Thursday, August 13, 2015

Erwin Chemerinsky Defends Planned Parenthood

It's Thursdays with Erwin at the Orange County Register, and my birdies are about the get a fresh lining in their cage. UC Irvine Law School Dean and noted liberal guy Erwin Chemerinsky has a weekly op-ed in the Register and today he is going to bat for Planned Parenthood. As usual, Chemerinsky finds a way to argue that whatever the liberal side of an argument is-that is the constitutional side. Today is no exception.

"The Republican candidates for president are trying to outdo one another in expressing their desire to eliminate federal money for Planned Parenthood. But this is based on a false picture of what Planned Parenthood provides and on a distorted video that has been widely circulated."

Of course, anything that is Republican or conservative must be on the "unconstitutional" side of the argument. But nobody would accuse Erwin of political partisanship. 

Of particular note here is that Erwin refers to a distorted video, assuming a fact not in evidence. The video clips we have seen on TV were made by undercover operatives of the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress. In each case, the unedited full versions are available online (as Chemerinsky "concedes" later on in the op-ed).

"Paying for contraception is obviously much less expensive than having to pay for pregnancy care and childbirth costs, to say nothing of the costs to raise a child. Besides, the use of contraceptives is obviously a key way to prevent abortions. Most importantly, the funding allows people, and especially women, to exercise what the Supreme Court has deemed a fundamental constitutional right."
Oh, so now we the taxpayers are supposed to raise someone else's child now? The Supreme Court may have ruled abortion constitutional, but do we have to pay for it too? ("But federal law long has prohibited federal funds from being used to perform abortions, or even to do abortion counseling or referrals. The Supreme Court upheld these restrictions on federal funds in 1991.") Medicaid does allow certain exceptions.

"The real fuel for the current controversy over Planned Parenthood comes from a video prepared by an anti-abortion group, the Center for Medical Progress. A secret recording was made of a conversation with Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s senior director of medical services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, and two individuals posing as executives from an Irvine human biologics company seeking sources of fetal tissue for medical research. The video is edited to make it seem that Planned Parenthood is selling fetal tissue to researchers."

Make it appear? How about that other video with the woman who wanted a Lamborghini, Mary Gatter? You don't haggle over money if you are donating something, do you? 

"Nucatola said that Planned Parenthood collects fetal tissue for medical research, but stressed that patients undergoing abortions have asked for this to be done out of a desire to help cure diseases. She repeatedly says that Planned Parenthood does not profit from this. Any funds are simply to pay costs attendant to administering this process."

I refer you again to the Lamborghini video. I also refer you to the video where a PP official discusses how they get around that issue with semantics. In addition, testimony has now come from a former PP employee who tells a different story as to PP not even telling patients that tissue is going to be "donated".

"There is nothing illegal or improper about any of this."

Wrong. It is against the law to profit from abortions and transferring fetal tissue or organs. It is also against the law to alter the procedure of an abortion in order to harvest same. Chemerinsky conveniently does not mention this. The undercover videos reveal that Planned Parenthood is violating the law.

At issue here is not even the issue of abortion. It is currently legal with certain restrictions. At issue is whether Planned Parenthood is violating the law in harvesting and selling fetal tissue and altering the procedure to accomplish this. The other services that PP provides are not at issue either. 

This organization receives over 500 million dollars in government support per year. If it is proved that they are, in effect, a criminal enterprise, it is time for Congress to shut off the spigot.   

1 comment:

Siarlys Jenkins said...

If the shoe fits, wear it. The Republicans often ARE demanding action that violates the constitution. (And for the record, I sustained your criticism of Rep. Jan Schakowsky's inability to cite what constitutional power authorized congress to pass the Affordable Care Act -- although I offered a perfectly sound constitutional argument, it was HER job to know that before she voted).

Congress has never "funded Planned Parenthood." Congress has allocated funds to support certain medical services to underserved areas and underserved populations. Planned Parenthood, like any non-profit, or sometimes even for-profit, is eligible to apply for funds to provide such services free of charge, at a reduced rate, or on a sliding scale. None of these funds are allocated for abortions, because there is a law against that. To "de-fund Planned Parenthood" would border on a bill of attainder, although I'm not sure that squarely applies to a civil matter, as distinct from a criminal proscription.