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Highlights of the House Judiciary Committee Hearing: “Planned Parenthood Exposed”
Mary Kate Knorr
September 10, 2015
On Wednesday, September 10th, at 9:30 central time, the House Judiciary Committee held the first part of the two-part hearing, “Planned Parenthood Exposed: Examining the Horrific Abortion Practices at the Nation’s Largest Abortion Provider.” The House Judiciary Committee issued the following takeaways from the hearing:
“This is the first public hearing in the ongoing investigation being conducted by the Committee, and the Committee has indicated that it intends to hold Planned Parenthood accountable for its alleged actions.
Planned Parenthood advocates do not address the atrocities within the Center for Medical Progress’ videos and have no defense for the horrific acts described in the videos.
Planned Parenthood receives over half a billion dollars from the federal government and Congress has an obligation to the American taxpayer to investigate its disturbing activities.
The Supreme Court’s upholding of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2007 acknowledges the horrors of late-term abortions.
The House has already passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit abortions, with certain limited exceptions, when women are entering the sixth month of pregnancy and the Senate is urged to take up this legislation.”
Some of the highlights from the hearing were the opening statements from Judiciary Chairman Representative Bob Goodlatte and Civil Justice Subcommittee Chairman Representative Trent Franks.
In his opening statement, Chairman Goodlatte made clear that Planned Parenthood was being investigated because the organization is receiving a large amount of federal funding, and therefore it is Congress’s business and duty to address the matter. He also said “I hope that this hearing helps to shed light on some of the nation’s darkest corners, so that the atrocities, which some would very much like to dehumanize, can be exposed for what they really are.”
Next, Chairman Franks, in an extremely heartfelt and passionate opening statement, exclaimed, “The President and Congress have not uttered one single syllable against the atrocities of Kermit Gosnell or Planned Parenthood…for God sake, is this who we truly are?” He asked, “What is so liberating about brutally and painfully dismembering living, helpless, little human babies?”
Please be aware that Chairman Franks was verbally descriptive in the following statement.
Multiple democratic congressmen rose to defend Planned Parenthood, trumpeting the overused and entirely false claim that Planned Parenthood is the only source of quality healthcare for women, defunding it would “hurt those who rely on Planned Parenthood services”- words taken directly from Congressman John Conyers (MI-13).
Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-39) also made the following astounding and ridiculous statement: “For me, Planned Parenthood is a part of my DNA. It is one of the finest organizations in this country.”
After the opening statements, expert testimonies were given by each of the witnesses.
The first witness was Ms. Gianna Jessen, a woman who survived her mother’s abortion. She told the gruesome story of how her mother, who was seven and a half months pregnant, went to Planned Parenthood and was advised to receive a late term saline abortion. In this abortion procedure, Ms. Jessen was literally burned alive within her mother’s womb for 18 hours. Remarkably, Ms. Jessen survived and was born alive. She said that at that moment the abortionist would have killed her, had it not been for a nurse who called an ambulance and sent her to a hospital. During her testimony, Ms. Jessen asked Planned Parenthood, “If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine? …Is my life less valuable?”
The next witness to testify was Mr. James Bopp, Jr., General Counsel for the National Right to Life, who previously served on the Biomedical Ethics Advisory Committee to Congress and the Human Fetal Tissue Transplantation Research Panel for the National Institutes of Health (the Government organization that oversees all biomedical research programs and supervises their conduct within the U.S.). In his expert opinion, he stated that Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue procurement has violated federal law, moral and ethical principles, and Planned Parenthood’s own guidelines. He explained that they run a “search and harvest mission” for profit, and trying to hide the violation behind the “loophole” of reasonable payment for procurement costs.
Next, Ms. Priscilla J. Smith, Senior Fellow and Director of the Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice at Yale Law School, gave her testimony. She opened by saying the videos were an “attack on the right to abortion” and part of a “long campaign.” She also stated that the Partial-Birth Abortion Act was “deceptively campaigned for.” Chairman Goodlatte asked Ms. Smith if she believed that a D&E abortion, in which a baby can be alive while being dismembered, was a humane way to die. Shockingly, Ms. Smith answered saying it was humane and protected the woman and her health. She also stated later, “My definition of a baby is a baby who’s born.”
The last witness, Ms. Melissa Ohden, gave her testimony to the Committee. She also survived her mother’s abortion. Even after being born alive, her grandmother, who was a nurse in the room, demanded she be left to die in the hospital. If it wasn’t for two other nurses who fought to obtain medical care for Ms. Ohden, she would not have lived. Ms. Ohden spoke as the voice for the children who have died by the hands of Planned Parenthood. She noted that if she had been born alive during the abortion in a Planned Parenthood clinic rather than a hospital, she would not be here today.
Following this, a question and answer session between the congressmen and witnesses began. Several Congressmen had the opportunity to make their own statements on the issue as well. Congressman Trey Gowdy (SC-04) convinced the pro-abortion Ms. Smith to agree that she would support funding other organizations that provided “high-quality” care for women, instead of Planned Parenthood:
Sadly, one of our own Illinois Congressmen, Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-04,) came to the defense of Planned Parenthood. During the hearing, he actually thanked Planned Parenthood for its work, accrediting its efforts to 500,000 less pregnancies in the previous year. Gutierrez said, “I’m not for abortion, but I do honk that I’m pro-choice.”
Nevertheless, the effort to expose the numerous atrocities of Planned Parenthood and end its taxpayer funding is not over yet. The second of the two-part hearing has yet to take place. Please stay tuned to our Facebook page and our blog to hear more information about the next hearing.