White House spokesman Josh Earnest today admitted that statements by abortion advocates recorded in the undercover Planned Parenthood videos were “disturbing.”
“What is clear is that the comments that are included on some of the videos that have been released are disturbing,” Earnest told reporters today at the White House.
But he also suggested the continued controversy is over. “The leadership of Planned Parenthood has apologized for those comments and that was appropriate,” he said.
Earnest also tried to blur the political impact of the shocking videos — which show Planned Parenthood officials offering to trade the organs of aborted babies for cash — by claiming that the videos “may or may not have been taken out of context.”
Yet when he was asked if he had seen any of the videos, Earnest conceded that he had only seen short clips aired on television. “I have certainly seen the coverage of the videos and I’ve seen some of the snippets that have been shown on television, but I have not watched the videos in their entirety.”
Earnest argued that Republicans would be wrong to try to stop taxpayer funding for the organization, and accused Republicans of a “coordinated attempt” to block women from getting health care, and then claimed that any attempt to bar funding in the 2017 federal budget would be “grossly irresponsible” and “irrational.”
In the 12 months up to June 2013, Planned Parenthood received $540 million in federal funding for various activities. The federal finding does not directly fund abortions, but does help pay the group’s operating costs.