In an earlier post I noted that the efforts to gin up outrage over a heavily edited video purporting to catch Planned Parenthood officials out was likely part of a strategy to help insulate Republicans from Democrataic war-on-women rhetoric while they go after reproductive health rights. Missouri politicians wasted no time proving me right. And, as is often the case, Missouri Democrats are lending a helping hand.
Although Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Springfield, which is the sole Planned Parenthood abortion provider in Missouri, has pointed out that, in accordance with Missouri State Law, they do not participate in the organ donation program, rendering questions about the heavily edited video “moot,” droves of Republican pols have jumped on the bandwagon, calling for investigations of imagined “atrocities.” Just to make sure that everyone knows what’s going on, State Rep. Sue Allen (R-100) is even sending her constituents via e-mail a copy of the misleading video earlier distributed in the same way by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-2). Way to whip those ponies into a lather!
This angsty GOP urgency is escalating in spite of the fact that the unedited, three hour version of the video is easily available and, according to reputable sources who have viewed it, fails to substantiate the claims of illegal activity made by the extreme anti-abortion group responsible for the tape. It seems that one of the two videos released explicitly mentions St. Louis Planned Parenthood as an offender. But would you trust fanatics with a track record of dishonest harrassment of Planned Parenthood? Consider the source.
However, the real news isn’t the entirely predictable behavior of Republicans, but the haste of our ostensibly Democratic Attorney General to get in on the investigation circus, thus making the faux-scandal big-time – or at least as big-time as Missouri can get. AG Kris Koster is joining with the baying Republican hounds in the legislature who have decided to, in the words of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jordan Shapiro, “propel Missouri into the forefront of a national uproar caused by the video.”
Koster’s decision to investigate resulted in a front page article in the Post-Dispatch today – and, doubtless, lots more publicity for a bogus video for a lot longer than would have been generated by the frothings of the usual suspects alone. In effect, Koster has endorsed what the evidence indicates rather conclusively to be a put-up job, endowing it with the pseudo-legitimacy of an “investigation.”
It’ll be interesting to see how other state Democrats come down on this issue. So far as I can tell legislative Democrats are huddling in terrified silence; no one seems to have what it takes to publicly point out the obvious fraudulence of the entire episode – including the genteel “horror”generated by the frank discussion of what doctors actually do when they try to preserve donated tissue so that it can be effectively utilized. So far nothing from senatorial candidate Jason Kander. Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill is commenting, though at this juncture she is sounding fairly neutral, ready to jump to either side:
I’m sure that there will be many hearings about it, and I’ll continue to try to be engaged and involved in understanding exactly what occurred. Obviously, if they’ve broken the law, that’s a problem. But the law says they cannot sell any tissue for profit and they’re assuring the public they have not done that.”
What our Democrats do right now is important. Remember Acorn? Remember when Claire McCaskill, along with other Democrats fearful of the power of disinformation, basically endorsed an equally obviously manufactured video? Remember what happened to Acorn? We can’t afford to let that happen to Planned Parenthood. What can we do? Write Koster – say shame, shame on you. Write your state and federal representatives and our senators. Let them know we don’t want to watch this charade any longer. And right about now might be a good time to send a donation to Planned Parenthood. They need our support.