Two high-level Republican lawmakers had seen a video showing a Planned Parenthood executive discussing what the organization charges researchers from organs harvested from aborted babies–and were aware of it weeks before it caused an online furor.
Rep. Tim Murphy, a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, acknowledged on Wednesday that he viewed the video weeks ago, but when Roll Call accosted him in the hall and queried him as to why no action had been forthcoming until this week, a brief exchange was held before Murphy terminated the interview, asserting, “This interview didn’t happen.” Roll Call published this brief excerpt from the hurried interview:
CQ Roll Call: “So, what I wondered was, what’s happened in those few weeks? Why is it coming out now and not earlier?”
Murphy: “Um, I don’t know why. All I know is I saw it and he said he was going to post it eventually, so that’s all I know.”
On Thursday, Murphy’s spokeswoman Gretchen Andersen explained to CQ Roll Call that Murphy had to do “due diligence” before starting an investigation.
Rep. Trent Franks admitted on Wednesday that he had seen the video roughly a month ago. When asked why no action had been taken immediately, Franks emailed, “The hope was to have as much information as possible so that the authorities could be notified effectively before the media.”
Although officials at Planned Parenthood argue that the viral video was deceptively edited to indicate a financial transaction was being discussed, the full video dispels that notion.
The heat from the release of the video triggered a call from the Judiciary and Energy and Commerce committees for hearings; Rep. Lynn Jenkins requested a Justice Department investigation into whether Planned Parenthood broke the law.
Speaker John Boehner had reacted to the video by asserting, “This week at my request our committees have begun looking at some of the gruesome practices embraced by Planned Parenthood. I’m also demanding that the president denounce and stop these practices. If you’ve seen this video I don’t have to tell you how sickening it is. Rest assured we are going to get to the bottom of this and protect the values we hold dear.”
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy added, “I speak for all of my colleagues when I say I was deeply disturbed by reports and video of an organization engaging in such grotesque and inhumane practices. I will be working with House Committees to investigate the claims made by the employee. We should all agree that no life is expendable, and our society has no place for such callous indifference to life.”