Rep. Jordan to Cecile Richards on Planned Parenthood Videos: Why Did You Apologize?

By Melanie Arter | September 30, 2015 | 10:03am EDT
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – When asked which statements Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards was referring to when she first issued an apology for the undercover video of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the harvesting and sale of aborted baby body parts, Richards said she felt it was “inappropriate to have a clinical discussion in a non-confidential, non-clinical setting.”

“I spoke with Dr. Nucatola, who was featured in one of the videos, and I thought it was important in my opinion, in my opinion, it was inappropriate to have a clinical discussion of, in a non-confidential, non-clinical setting, and I told her that,” said Richards.

 



In the video, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services for the nation’s largest abortion group, can be heard discussing with potential buyers ways to retrieve the organs of aborted babies intact rather than crushing them during the abortion.

During the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s hearing Tuesday on federal funding of Planned Parenthood, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) pointed out that after the first video surfaced, Richards said, “It’s unacceptable. I personally apologize for the tone and statements.”

“Which statements were you apologizing for?” Jordan asked.

Here is a transcript of the exchange:

Jordan: Ms. Richards, if the videos were selectively edited, heavily edited. If this was entrapment, if this was all untrue, then why did you apologize?

Richards: Well Congressman, first everyone has agreed they were heavily edited and that certainly I think even the perpetrator—

Jordan: My question is why did you apologize?

Richards: the perpetrator has agreed they were done undercover. I spoke with Dr. Nucatola, who was featured in one of the videos, and I thought it was important in my opinion, in my opinion, it was inappropriate to have a clinical discussion of, in a non-confidential, non-clinical setting, and I told her that.

Jordan: What were you apologizing for?

Richards: That she used I think in my judgment, it was bad judgment to have a clinical discussion in a non-clinical setting, and that’s—

Jordan: I mean the first video comes out July 14th. Two days later, you go and issue an apology, and you said this: ‘It’s unacceptable. I personally apologize for the tone and statements.’ So I wanna know—No, no. Here’s the question: Which statements were you apologizing for?

Richards: It was really the, it was really the situation she was in, and believe that, again that—

Jordan: But Ms. Richards, that’s not what you said. You said, ‘I apologize for statements.’ I’d like to know, I think the American people like to know which statements in the video were you apologizing for? Were you apologizing for statements that were untrue, because you normally don’t do that in life. If you, if something’s untrue and false, you don’t apologize for that. You correct the record, but that’s not what you said. You said, ‘I personally apologize for the tone and statements,’ and I’m asking you a simple question. There was only one video at the time you issued this statement, when you did your video. There was only one video. I want to know in that video that you were referencing, which statements were you apologizing for?

Richards: Congressman, at the time, as you I’m sure remember, that video was released we’d no time to actually evaluate how much editing had happened. It was days later that we were—

Jordan: Which true statements in that video were you apologizing for?

Richards: Excuse me, and so I was reflecting that on that video - not any particular statement - that given, they did not reflect the compassionate care that we provide at Planned Parenthood.

Jordan: That raises an important question: So is what you said in your video untrue? You weren’t really apologizing for statements made?

Richards: I was apologizing for what was said in a non-clinical setting in a non-appropriate way, and I don’t believe, and I don’t believe—

Jordan: You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say I’m apologizing for statements in one video and then not tell us what those statements were.

Richards: I don’t believe that Dr. Nucatola—

Jordan: Or you could do this. You can say, you know what, what I said in the video I produced wasn’t true. I really wasn’t apologizing for any statement. You can tell us that here on the record if you’d like, but it can’t be both positions. It has to be one, and I want to know which one is it, and frankly, the American people want to know which one is it.

Richards: In my judgment, it was inappropriate to have that conversation in a non-clinical setting in a non-confidential area about clinical matters, and I’ve told that to Dr. Nucatola. I will also tell you, Dr. Nucatola—

Jordan: Why didn’t you say that? This wasn’t a reporter sticking a mic in front of your face. This was a video you produced to send out to the whole world. Why didn’t you say that?

Richards: We may just have to agree to disagree on this matter. I think I’ve explained myself.

Jordan: I don’t think we’re agreeing to disagree. I think you’re not answering my question.

Richards: Well I’ve answered it, I think repeatedly here, and I want to say also for the record that Dr.—

Jordan: Real quickly just for the record – and I apol—but this to me is critical, because at the moment you did this, there was only one video, and then you do your video in response to that video. And you made a specific statement, and I’m sure your staff worked on this. You prepared this. This probably went through a number of drafts, and you were very specific in what you said: ‘apologize for the tone and statements.’ So there was obviously, statements in that first video that were accurate, that you didn’t think needed to be out there, and you wanted to apologize for it, and you wanted that message heard by the American people, and I’m asking you a simple question: In that first video, tell me what you needed to apologize for.

Richards: That highly edited video, that now of course as we have gotten further and I’ve read—

Jordan: Highly edited video that you apologized for.

Richards: Pages, pages, excuse me. I have now read hundreds of pages of all of the things that were said, and what is clear now that there were many – I think 10 times during that conversation – in which Dr. Nucatola expressly said—

Jordan: Ms. Richards, it’s a simple question.

Richards: Well I answered it—

Jordan: It is as simple and as basic as it gets. You don’t apologize for things that are inaccurate. You apologize for things that are accurate, and you said there were statements in that first video that I want to apologize for. I’m asking you to tell this committee chairman, this committee, and the American people, what were those statements.

Richards: Well I think I’ve already made my explanation, and just for the record, Dr. Nucatola is an excellent doctor—

Jordan: I’m not saying she’s not. I’m asking what you said—

Chairman Jason Chaffetz: Gentleman’s time is expired.

Richards: You’ve had your moment, and I wanted to make sure that you understood what, that she provides incredibly compassionate care, and I’m proud of her.

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