We released a report last month about the recent anti-Planned Parenthood smear’s origins in the radical “rescue” movement, the segment of the anti-choice movement that has sought to end legal abortion by protesting outside of clinics, harassing and intimidating providers and patients and attempting to sue individual providers out of existence.
In a conference call with members of the clergy last week organized by Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, two “rescue” movement leaders joined Rep. Diane Black, the Tennessee Republican who is leading efforts to defund Planned Parenthood in the House and a member of the House Special Committee targeting the group, to discuss how the recent smear campaign is revitalizing their movement and how they plan to use it to “dismantle” Planned Parenthood entirely. One activist also revealed that the founder of the Center for Medical Progress, the group behind the deceptive sting videos, sought the “destruction” of the group by attempting “to get prosecutions.”
Eric Scheidler, whose father Joseph Scheidler pioneered many of the “rescue” movement’s tactics and who is now organizing nationwide Planned Parenthood protests through the family’s Pro-Life Action League, told call participants that “one of the most wonderful things to come out of this entire scandal” has been the resurgence of protests outside of abortion clinics. He said that he hoped that his protests would lead to Planned Parenthood losing all government funding and being “kicked out of every one of the 700 towns across the United States” where they operate.
It’s important to note that the “Protest PP” effort is not just about a couple of big national protests in the firestorm of this scandal in 2015. Our long-term goal is to bolster the pro-life presence at the Planned Parenthood centers around the country on into the future and, most wonderfully, we are seeing that happen. Abortion clinics that haven’t had pro-lifers outside standing in witness for years or even forever are now seeing pro-life groups forming to get involved regularly in an ongoing way outside the doors of those abortion clinics. …
We really expect to see this fervor continue, not just through the end of this year but on through the future, and that’s one of the most wonderful things to come out of this entire scandal and the exposure that we’ve been able to give to Planned Parenthood and who they really are. …
Planned Parenthood’s public image is going to be further knocked down the point where we will finally be able to, first, deprive them of any government funding whatsoever and, second, get them kicked out of every one of the 700 towns across the United States where they have centers.
Troy Newman, the leader of Operation Rescue who is also a driving force behind the Center for Medical Progress’ smears on Planned Parenthood and a member of the group’s board, explained that at the outset of their project he and the Center for Medical Progress’ David Daleiden decided that their goal was to “get prosecutions” of Planned Parenthood employees in order to achieve the “destruction or dismantling” of the organization. (Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger has also said that “criminal prosecutions” were the ultimate goal of the project.)
He came to me three years ago and we sat in our office, we talked a lot about what the end goal was. We didn’t want to just infiltrate Planned Parenthood for the sake of infiltrating them or for the sake of getting YouTube hits … At the end of the day, we both agreed that our number one goal was to get prosecutions against these people that are violating the law. And prosecutions lead to defunding and defunding leads to the destruction or dismantling of Planned Parenthood.
As our primary goal, I believe all the elements are in place to accomplish those goals. If you look at the systematic way that we, Center for Medical Progress has been able to disseminate information, each individual video has a story to tell and at the end of the day, the story is really simple. Number one, this is not necessarily about abortion. So all the questions that are being asked in Congress about abortion and so forth are good, I think, to educate people, but it’s not specifically germane to the conversation that we’re having right now. This is about the wholesale illegal trade in fetal cadavers and fetal organs.
Newman expressed frustration that “the narrative is being changed on a daily basis” and the anti-choice movement has moved straight toward passing legislation in Congress without first getting “these abortionists thrown in jail” as he and Daleiden originally intended, which he said is the surefire way to make sure that “Planned Parenthood is dismantled forever.”
We do need to ban abortions after 20 weeks, absolutely, we do need to defund Planned Parenthood, absolutely, we do need to have these select committees, but more importantly, there’s enough evidence that we’ve released already — already — to get these abortionists thrown in jail. And the thing that’s particularly disturbing to me is that the narrative is being changed on a daily basis toward something other than the original intent, the evidence that has already been brought out there, that these are clear violations of the law and district attorneys and attorneys general need to take notice that they need to prosecute these abortionists for the crimes that are clearly being committed on these tapes. And with that, the first time we get an indictment, a prosecution, a conviction, okay, they lose their Title X funding. Their funding goes right out the door. And as soon as they lose their funding, that’s over half their money, then Planned Parenthood is dismantled forever.