Fresh off the heels of the Center for Medical Progress releasing video of a former Planned Parenthood worker discussing organ harvesting is the possibly of a fourth video. This time it won’t be on the Internet, it will be in a Texas Senate committee. A spokesperson for Senator Charles Schwertner told The Texas Tribune state Attorney General investigators were the ones who were given the video.
[[ Committee members and staffers are ]] currently reviewing the video and gathering all the relevant facts.
The AG’s office isn’t saying where they got it, but Planned Parenthood’s Houston-area clinic thinks it was from Center for Medical Progress. They said Sunday people from BioMax Procurement Services talked to their researchers in April.
They provided fake identification to enter our health center under the guise of discussing research with clinical research staff. We suspect that they were secretly taping those conversations and that those interactions in our facility will be included in another of their highly edited and deceptive videos.
It’ll be interesting to see how long the video is this time. Planned Parenthood thinks it could be about eight hours which would be absolutely amazing. The first two videos are a combined four hours long. If Planned Parenthood’s estimate is right, then it could show tours of the facility, talks with researchers, and who knows what else. It’s also possible Planned Parenthood is purposefully overestimating the time so they can claim, “Oh the video was edited again!”whenever it shows up. It’s also possible the video the AG’s office has isn’t from Center for Medical Progress at all. Investigators were at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston, so they may have gotten video there. The fact Center for Medical Progress released the latest video today, could lend credence to the idea that whatever the state of Texas has didn’t come from them.
The committee will meet to examine the business practices and regulatory structure of Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas, and to investigate whether state or federal laws are being broken by Planned Parenthood and/or its affiliates in Texas in regards to the donation and/or sale of fetal tissue. The committee will consider recommendations to strengthen regulations on abortion providers, including further restrictions on the sale of fetal tissue by these entities.
Invited testimony only.
The “invited testimony only” part is pretty important because it means the committee is trying to keep the hearing under control. More than likely they’ve learned the lesson of the 2013 legislative session when people in the Texas Capitol gallery were able to keep a vote on the 20-week abortion ban from happening. It will also keep the hearing from going on too long, especially if they’re going to show a long video. One amusing anecdote about the video. Planned Parenthood wanted to watch it and asked the Senate for it. The Senate told them to go to the AG’s office, which obviously isn’t going to show it. That’s pretty smart on the Texas GOP’s side. It means there’s the chance Planned Parenthood could be caught off guard on certain questions and not get the chance to give friendly interviews or release YouTube statements.
The biggest question is what can Texas do about the Planned Parenthood? They’ve defunded almost all of it after taking cash from the family planning program and the state’s breast and cervical cancer screenings program. There are still a couple clinics in the state and perhaps Texas could try to shut them down if they can determine partial birth abortions were happening there (which would also be a violation of state law). Texas could also give the data from both investigations to other states looking to defund Planned Parenthood or even to the federal government. Not that Congress will actually do anything, as Dustin Siggins pointed out here at HA. Even if Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn claimed a vote will happen this week.
The Senate will vote on a defund Planned Parenthood bill as soon as this week
— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) July 27, 2015
This is what happens when the government gets involved in health care, whether it’s Obamacare, Medicaid, or Medicare. The federal monster gets so large it becomes impossible to do any sort of defunding, even if most of Congress wants it to happen. Of course, it’s also up to the Republican leadership to actually act like leaders, which we all know they don’t exactly do. At least the Texas Senate is. Which may or may not mean something in the end. But if Texas and other states are able to defund Planned Parenthood it will be interesting to see how the federal government reacts. It really could go either way.