By Jim Sedlak
Planned Parenthood is an organization that, since its very beginning, has had no respect for the law. It does what it wants and only uses existing laws when it suits its advantage. As PBS commented on Planned Parenthood’s founder: “Margaret Sanger believed that the only way to change the law was to break it.”
When ordinary Americans encounter a law they do not agree with, they work to change that law through the legislative process. Not Planned Parenthood. When PP wants to do something that violates an existing law, it goes ahead and does it anyway. When it is caught, it tries to provide irrelevant explanations. When that fails, it uses high-powered lawyers and malleable judges to force its version of what should be legal upon the entire country.
This has a history of success and worked for Margaret Sanger in the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s as she ignored the laws against sending sex information through the mail, then used court cases to end the enforcement of the Comstock Laws. Never mind that this action by Planned Parenthood opened the mails to the pornography industry. Planned Parenthood got what it wanted.
This also worked for Estelle Griswold, executive director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut in the 1960s. It was against the law in Connecticut to sell or encourage the use of birth control, but Planned Parenthood wanted to sell it. Rather than changing the law, Planned Parenthood began selling birth control anyway, and two of its people—including Estelle Griswold—were arrested and put on trial. The case eventually went to the U.S. Supreme Court where judges friendly to Planned Parenthood overturned the laws against birth control in the United States in the Griswold decision of 1965. The Griswold decision also mysteriously found a “right to privacy” in sexual matters emanating from the penumbra (shadows) of the Constitution.
There are many other instances of Planned Parenthood violating the law to change the law, but these two will suffice to make the point.
That brings us to today. Once again, Planned Parenthood wants to engage in illegal activity and seems to have no problem breaking the law to get its way. The current activity is the selling of baby body parts at a profit—something that is clearly prohibited by 42 U.S.C. § 289g-2, the law that bans the buying or selling of human fetal tissue.
Beginning in July 2015, the Center for Medical Progress released undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood staff engaging in the illegal sale of baby body parts. Planned Parenthood vehemently denied the allegations. The videos prompted a great deal of activity in states across the country and in Congress. One of those was an investigation by the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, which has recently issued its 500-page report. In this report, the committee chairman made it clear that, although the undercover videos prompted the investigation, the videos were not used in the inquiry. The committee relied exclusively on actual documents received from the organizations it was investigating. The results of the investigation prompted the committee to send a formal letter of referral for criminal prosecution to the U.S. attorney general and the head of the FBI.
That letter reads, in part, “I am referring the paid fetal tissue practices of the following organizations, as outlined in the report, to the FBI and the Department of Justice for investigation and potential prosecution.” Among the organizations listed are four California affiliates of Planned Parenthood: Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, Planned Parenthood Northern California, and Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest.
Even more damning in the report was this statement: “In addition, as also described in the attached report, it appears that the Planned Parenthood Federation of America learned that its affiliates engaging in paid fetal tissue programs were not following the policies and procedures it had put in place to ensure compliance with 42 U.S.C. § 289g-2. However, instead of exercising its oversight procedures to bring them into compliance, it contacted the affiliates involved and then altered those oversight procedures in a manner that allowed the affiliates’ conduct to continue. While the Committee does not have all the details of what transpired between the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and these affiliates, the facts uncovered raise a reasonable suspicion that these organizations, and/or individuals employed by them, may have engaged in a conspiracy to violate the fetal tissue law (18 U.S.C. § 371). Therefore, I am referring the practices of these organizations, as outlined in the report, to the FBI and the Department of Justice for investigation and potential prosecution for this offense, as well.” (Emphasis added)
It is time we stop the lawlessness of Planned Parenthood. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s letter indicates that the leaders of Planned Parenthood still have no problem breaking the law. Let’s pray that the new attorney general will pursue this aggressively and that Congress will cut off all taxpayer funds to Planned Parenthood.
Jim Sedlak is executive director of American Life League and is founder of STOPP International. He has been fighting against Planned Parenthood since 1985 and is a recognized expert in this struggle.