Women’s Law Project Executive Director Carol E. Tracy recently spoke out about the misleadingly edited videos published by the ironically named fake organization “Center for Medical Progress” on The Rick Smith Show. Amid a whirlwind of media about the videos, Smith asked Tracy to provide an overview of the situation.
What follows is a lightly edited excerpt of the transcript:
“There [is] a group of anti-choice activists that created a fake company. [They] spent three years recording conversations with Planned Parenthood employees trying to entrap them into saying that they profit from selling fetal tissue. And it didn’t work! It was a complete stunning failed sting operation.
Planned Parenthood doesn’t profit from selling fetal tissue, [so] they couldn’t get them to say it on camera. Instead, they edited two and a half hours of film into a short clip to try to make that impression.
Everybody from Factcheck.org at the University of Pennsylvania to the New York Times debunked the misleading editing, but we still have these lawmakers running around using this propaganda as yet another excuse to try to defund Planned Parenthood and attack women’s access to critical, important healthcare.
It’s bizarre, to have this fake company led by people connected to a clinic bombing hawking a doctored video making false claims about their longtime target of Planned Parenthood. We know, and the public knows, that Planned Parenthood serves millions of women, giving them basic healthcare, access to contraception, cervical screenings, and STI information and testing. One in five American women have visited a PP for healthcare…
It’s a failed sting, it’s [part of] an ongoing attack. A poll that’s out today shows the public gets this. And they’re going to keep doing it, and keep doing it to try to keep this issue in the news. I think some of the conservatives don’t know what to do with themselves now that it looks like they lost on the LGBTQ issues, so they’re swinging back once again to attack women and women’s right to have access to constitutionally entitled healthcare…
What’s been lost in this discussion, what’s been totally lost in this, is the importance of fetal tissue research. You know 640,000 people a year would be dead from polio according to UNICEF, if it were not for the fetal tissue research that discovered the polio vaccine? It’s being used to try to develop treatments for Parkinson’s, for Alzheimer’s, for all kinds of medical issues. There’s an incredible important social good connected with that, and of course for the women who are having abortions. The fetal tissue research also comes from spontaneous abortion, miscarriages and stillbirths. Hospitals donate fetal tissue.
It’s regulated, it’s not something done for profit to the extent it’s done at Planned Parenthood or anywhere else in PA it’s closely regulated… To make Planned Parenthood this constant target of ire and the dismissal of understanding that so many women need and use Planned Parenthood for a variety of healthcare issues, it’s a disgrace. I’m absolutely convinced the public will not stand for it.”
Despite the fact that this propaganda attack targets Planned Parenthood and scientific and medical research at large, scientists have been conspicuously missing from the conversation. A recent article in the New York Times reveals an explanation for this vacuum: Scientists say they’re scared to speak out because they have received death threats for conducting research on fetal tissue.
This well-coordinated and well-funded campaign of targeted harassment has reached new heights when scientists are forced to hire security to guard them at their labs. Fetal tissue research has been common for decades, and is critical to medical advancement.
When life-saving, essential research taking place at the world’s most foremost medical research centers such as the National Institutes for Health results in death threats and hired-gun security, it is time to recognize something is terribly wrong with this picture, no matter what your personal beliefs are about abortion.
We will not be deceived or bullied. We stand with Planned Parenthood.
To request an interview with Carol E. Tracy or another Women’s Law Project attorney, contact Tara Murtha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1974, the Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center devoted to women’s rights in Pennsylvania.