POLITICS

Planned Parenthood Chief Defends Against 'Smear' Campaign

Cecile Richards called the effort an attempt to "entrap" Planned Parenthood doctors.

The head of Planned Parenthood forcefully defended the organization against what she described as a "smear" campaign by an anti-abortion group that has publicized undercover videos of doctors discussing fetal tissue donation.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the effort by the Center for Medical Progress wasn't intended to discover problems with how her group facilitates fetal tissue donation for medical research, but rather was an attempt to "entrap" Planned Parenthood doctors. Her comments were broadcast Sunday during an interview on ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

The secretly recorded videos were publicly released this month. In them, people pretending to be fetal tissue buyers discuss the procedures with Planned Parenthood's Dr. Deborah Nucatola and Dr. Mary Gatter.

Federal law permits fetal tissue to be donated if the women who underwent the abortions give consent and if it's not for profit. Payments discussed in the secretly recorded videos were for reimbursement, not profit, Planned Parenthood has said.

Abortion opponents have charged that Planned Parenthood, a women's health care provider, is selling aborted fetal organs for financial gain. Planned Parenthood has rejected the allegation. Republicans in Washington have demanded a federal investigation, and have moved to cut federal funding for the group.

"This has been a three-year, well-funded effort by the most militant wing of the anti-abortion movement in this country to try to entrap doctors," Richards said. The "highly doctored" videos don't show Planned Parenthood doctors repeatedly discussing how the organization doesn't profit from fetal tissue donation, Richards said.

The videos now are being used to "impugn and smear the name of Planned Parenthood," she added.

The Center for Medical Progress, a previously little-known group, is part of a wing of the anti-abortion movement that has been behind the bombing of clinics and the killing of doctors, Richards alleged.

Hillary Clinton, a Democratic presidential candidate, has defended Planned Parenthood, calling attacks on the organization "an attack on women's right to choose."

More videos are set to be released. A group of House Democrats has called for investigations into the Center for Medical Progress. California Attorney General Kamala Harris said Friday her office plans to investigate the group to determine whether it broke any state rules.

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