Several House Democrats are coming to the defense of Planned Parenthood in the wake of a now-viral video that shows its chief medical director graphically detailing the uses for organs of aborted fetuses.
“Planned Parenthood is actually allowed, is my understanding, for scientific research, to use fetal tissue and that is not illegal,” said Rep. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyModerate Democrats press for score before vote on Biden package Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Democrats prepare to grill oil execs Merkley, Warren and Markey sound alarm over 'dirty' hydrogen provision in climate deal MORE (D-Ill.), a member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus and sponsor of numerous abortion-rights bills.
“Having talked to the leadership at Planned Parenthood, this was a sting operation,” she added.
She said she had not watched the nearly nine-minute video, which was released Tuesday by a controversial anti-abortion group, the Center for Medical Progress. It was filmed in secret by members posing as buyers from a biomedical research company and has been dismissed by Planned Parenthood as "grossly mischaracterizing" its legal use of fetal tissue.
By late Tuesday, the footage had captured national attention, landing on the front page of newspapers like The Washington Post. The YouTube video now has 1.1 million views, and Planned Parenthood was trending on Twitter for hours.
Republicans are hoping to keep it in the spotlight for at least several weeks. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) ordered an investigation into the video Wednesday afternoon.
Democrats have been mostly silent on the issue as details continued to emerge Tuesday evening, when Planned Parenthood released 11 pages of attack points against the makers of the video.
The rapid rise of what has widely been called a "sting video" has surprised some Democrats on the Hill, including one aide who called the attention "unexpected."
When asked about Republicans’ planned investigations into Planned Parenthood, Schakowsky said she wanted an investigation, instead, into the Center for Medical Progress, which she called “a phony company.”
Rep. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeHouse progressives urge Garland to intervene in ex-environmental lawyer Steven Donziger's case Overturning Roe would be a disaster for young women of color CBC's pivotal role on infrastructure underscores caucus's growing stature MORE (D-Calif.), another prominent supporter of abortion rights, also dismissed the latest attacks against Planned Parenthood.
“They’ve been attacking Planned Parenthood for years,” she said. “They’ve been calling for investigations for years, and they surface videos and they come on the attack … and I think it’s outrageous.”
Lee also said she has not seen the video.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who is also a member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, said she had not heard of the video and could not comment.
“I’ll take a look at it, but I did not see it so I have no idea what’s in it,” she said.