Rep. Diane Black Blasts Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards: ‘Shameful’

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP

Rep. Diane Black blasted Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards for her attack on pro-life Americans during her appearance Sunday on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

Richards, who, according to a report in June by the American Life League, earns an annual salary of $590,928—a 40 percent increase since 2011—was asked about the undercover investigative videos in which senior medical officials of Planned Parenthood explained how they perform abortions to ensure aborted baby body parts can be harvested for sale to biomedical companies. She denied any wrongdoing, asserting that the “most disgusting thing” about the videos was that the producers “lied” to gain access to Planned Parenthood doctors.

Black, a nurse for over 40 years and a member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, is the author of the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, a measure that would, according to a press release, “place an immediate moratorium on all federal funding of Planned Parenthood for one year while Congress conducts a full investigation into the organization’s activities.”

The legislation is currently supported by 137 co-sponsors.

“The message today from Cecile Richards was essentially ‘Just trust us,’” Black said in a statement. “Nothing in Planned Parenthood’s previous track record or in these undercover videos suggests that we should do so.”

“Ms. Richards maintains that Planned Parenthood ‘does not at all profit from fetal tissue donation’ yet these videos clearly show one of the organization’s senior doctors haggling over the cost of aborted babies’ organs,” Black continued. “Ms. Richards further stated that ‘Planned Parenthood has broken no laws’ but its own employees were caught discussing plans to alter abortion procedures so as to leave the most lucrative organs intact – a violation of the NIH Revitalization Act – and even stating that the federal ban on partial birth abortion is ‘up to interpretation.’”

Blaming the Center for Medical Progress, the pro-life group that conducted the undercover investigations, Richards told Stephanopoulos that “the folks behind this, in fact, are part of the most militant wing of the anti-abortion movement that has been behind the bombings of clinics and the murders of doctors and their homes.”

“This entire effort is a completely political smear campaign in order to cut off funding for basic health care for women in America,” she continued.

“I think what’s important is the safety and the health of our patients and the women that we provide care to is essential. We take that first and foremost—that’s the most important thing,” she added. “These activists, these militant anti-abortion activists on the other hand, do nothing to improve the health and safety of women.”

In response to Richards’s remarks, Black said, “Unable to offer a proper defense for her organization’s shameful behavior, Ms. Richards instead launched attacks against pro-life Americans who are rightfully concerned about what these undercover videos have revealed.”

“She said we want to ‘cut off funding for basic health care for women’ when the truth is that defunding Planned Parenthood would not decrease the overall amount of funding for women’s healthcare,” the congresswoman asserted. “It would instead direct taxpayer dollars to other, more reputable providers like the nearly 1,200 federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) across the country that provide preventive care to low-income and vulnerable populations without performing abortions.”

Black also observed that Richards made no mention of whether the Planned Parenthood officials in the videos had been reprimanded or if the organizations had planned any reforms in the aftermath of the scandal.

“These are the questions that must be asked and answered directly during our upcoming congressional investigations,” Black said. “Ultimately, today’s interview only confirmed my belief that Congress must pass my legislation immediately to defund Planned Parenthood.”