Four Times Cecile Richards Made Planned Parenthood Look Even Worse During the Congressional Hearing

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards (photo credit: David Shankbone, CC BY 3.0)
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards (photo credit: David Shankbone, CC BY 3.0)

On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards sat before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to respond to questions from the members regarding the organization’s federal funding.  This was Richards’ first testimony since the Center for Medical Progress released the undercover videos that show Planned Parenthood executives discussing how they sell baby body parts.

Rather than clearing up any misconceptions about Planned Parenthood that could be giving us an unfair view of their practices, however, Richards succeeded in making her company look even worse—an accomplishment which at this point is an incredible feat. Here are four times Cecile Richards assisted the case to defund Planned Parenthood:

1.) When she explained the difference between “procedures” and “services.”

In this video, Richards corrects the obviously misinformed Rep. Cynthia Lummis that Planned Parenthood actually doesn’t do mammograms, a false claim that Obama and other Democrats have used over and over to support the company.

She then kindly clarifies an often misinterpreted statistic about Planned Parenthood’s operations: that abortions only make up 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services—a broad and ambiguous term that they define as any “discrete clinical interaction.” At the same time, abortions account for 86 percent of Planned Parenthood’s profit.

As Rep. Lummis wanted to know, “how do you explain this massive disparity between the amount of revenue you collect from abortion and the fact that you only report 3 percent of your services being abortion?”

Well if we look at Planned Parenthood’s procedures, we’ll find that in 2011, abortions made up 92 percent of Planned Parenthood’s actual pregnancy services (abortion, pre-natal care, and adoption referrals).

Again, we couldn’t have put it better than Rep. Lummis: “Why do you need federal dollars? You’re making a ton of dough.”

2.) When she clarified her apology for selling baby parts.

Fortunately for Rep. Jim Jordan, Richards’ inability to answer his question, “which statements in the video were you apologizing for,” was the only response we needed.

In response to the disturbing video of Planned Parenthood’s medical director at dinner discussing the dismemberment and sale of aborted babies, Richards apologized for Dr. Nucatola’s “tone and statements” and, more specifically, as she clarified in the hearing, for making these statements in a non-clinical setting.

Yet the setting or tone in which Dr. Nucatola discussed Planned Parenthood’s actions does not change the actual fact of what the company does. Thankfully, Richards acknowledged that if Planned Parenthood were actually selling baby parts, there would be no need for an apology for the doctor’s statements…so she just avoided Rep. Jordan’s question altogether.

Again, Richards’ honesty and helpfulness in getting to the bottom of this case is commendable. She even goes out of her way to point out that the undercover videos are “highly edited,” which should inspire us all to do our civic duty in the pursuit of truth and watch all twelve hours of un-cut footage, including the reporters’ car rides and trips to the bathroom.  But I didn’t have plans this Friday night, anyway.

3.) When she referred us to AUL’s comprehensive report for more information.

Even though Rep. Jason Chaffetz wasn’t too sure where his chart showing the declining number of cancer screening and prevention services came from, Richards was kind enough to inform us that it was taken from Americans United for Life, the nation’s premier pro-life legal team.

Since I don’t have plans for Saturday night, either, I have plenty of time to study up on the “tremendous growth in Planned Parenthood’s abortion business and taxpayer funding, even while the organization’s overall client base and non-abortion services decline!

4.) When she provided us with some comic relief.

Since Richards had been so enlightening up to this point in the hearing, she must have been just kidding around when she told Rep. Ron DeSantis that she had never heard of a child surviving an abortion attempt. Either that or she missed the testimonies last Wednesday of two women who survived abortion. She also apparently missed that there are over 44,000 abortion survivors in the United States today.

And we all seem to have forgotten about this 2013 case.

Yes, Ms. Richards, you have been extremely cooperative.

Forget the politicians. Our thanks go out to Cecile Richards for her compelling case to defund Planned Parenthood.

Anna Pfaff works for American Principles in Action.