- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Planned Parenthood moved to punish its enemies Tuesday with ads that say nothing about recent accusations of wrongdoing stemming from its fetal-tissue donations from abortions, but instead target vulnerable Republican senators.

The television ad campaign launched in four states against Republicans facing re-election to the Senate in 2016: Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Each of the four lawmakers voted earlier this month to defund Planned Parenthood, a bill that garnered 53 votes but failed to clear the 60 votes needed to overcome a Democratic filibuster.

“First Pat Toomey voted to defund Planned Parenthood — risking health care for millions of women. Now Republicans want to shut down the government — to block funding for Planned Parenthood,” says the Pennsylvania ad. “What would a shutdown mean for Pennsylvania?”

None of the lawmakers has voted to shut down the government in order to eliminate the organization’s roughly $500 million in annual federal funding, though some other Republicans have.

The ads also fail to mention the six undercover videos released since July 13 by the pro-life Center for Medical Progress, which has accused Planned Parenthood of violating federal law governing fetal-tissue donations from abortions.

Planned Parenthood officials have denied any wrongdoing, calling the videos “edited,” while House and Senate committees are conducting investigations into whether the organization has violated federal law governing fetal-tissue donations.

Planned Parenthood is spending millions to distract from their legal and ethical problems. But they can’t block out the images that Americans across the country are responding to,” said Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life.

“This ad campaign shows that the videos from the Center for Medical Progress are having an impact,” she said. “Planned Parenthood must respond publicly to the congressional investigation into their trafficking in the broken bodies of unborn infants, not continue hiding behind crass political spin campaigns.”

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, accused center investigators of being “anti-abortion extremists who will do anything — lie, twist facts, villainize providers, and even reportedly break the law.”

“But we know that any politician who throws their hat in with these extremists does so at their own risk — it leaves their constituents devastated, turns off voters, and frankly, loses elections,” Ms. Laguens said.

In Florida, a Planned Parenthood affiliate sued the state Monday over a dispute involving whether three of its clinics had performed abortions beyond the first trimester of pregnancy, which would be in violation of their state licenses.

A recent state investigation ordered by Florida Gov. Rick Scott determined that the clinics had performed abortions in the second trimester, but Planned Parenthood officials argue that the violation stems from the state’s redefining of first trimester from 14 weeks to 12 weeks.

Barbara Zdravecky, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, said the organization filed for a temporary injunction in Leon County Circuit Court to keep open clinics in St. Petersburg, Fort Myers and Naples.

“Nearly a decade ago, state officials made it clear that Planned Parenthood is operating fully within the law, and nothing has changed,” said Ms. Zdravecky said in a statement. “The state’s actions are patently disingenuous and constitute a wholly unwarranted political attack.”

The affiliate faces fines of $500 per violation in the aftermath of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration investigation.

“We will take immediate actions against these three facilities for performing second trimester abortions without a proper license,” said the agency in an Aug. 5 statement. “These facilities have been notified to immediately cease performing second trimester abortions. The Agency may take additional actions against these facilities including administrative sanctions.”


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