As of a couple of weeks ago, state officials in Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, and South Dakota had investigated local affiliates of Planned Parenthood to ensure that the health care group was operating within the law. The organization passed every test.
Officials in Pennsylvania have now completed their own review, and much to the right’s disappointment, Planned Parenthood has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the Keystone State as well. In fact, the state reported that fetal-tissue donation is perfectly legal in the state, but Planned Parenthood doesn’t even do that.
At this point, the group keeps facing investigations, and its critics keep turning up nothing. One of Planned Parenthood’s most aggressive foes, however, seems to be the subject of its own controversy.
The anti-abortion-rights group targeting Planned Parenthood is acknowledging that its most recent video used an image of a stillborn baby that was made to look like an aborted fetus.The Center for Medical Progress posted a new link on its video late Thursday, adding that one of the images was actually a baby named Walter Fretz, born prematurely at 19 weeks.
That’s a problem. The Center for Medical Progress has been accused repeatedly of relying on deceptive editing. But exploiting stillbirth images seems even more offensive.
Eric Ferrero, vice president for communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement, “These anti-abortion extremists apparently violated multiple laws to perpetrate this fraud. They weren’t documenting wrongdoing – they set out to create wrongdoing and catch it on tape, and when they couldn’t even do that, they edited videos to try to mislead and deceive the public.”
ThinkProgress’ report added some additional context:
One of the photos (displayed at the video’s nine-minute mark) isn’t an aborted fetus at all. It’s actually a stillborn fetus prematurely delivered at 19 weeks.The woman who took that photo, Alexis (or “Lexi”) Fretz, initially published it on her blog – where she also shared the story of grieving her stillborn son, whom she named Walter Joshua. In a Facebook post, Fretz said that she did not give permission for the Center for Medical Progress to use Walter’s photo, though she does not plan to take legal action against the group.
Disclosure: My wife works at Planned Parenthood, but she played no role in this piece and her work is unrelated to the controversial videos.