Congressional hearings provide platform for anti-abortion lies
Last Wednesday, March 1, House Republicans stepped up their witch-hunt against supporters of women’s right to abortion. The so-called “Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives,” the House committee established to investigate the alleged selling of fetal tissue by Planned Parenthood, began its deliberations on that date. The committee Chair, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), spearheaded the congressional attempt to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of the national brouhaha spawned by a series of videos that claimed to show how the women’s health organization profited from selling fetal tissue.
The hearings proceeded despite the fact that the videos were discredited, owing to their highly edited content. (The videographers were indicted in Texas for tampering with government evidence and other crimes.) Moreover, some 30 states investigated the claims made in the videos and each found Planned Parenthood had never participated in such activity. Blackburn’s committee is focusing on the use fetal tissue in scientific research, which has been legal in the United States since the 1970s.
Why continue investigating a nonexistent crime? Because the House committee’s real purpose is to spread the lies of anti-abortion activists and lay the groundwork for further attacks on women’s rights. In another deadly move, Blackburn subpoenaed scientists involved in medical research using fetal tissue and staff at a New Mexico abortion clinic, demanding that the organizations subpoenaed divulge the names of personnel and volunteers. By demanding these names and making them public, Blackburn and her colleagues will create a hit-list for anti-abortion terrorists like those who murdered Dr. George Tiller in his church in 2009 or the more recent murder of three people in a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic.
Pro-choice demonstrators protested outside the U.S. Supreme Court last week as it began its deliberations on a Texas abortion case. More social action is needed by supporters of a woman’s right to choose abortion if we are to beat back the mounting attacks on this legal medical service. Safe abortion care should be available and accessible to all who desire it.