There have been two versions of each of the undercover Planned Parenthood videos released by the dubiously named Center for Medical Progress. There's been the naughty bits version, carefully edited in an attempt to shock viewers and implicate the women's health organization in criminal activity — usually the sale of tissue obtained from an abortion procedure. Then there have been the lengthy, purportedly unedited versions, which, while shifting tone considerably, seemed to basically back up the content in the heavily promoted shorter versions.
Now Planned Parenthood is claiming that the videos were manipulated.
The videos have spurred investigations across the country, none of which have found that Planned Parenthood has done anything wrong. In Texas, they've caused the Republican state leadership to say the words "baby parts" as many times as possible and figure out just how many ways they could investigate Planned Parenthood. Senator Ted Cruz threatened to shut the federal government down if Planned Parenthood was not defunded at the federal level.
At a hearing of the Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is under felony indictment, pushed for the end of legal abortion in Texas.
"The videos that have made all the headlines raise a large number of troubling allegations, allegations that — again — my office is aggressively investigating, and we will go to any and all lawful lengths to get to the bottom of what has been happening. But more than any misdeeds involving the sale of aborted baby parts is this fundamental truth: The true abomination in all this is the institution of abortion," Paxton said.
Planned Parenthood claimed that Paxton and the HHS Committee's chairman, Charles Schwertner, were collaborating with the CMP prior to the hearing. Schwertner's office would only confirm that Paxton had made a video available to him and the rest of the committee prior to the hearing. A week later, the CMP released the video. It showed an employee of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast — the affiliate that represents Houston — talking about the process by which PPGC supported fetal tissue donation. Melissa Farrell, the director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, seemingly tells a couple of anti-abortion operatives posing as researchers about the methods PPGC's clinics can use to preserve the fetal tissue needed by researchers. CMP contends that Farrell is admitting to breaking the law. It is illegal to change the method in which an abortion is performed just because resultant tissue is going to be donated.
Thursday, Planned Parenthood released the results of an investigation it commissioned of the released videos. Of the four "full footage" videos reviewed by research firm Fusion GPS, the video from Texas is the most questionable, according to the investigation. There are several instances, according to Fusion GPS, where words are spliced together in order to make CMP's audio and video appear seamless. (Mr. Fredericks is Grant Fredericks, a forensic video expert.):
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
This video depicts nearly six hours of conversation between Melissa “Missy” Farrell of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast and “Robert Sarkis” and “Susan” of Biomax. The video also depicts Planned Parenthood lab facilities and shows tissue collected from aborted fetuses at various gestational stages.
The Texas video is likely the most substantially manipulated of the four full footage videos reviewed in this report. Mr. Fredericks’ analysis reveals that “approximately 30 minutes” of the meeting are missing from the video shortly after the eighth minute of recording. The clock superimposed on the video skips from 07:46:47 to 08:15:15 from one frame to the next. Lighting levels and the Planned Parenthood staffer’s ID badge at 08:15:15 match the content in the short video that is missing from the full video, suggesting that the content comes from the missing excerpt. This gap also coincides with approximately 4,000 words of dialog in the CMP transcript that does not appear in the video...
About 30 minutes later, the camera’s frame counter skips ahead 7,583 frames and the timestamp skips from 08:44:26 to 08:44:39. Mr. Fredericks concludes that “this is an edit caused by human intervention in a post-production environment.” Mr. Fredericks finds a similar edit at 12:58:43 by the camera’s timestamp, in which the timestamp on the following frame reads 13:50:18. He concludes that this too is a post-production edit resulting in the omission of nearly an hour of recording.
Mr. Fredericks also notes that audio is out of sync at various points within this recording, a common feature in edited video. Many segments of the video contain dialog spoken off-camera, but neither Mr. Fredericks nor Fusion GPS staff identified any evidence of audio manipulation within the video segments provided.
There are 42 video splices evident in all of the videos examined, according to Fusion GPS.
CMP released a statement disputing the investigations on Thursday:
Planned Parenthood’s desperate, 11th-hour attempt to pay their hand-picked “experts” to distract from the crimes documented on video is a complete failure. The absence of bathroom breaks and waiting periods between meetings does not change the hours of dialogue with top-level Planned Parenthood executives eager to manipulate abortion procedures to get high-quality baby parts for financially profitable sale. While even Planned Parenthood’s “experts” found “no evidence of audio manipulation” in the recordings, it is telling that Planned Parenthood is trying so hard to pretend that their staff did not refer to a dismembered fetus as “a baby” and “another boy.” Planned Parenthood’s abortion providers are far more honest about the brutal reality of their work than the paid political consultants at the national office. If Planned Parenthood really wants to disprove the now-overwhelming body of evidence that their affiliates traffic in baby body parts, they should release their fetal tissue contracts with the for-profit company StemExpress for law enforcement, Congress and all the world to see.