Planned Parenthood sent a report to Congress on Thursday that they say proves undercover videos released attacking the organization are heavily edited and inaccurate.
The Center for Medical Progress, a California-based anti-abortion group, has released eight videos that it says show Planned Parenthood breaks federal laws by selling the organs and tissue from aborted fetuses and manipulates abortion procedure to procure intact fetuses.
Planned Parenthood has denied the accusations and dismissed the videos as heavily edited. Thursday’s report was submitted to Congressional leadership along with a letter from Planned Parenthood explaining its fetal tissue research program.
“A thorough review of these videos in consultation with qualified experts found that they do not present a complete or accurate record of the events they purport to depict,” Glenn Simpson, a partner at the research firm Fusion GPS, wrote in a 10-page report submitted to House and Senate leadership.
“At this point, it is impossible to characterize the extent to which CMP’s undisclosed edits and cuts distort the meaning of the encounters the videos purport to document,” the report said. “However, the manipulation of the videos does mean they have no evidentiary value in a legal context and cannot be relied upon for any official inquiries unless supplemented by CMP’s original material and forensic authentication that this material is supplied in unaltered form.”
CMP officials have uploaded several videos to its YouTube page that it says are unedited. But Planned Parenthood’s investigators say due to the compression process of uploading to YouTube, even the videos that CMP claims are unedited are actually edited.
The investigation team was headed by Simpson, a former investigative reporter with the Wall Street Journal. Other experts included Grant Fredericks, a contract instructor of video sciences at the FBI National Academy.
Simpson dismissed the legitimacy of the videos in terms of finding answers.
“You couldn’t use this stuff in a court of law. Or if you tried you would not have a very easy time persuading anyone that it was useful,” he said. “The missing sections clearly contain discussions that would be relevant to any inquiry.”
Among the quotes in the report are:
“The short videos take a great deal of dialog out of context so as to substantively and significantly alter the meaning of the dialog contained in the long videos.”
“[T]he short videos significantly distort and misrepresent the conversations in the full footage videos. Mr. Fredericks notes that the short videos contain ‘edited conversations where some spoken words are eliminated and some spoken words are added out of context.'”
At the time of the examination, CMP had released five videos, Planned Parenthood said.
The report said experts found that there were at least 42 splices where content is cut and edited together to create the appearance of seamless conversations.
“In some cases, these splices completely change the meaning of statements,” the report said. “Phrases on the video were isolated and removed, stringing together unrelated sentences to change the meaning.”
‘Really a Shame’
Multiple Republican presidential candidates have called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood following the release of the videos. And lawmakers and state governments have launched multiple investigations into both Planned Parenthood and Center for Medical Progress.
Planned Parenthood Vice President Dawn Laguens said Thursday in a conference call with the media that CMP is duping Republican candidates.
“It’s really a shame that they are being duped by this material into taking these positions. Maybe they aren’t being duped, but grafting onto those positions to further their own personal ambitions,” she said.
David Daleiden, head of CMP, dismissed Planned Parenthood’s experts and labeled the report’s findings a “complete failure.”
“Planned Parenthood’s desperate, 11th-hour attempt to pay their hand-picked “experts” to distract from the crimes documented on video is a complete failure,” he said in a statement to CNN. “The absence of bathroom breaks and waiting periods between meetings does not change the hours of dialogue with top-level Planned Parenthood executives eager to manipulate abortion procedures to get high-quality baby parts for financially profitable sale.”
Laguens said the Center for Medical Progress needs to release the full unedited videos to lawmakers for an accurate investigation to occur.
CMP plans to release all of its unedited videos to lawmakers, Daleiden told CNN.
“We are providing all raw data to law enforcement and Congressional investigators,” he said. “The temporary restraining order in a lawsuit from Planned Parenthood’s allies at the National Abortion Federation is currently preventing us from releasing a lot of that to investigators, however.”
Daleiden said Planned Parenthood must release their contracts with biomedical companies for a thorough investigation to happen.
“If Planned Parenthood really wants to disprove the now-overwhelming body of evidence that their affiliates traffick in baby body parts, they should release their fetal tissue contracts with the for-profit company StemExpress for law enforcement, Congress, and all the world to see,” he said.
StemExpress has repeatedly denied that it has requested or bought tissue or organs from Planned Parenthood. The company ended its relationship with Planned Parenthood earlier this month.
“We value our various partnerships, but due to the increased questions that have arisen over the past few weeks, we feel it prudent to terminate activities with Planned Parenthood,” StemExpress said in a statement. “While we value our business relationship with Planned Parenthood, that work represents a small percentage of our overall business activity and we focus our limited resources on resolving these inquiries.”
Daleiden has accused Planned Parenthood of using its political allies to discredit the anti-abortion group, and the White House has previously dismissed CMP as an extremist group. And a judge who issued a restraining order against CMP preventing the group from releasing videos was appointed by Obama and contributed to his campaign.
Fusion GPS was involved with efforts to smear Mitt Romney donors during Obama’s re-election campaign, according to the Wall Street Journal.