Federal Court: Video of Planned Parenthood Discussing Fetal Tissue Was ‘Not Deceptively Edited’

Emily Ward | January 23, 2019 | 4:02pm EST
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Aborted baby body parts in
a glass tray. (Center for
Medical Progress) 

(CNSNews.com) -- Last Thursday, Jan. 17, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stated that undercover video footage filmed by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), which showed Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses, was “authentic” and “not deceptively edited.”

The federal appeals court also vacated an injunction by a district court, which had barred the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) from terminating Medicaid provider agreements with Planned Parenthood affiliates throughout Texas. The federal appeals court sent the case back to the district court.

Screenshot from undercover Planned Parenthood video. (CMP)

In its opinion, the federal appeals court wrote, “The district court stated, inaccurately, that the CMP video had not been authenticated and suggested that it may have been edited.”

“In fact, the record reflects that OIG had submitted a report from a forensic firm concluding that the video was authentic and not deceptively edited,” the court added in a footnote. “And the plaintiffs did not identify any particular omission or addition in the video footage.”

In 2015, the CMP, a pro-life organization, released several hours of undercover video footage that showed employees and doctors from various Planned Parenthood affiliates discussing potential research partnerships with individuals who expressed interest in obtaining body parts of fetuses aborted during the second trimester of pregnancy and paying a handling and shipping fee for those parts.

After the footage was released, the OIG sent Planned Parenthood affiliates a notice of termination of their Medicaid agreements. The OIG argued that the affiliates had violated “accepted medical standards, as reflected in federal and state law,” and were no longer “qualified to provide medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal and ethical manner.”

(Getty Images) 

The violations included altering abortion procedures to obtain “targeted” tissue samples for researchers, “deviating from accepted standards” to procure samples, misrepresenting “activity related to fetal tissue procurements” and “a willingness to charge more than the costs incurred for procuring fetal tissue.”

The Planned Parenthood affiliates then sued, winning a preliminary injunction that stopped the OIG from terminating the Medicaid agreements. The OIG appealed, and, last Thursday, the appeals court vacated the injunction.

In response to the appeals court’s ruling, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes Executive Director Yvonne Gutierrez said the organization was evaluating its options “for seeking further relief” in the district court.

“This is not a loss on the merits, although we are disappointed in the ruling,” Gutierrez said.

Planned Parenthood Texas Votes said, “Blocking access to Planned Parenthood would hurt people in communities who are struggling to get by the most. That’s why Planned Parenthood & its patients will continue to fight for it to stay in the Medicaid program.”

CMP founder David Daleiden wrote that the court’s decision “vindicated” the CMP’s “citizen journalism work” by “debunking Planned Parenthood’s smear that the videos were ‘heavily edited’ or ‘doctored.’”

David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress. (YouTube)

“Now, it is time for the U.S. Department of Justice to do its job and hold Planned Parenthood accountable to the law,” Daleiden added.

Since the videos were released in 2015, Planned Parenthood has claimed CMP’s footage was heavily and deceptively edited. Many mainstream news outlets have reported that the footage was altered or distorted, using, as the basis for these claims, a Fusion GPS report that was commissioned and funded by Planned Parenthood.

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