Demarco heavily with phone banking, canvassing and direct mail.  He lost 53-47.

Dave Levdansky seems to have won his seat back from Rick Saccone in western PA’s 39th House district.  Saccone won’t be missed in Harrisburg.

In the 157th House race in Chester County we provided a modest level of support for Paul Drucker who lost 52-48.

In the State Senate we were victorious in backing Rob Teplitz in the 15th and Matt Smith in the 37th.

All in all it was a good showing for women’s reproductive health rights.  We dropped significant amounts aiding both Senate candidates.

ACLU Expects Lawsuit Over SB 732

In a conference call this afternoon about State Senate Bill 732 I asked Andy Hoover of ACLU-PA if his organization will sue if the bill becomes law and he said he definitely expects such litigation.  He commented that lawyers are currently examining the issues involved.  Also on the call were Meghan Roach of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates (of which I’m a Board member), Jen Boulanger of the Allentown Women’s Center, Sari Stevens of Planned Parenthood and Dr. Beverly Dale of Pennsylvania Clergy for Choice.

Ms. Roach, a lawyer and Public Policy Advocate for Planned Parenthood Advocates, said the Supreme Court, in Planned Parenthood v Casey, said laws whose effect are to restrict access to abortion are unconstitutional.  SB 732 would result in the closure of all 20 abortion clinics in Pennsylvania.  Its regulations are so restrictive as to make it impossible for them to comply.

Gov. Corbett ran on a platform of putting Pennsylvanians back to work but each month of his term more have lost their jobs and the legislature has kept itself busy on bills having nothing to do with job creation.

Planned Parenthood Internships Available

Are you committed to insuring women’s reproductive rights are safe and legal?  Do you believe comprehensive, age appropriate, fact based sex education is a priority?  Would you love to spend this summer working for Planned Parenthood and helping us elect pro choice candidates to the Pennsylvania House and Senate?  Do you want a pro choice Governor?  Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates (note:  I am a member of the Board of Directors for this organization) is searching for interns to help us organize voters in support of our endorsed candidates.  If interested please contact our state office via the website or email administration@pppamail.org.  

A description of the program and requirements is available by clicking “there’s more:”

Want to dedicate your summer to help elect pro-choice candidates in Pennsylvania? With a 70% anti-choice legislature and all 253 seats up for election, Summer 2010 is the perfect time to be a Campaign Organizer with Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC – one of the most trusted, pro-choice, political organizations in Pennsylvania.

Who We are: Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC (PP PA PAC) is the independent, non-partisan, political arm of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates. PP PA PAC is funded solely by private contributions, with the explicit purpose to elect pro-choice and pro-family planning state level candidates to office. PP PA PAC also encourages supporters of all parties to become involved in the political process through the funding of on the ground field activities to benefit endorsed candidates.

How You Will Create Change:

Campaign Organizer interns will spend ten weeks building support for pro-choice State House candidates across Pennsylvania.  Interns will be trained on organizing tactics which are proven to win elections: door-to-door canvassing, predictive dialing phone banks, community outreach at summer concerts and festivals and online activism. Your work in this internship will bring the voice of the Pennsylvania pro-choice delegation into the voting booths and into the State House and Senate!  Campaign organizers will work in pairs with campaign staff of a PP PA PAC-endorsed pro-choice candidate running for office.  There will be several days of campaign training followed by six to ten weeks working on a pro-choice campaign.  Interns will be required to create a field plan, set measurable goals, and report regularly on their progress toward their campaign goals.

Qualifications

• Commitment to reproductive health and rights for all Pennsylvanians, and to Planned Parenthood’s mission

• Desire to mobilize Pennsylvania voters around women’s health issues through community engagement and grassroots organizing tactics

• Outgoing team player, independent worker, who is well organized and who can self motivate

• Must have access to a car

• Computer skills, data entry, online organizing through Facebook, Twitter, other social media

• Attention to detail

What’s In It For You:

Campaign Organizer Interns receive extensive training and on-the-ground experience with voter mobilization.  Interns who have participated in Planned Parenthood’s internship programs have gone on to work for political campaigns both locally and nationally, and gained positions at well-respected progressive non-profit organizations.  In addition to being a significant leadership development opportunity, the grassroots organizing internship is also available for academic credit.  The intern is responsible for ensuring credit will be accepted and acquiring all necessary paperwork.  

Interns will live in or near the communities where they will be working.  Planned Parenthood will assist with finding a supporter host family for out-of-state interns.  Gas/travel stipend will be provided for transportation to and from housing and internship sites.  One weekly meal provided for intern pairs.

How to Apply:

Online: Go to our website and click on internships. Fill out the online form, and email a letter of interest and current resume to administration@pppamail.org.  Please indicate which region of the state desired for an internship: Western, Central, Northeast, Southeast.