Yesterday, Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation, testified before Congress regarding the now-infamous doctored videos manufactured by anti-choice activists. (See: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/28/us/abortion-planned-parenthood-videos.html and http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4552968/cummings-planned-parenthood-hearing.)
You can watch the entire testimony here: http://www.c-span.org/video/?328410-1/planned-parenthood-president-cecile-richards-testimony-taxpayer-funding.
Despite the facts, Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee continued their line of questioning as if the videos were factual. Their questioning also revealed such alarming ignorance of women’s healthcare, and the organizational structure and funding of Planned Parenthood, that one wonders whether they truly demonstrated an adequate level of decision-making capacity — a basic standard we demand from patients for informed decisions, which requires Understanding, Appreciation and Rationality. Most of the questions asked of Ms. Richards did not meet this standard, including one member asking her if she believed in “selling baby parts”— phrasing that demonstrates stunning levels of medical illiteracy and ignorance of the laws surrounding fetal tissue research (see: http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/policy/publiclaw103-43.htm.html).
The Chairman of the committee belligerently presented an inaccurate slide from a pro-life organization, claiming it came from Planned Parenthood (see: http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4552966/rep-chaffetz-caught-lie). When Ms. Richards politely noted the source of the slide was from “Americans United for Life,” an anti-choice lobby, and assured the Chairman it was not accurate, he yielded the floor.
Any provider of women’s healthcare should be alarmed that funding for critical reproductive healthcare services are being debated by Congressional representatives who don’t seem to meet the same standards of decision-making capacity we would demand of patients or their surrogates. They do not understand or appreciate the facts of how Planned Parenthood is funded; what fetal tissue research is; or even, at minimum, that the videos in question are not authentic. Further, they do not demonstrate rationality — an ability to reason with the information provided to them by Planned Parenthood.
The only thing that was clear about this “hearing” was that the Republicans were unable to listen.