Planned Pan of Planned Parenthood Conservative politicians jump on smear campaign of health provider

Planned Parenthood has never been a stranger to haters and politicians on the conservative Christian right. Recently, one group made a bold yet unsurprising move in an effort to destroy Planned Parenthood’s image amongst it pro-choice supporters.

The Center for Medical Progress, a seemingly legitimate organization that describes itself as composed of “a group of citizen journalists dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances,” secretly recorded a lunch meeting with Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services for Planned Parenthood, in which they disguised themselves as potential fetal tissue buyers. The video presented Nucatola as a heartless baby murder, eager to abort fetuses to make a profit.

Was the video real? Yes. Was the video accurate? Absolutely not. The original two-hour video was chopped down to just under nine minutes in length and didn’t include any of the statements Nucatola made specifically explaining that Planned Parenthood does not profit, and never will, from tissue samples taken from aborted fetuses. In fact, the fee of $30-$100 that Nucatola talks about in the video is the cost incurred by Planned Parenthood in providing samples for research, not profit.

While this type of behavior can be expected from radical groups, the real disappointment comes from the politicians who are perpetuating the lie and promoting complete ignorance and stupidity. People like Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who tweeted, “Planned Parenthood isn’t a healthcare provider any more than Benghazi was a ‘spontaneous protest,’” are pushing to defund it. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) said: “There is no excuse when you have evidence like this, it’s time to move forward. It’s not time to back off.”

While we may not agree with the work of these politicians, we can’t believe they are complete morons about everything. They must understand how the game works, which means they deliberately propagated this false information to benefit their own agendas. This behavior comes from a place of insecurity and even borderline paranoia. Some people are so afraid to express ideas deviating from the norm in their group or are afraid that the truth they’ve always known may not have derived from a reasonable or even plausible place. Think about it—if everything you thought and believed was false, your world might come crashing down.

Occurrences like this unfortunately dig up all manner of ultraconservative supporters and offer them a megaphone to broadcast their oppressive ideologies. They’re even mad at Donald Trump for talking about anything BUT Planned Parenthood!

But before you become discouraged about the future of Planned Parenthood and women’s health, it doesn’t look like the propagandists will walk away from this unscathed. Democratic representatives quickly responded to the situation by calling the video bogus and even requesting that the Justice Department investigate the video for potential criminal conduct committed by the Center for Medical Progress.

And then there’s the center’s website, which is a bit peculiar. Having only been established in 2015, this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that alleges to care about ethical practice in medicine appears to only care about the actions of Planned Parenthood. In fact, the website contains nothing more than the fraudulent videos that were just recently released. Is it a coincidence that a smear campaign emerges as we make our way towards the 2016 election? So many conservative Republicans chomped at the bit the second the video came out, behaving like starving pit bulls let loose in a butcher’s shop.

Regardless, this false scandal excites me. The thought that someone would go to so much trouble to create such a lie, and that it would garner so much attention, shows me that conservative groups and politicians feel a genuine threat to their ideology.

For whatever reason, manipulation of the masses is not new, yet we are so shocked by it every time. While we can’t expect corrupt people to stop defaming what they don’t agree with, we can take personal responsibility to think more critically and use better judgment when choosing our news sources.

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