House Judiciary Committee Hears Testimony on Planned Parenthood’s “Horrific Abortion Practices”

By Dave Andrusko

National Right to Life General Counsel James Bopp Jr.

National Right to Life General Counsel James Bopp Jr.

Today’s three-hour hearing of the House Judiciary Committee was titled, “Planned Parenthood Exposed: Examining the Horrific Abortion Practices at the Nation’s Largest Abortion Provider.” Testimony from witnesses and questions from committee members amply illustrated just how ghastly these “practices” are, recently brought to the public’s attention by a series of eight undercover videos which show the Center for Medical Progress interviewing several high ranking Planned Parenthood officials.

Nothing could have better illustrated how far apart pro-life and pro-abortionists are than this exchange between Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and one of the four witnesses, Priscilla Smith, who directs Yale Law School’s Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice.

Rep. Goodlatte described what happens to an unborn baby in the course of a dismemberment abortion, how the baby is literally torn to pieces. He asked Ms. Smith if she considered this humane.

Yes, she responded, provided the baby [“fetus”] was not viable.

“Your idea of humanity and mine are very different,” Goodlatte said.

Today’s hearing was the first in a planned series. Rep. Goodlatte and Constitution and Civil Justice Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) issued a statement prior to the hearing outlining what the committee hoped to examine:

“Planned Parenthood and its executives must answer for the alleged atrocities brought to light in the videos by the Center for Medical Progress. For the past two months, the House Judiciary Committee has been investigating the alleged acts of Planned Parenthood and its affiliates, and now the American people will have a chance to understand just how horrific these practices are to the unborn.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to question a panel of experts on this issue in order to ascertain how Planned Parenthood may have violated federal laws in the course of its alleged practices, and the atrocities associated with altering abortions in order to obtain the body parts of fetuses.

“This hearing is the next step in the Committee’s ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood and part of the Committee’s commitment to fighting for the rights of the unborn.”

NRLC’s General Counsel James Bopp, Jr. offered a powerful in-depth legal critique of Planned Parenthood “fetal tissue procurement practices” from induced abortions. In his testimony, Bopp focused on how PPFA’s practice “violates various federal laws when applicable, how existing laws and regulations are not sufficient to prevent these abuses and protect the unborn and how continuing to allow this procurement and sale of human fetal tissue from induced abortion could legitimize the abortion industry.”

By contrast Ms. Smith said PPFA had violated no federal laws, that the videos were “misleadingly edited,” and that the videos “are part of an ongoing decades-long campaign to attack Planned Parenthood and other providers of abortion.” The latter two assertions were talking points reiterated repeatedly by most Democratic members of the committee.

But the Judiciary Committee also heard riveting testimony from two women who had survived abortions. Both are familiar to readers of NRL News Today.

In 1977 Gianna Jessen’s mother was seven and a half months pregnant when she underwent a saline abortion. Miraculously, rather than being burned and suffocated to death, Gianna was delivered alive 18 hours later. Rushed to a hospital, she beat the long, long odds, although she would later be diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, caused by the lack of oxygen to her brain.

Near the end of her written testimony, Gianna says

Planned Parenthood receives $500 million dollars of taxpayer money a year, to primarily destroy and dismember babies. Do not tell me these are not children. A heartbeat proves that. So does 4-d ultrasound. … Do not tell me this is only a woman’s issue. It takes both a man and a woman to create a child. And to that point I wish to speak to the men listening to me: You are made for greatness, not passivity. You were born to defend women and children. Not use and abandon us, nor sit idly by while you know we are being harmed. I am asking you to be brave.

Like Gianna, Melissa Ohden survived a saline abortion, also in 1977, but even later in pregnancy. (Estimates were that she was 31 weeks gestation age).

Unlike Gianna, Melissa did not suffer a permanent disability, even though “the doctor’s prognosis for my life was initially very poor,” Melissa testified. “However here I am today, perfectly healthy.”

And like Gianna, Mellissa was adopted. She told the Judiciary Committee

“I’m here today to share my story to not only highlight the horror of abortion taking place at Planned Parenthood but to give a voice to other survivors like me, and most importantly, to give a name, a face, and a voice to the hundreds of thousands of children who will have their lives ended by Planned Parenthood this year alone.”