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Anti-abortion groups have adopted increasingly aggressive, dishonest tactics

In recent weeks we’ve watched as a campaign of deception has been launched against Planned Parenthood. Let me be clear: Planned Parenthood does not sell fetal tissue. Some Planned Parenthood organizations in other states do assist women who wish to donate tissue for lifesaving medical research. Planned Parenthood Arizona does not have a tissue donation program at all.

We do provide quality health care to tens of thousands of Arizona women, men and couples every year, including cancer screenings, treatment for sexually transmitted infections and birth control. Our standards are guided by national authorities including the Centers for Disease Control and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Our patients know the lengths to which we go to protect their health and their futures. So do their family and friends.

More than four decades since Roe v Wade, most Americans continue to believe that women themselves are best qualified to make their own health care decisions.  The majority who hold this view is diverse:  Some are personally opposed to abortion while others are not.  What unifies them is the belief that neither government nor abortion opponents should make this health care unavailable for women who need it.

In this Sunday Jan. 23, 2011 file photo, Bryan Howard, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, Inc., stands out in front of a Planned Parenthood facility in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

In this Sunday Jan. 23, 2011 file photo, Bryan Howard, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona, Inc., stands out in front of a Planned Parenthood facility in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

In the face of their failure to change public opinion, anti-abortion groups like the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), led by president Cathi Herrod, have adopted increasingly aggressive and blatantly dishonest tactics to stigmatize abortion and discredit Planned Parenthood.  Some time ago they realized they weren’t going to win hearts and minds by admitting they aimed to ban abortion entirely. The latest attack was launched July 13 in the form of a video purporting to show Planned Parenthood “sells” fetal tissue.

The tactic of using heavily-edited, illicitly-obtained video footage to attack women’s access to reproductive health care is not new — there have been dozens of these misleading videos in recent years. To gain access to Planned Parenthood staff at national meetings and in our own health center, the perpetrators set up a bogus “bio research” company and adopted fake identities. The leaders of this effort have promised more videos. We should expect them to be 100% disturbing and 100% misleading.

The story this video tells – along with another released just days ago – follows the same old pattern of misrepresentation. Countless news agencies and reporters have discredited the videos and organization and people behind them. Trusted fact checking and anti-fraud websites have determined that the videos misrepresent the facts and are not accurate.

The lies that permeate this attack campaign help explain Cathi Herrod’s faux outrage:  In a recent fundraising email, Herrod wrote that “there is clearly smoke here, and now the onus is on Bryan Howard and Planned Parenthood to prove there is no fire.”  In light of Herrod’s partnership with Gov. Ducey, no one is surprised he jumped on the bandwagon by announcing his own investigation – even though Planned Parenthood Arizona does not have a tissue donation program.

The pattern of dishonesty and disingenuousness is painful to watch. In another example from just a few months earlier, Herrod backed SB1318, a law that requires doctors and the state’s own Health Department to lie to women about medication abortion by telling them it may be reversible.  Although there is no recognized medical research to support the claim, the legislature passed SB1318 and Gov. Ducey signed it.

There is something fundamentally wrong with a movement whose leaders cannot make their point without employing deception.

The real onus is on Cathi Herrod and her Center for Arizona Policy to abandon dishonest, deceptive tactics and engage in an honest discussion that leaves the ultimate decision about abortion where it should be:  in the hands of each woman as she determines how to chart her own path in life.

-Bryan Howard is the President of Planned Parenthood Arizona and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona

7 comments

  1. Planned Parenthood has mastered the art of deception. They say they are pro-choice, but hardly any of their affiliates make adoption referrals. They performed 174 abortions for every adoption referral in 2013.

    When has the media ever done an expose on an abortionist? You would think the might consider it after the Gosnell trial, which by and large had an empty press box.

    If the media won’t do its job, someone else needs to do it. The Watergate era of journalism has long been dead. Advocacy journalism dominates the USA.

  2. Sorry, Mr. Howard, the multiple videos that have surfaced over the past week or so expose YOU as the blatant liar, nothing more or less. I am libertarian, support pro-choice, personally oppose abortion when used as a convenient after-the-fact birth-control method, but want to keep government off our backs and out of women’s wombs. Planned Parenthood used to be a respected organization, but with these latest revelations, it has cemented its growing reputation as a mass-murderer blindly exploiting women strictly for political and financial gain.

  3. Sorry, but you are not entitled to my tax money. You claim to be for the right to choose, but you have denied me the right to choose not to be involved with you. I’ll bet the reason you “don’t” have any tissue donation program here is that you don’t do late term abortions here. And I’ve known women who were able to reverse pill abortions, and the protocol is well known. It is also used in some cases to prevent miscarriage, and has been used for this purpose for decades. You are a plague on WOMEN. We deserve better than abortion. Stop preying on us!

  4. Brian Howard’s statement, “Let me be clear: Planned Parenthood does not sell fetal tissue. Some Planned Parenthood organizations in other states do assist women who wish to donate tissue for lifesaving medical research. Planned Parenthood Arizona does not have a tissue donation program at all.”

    Sounds amazingly similar to Captain Louis Renault’s (Claude Rains) famous line in the movie Casablanca, when he said “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here!” (The croupier hands him his money.) “…Your winnings, sir.” “Oh, thank you very much!”

    The only thing missing was one of the organ brokers handing Planned Parenthood their check.

    Go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjbPi00k_ME

  5. Dear Bryan Howard, you should thank God that abortion was stopped when you were born. I hope you come to Jesus, You will come to Him when you feel pain in your body, the time will come. Don’t worry the time will come: every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess Jesus as Lord of all. I hope you will do it before death, if not, as it is written, eternal pain will be waiting, and you will not have the chance to claim it as deception

  6. So, what you’re saying is that you won’t even try to do an internal investigation? It’s not as though the videos portray paid actors pretending to offer a viewpoint on Planned Parenthood. If Planned Parenthood clearly portrays a distinction between donated tissue and bought tissue, why were the Planned Parenthood representatives so clearly talking about profit margins? Why weren’t they horrified at the mere suggestion of money vs research? Mr. Howard, if I were you, I’d fire your publicist; your photo-op ‘leadership pose’ outside of a clinic merely portrays the clear truth that this organization is profit-driven; where are all of the happy fulfilled women that your clinic serves?

  7. Planned Parenthood and Mr. Howard trying to spin the unspinnable. The video was not edited when the Planned Parenthood official was talking about selling baby parts. PP is an organization founded by Margaret Sanger, eugenics supporter that believed black babies were weeds that needed to be plucked to have a healthy white garden (look up her quotes yourself!), and now they whine about “illicitly obtained” video. I don’t care if it was Snowden illegal that the video was obtained. The video exists, the Planned Parenthood official was discussing how much they sell baby parts for, and Mr. Howard has as much credibility as the NSA complaining that Snowden leaked documents to Wikileaks detailing spying on Americans, instead of addressing that they are spying on Americans.

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