Okay, it's time for our other regular feature, the Clown Award, given as always for an act of meritorious stupidity.
You know, of course, about The Video, the one made secretly and possibly illegally, showing Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services for Planned Parenthood, discussing the transfer of tissues from aborted fetuses for use in medical research, supposedly with representatives of a human biologics company but who actually were anti-choice activists with the Center for Medical Progress, a bogus outfit headed by serial offender David Daleiden, who has been trying to bring down Planned Parenthood for years. He was previously associated with the infamous Operation Rescue, which opposed abortion rights with what were politely called "aggressive tactics" but actually involved harrassing, threatening, and often enough spitting on and assaulting women trying to enter clinics. After that, he was with Live Action, which also used undercover videos to accuse Planned Parenthood clinics of everything from racism and manipulative counseling to sex-selective abortion and infanticide.
Two things about the new video became clear almost immediately. One, release of the video was part of a coordinated effort: Two members of the grossly misnamed House Pro-Life Caucus, Reps. Tim Murphy and Trent Franks, admitted they had seen the video weeks earlier but had kept silent about it until now. When he was asked by Congressional Quarterly why he did that, Murphy struggled for an answer and then abruptly ended the interview, saying "This interview didn't happen."
The other thing that became clear is that the cut-down version of the video initially released was deceitfully edited in a lying attempt to make it look like Planned Parenthood is making profits off the illegal sale of body parts, deceit that became patently obvious in the full video. The same just as quickly proved to be true on July 21 when the same collection of anti-choice wackos released their second secret video of a Planned Parenthood executive.
Simply put, there was nothing illegal, nothing unethical, in those videos and the right-wing anti-choice, anti-women's rights, bozos are trying to use an "ick" factor about medical procedures to twist legal, ethical, tissue donation into some evil scheme by Planned Parenthood to get rich. They are serially-lying scum.
So this week, the Clown Award goes to: Planned Parenthood!
Why? Because during the group's official response to the first video, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards apologized for the "tone" of Dr. Nucatola's comments. Specifically, she said:
Our top priority is the compassionate care that we provide. In the video, one of our staff members speaks in a way that does not reflect that compassion. This is unacceptable, and I personally apologize for the staff member's tone and statements.No, no, no! You don't apologize when you have done nothing wrong! That is idiotic and only serves as a basis for legitimizing false accusations as well as having the entirely predictable result that half or more of the headlines would not be "Planned Parenthood rejects phony charges in phony video" but would be - and were - "Planned Parenthood apologizes!"
Dr. Nucatola was not "compassionate?" She was not dealing with a client, for pity's sake! She was - so she thought - dealing with bio-medical professionals who would be used to the type of somewhat detached language and attitudes most medical professionals adopt in order to do their jobs with unclouded judgment. (There is a reason surgeons are advised not to operate on members of their own families.) In that context, there was nothing wrong with her tone, just like there was nothing illegal or unethical in her words.
Apologizing was a stupid and lame move. Unlike in boxing, there is no "rope-a-dope" strategy in politics and "duck and cover" just means you are losing on points. What's required is full-throated counter-attack. Planned Parenthood's enemies are serial liars with roots in violent attempts to deny women health care through everything from blockades to bombings, from mob pressure to murder, and the failure of Planned Parenthood to label them as such and denounce them as such is foolish and self-defeating.
Planned Parenthood of America: You are an honorable organization doing valuable work and I stand with you. But this week, you are clowns.
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