Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta admitted to Planned Parenthood’s CEO that the videos alleging the abortion business’s sale of fetal body parts were damaging.
WikiLeaks reveals an email thread dated July 23, 2015 – a little more than a week following the release of Center for Medical Progress’s (CMP) first video – showing Podesta admitting to Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards that the video scandal “hurt,” but that it “took a little convincing.”
Podesta was responding to Richards’ email with the subject line “Thanks,” in which she likely expressed gratitude to the campaign for Clinton’s open defense of the abortion giant in South Carolina.
“For more than a century, Planned Parenthood has provided essential services for women,” Clinton said.
“I think it is unfortunate that Planned Parenthood has been the object of such a concerted attack for so many years,” she reportedly added. “And it’s really an attack against a woman’s right to choose, to make the most personal, difficult decisions that any woman would face, based on her faith and the medical advice that she’s given.”
“Yup,” Podesta wrote to Richards. “Took a little convincing. The tapes do hurt.”
CMP’s first video, released July 14, 2015, purported to show Planned Parenthood chief medical officer Dr. Deborah Nucatola discussing how to abort a baby intact in order to maximize the chances its body parts can be transferred to biomedical procurement companies.
As more videos were released, Clinton dodged questions about them.
On July 28, 2015, Clinton talked publicly about the video scandal in New Hampshire. Speaking to the Union Leader, she said she found the videos “disturbing.”
Breitbart News reported at the time:
Clinton did not explain specifically what she found disturbing about the pictures she saw from the videos. She did not explain how they would be disturbing if abortion only deals with clumps of cells, entities that are not yet human or persons — arguments commonly made by abortion advocates.
Clinton went on the defend Planned Parenthood for all the good work she claims they do, including breast cancer screenings, something that has been disproven by the group Live Action, which actually called dozens of Planned Parenthood clinics asking for such screenings and was turned away.
Clinton said any Congressional inquiries should not focus just on Planned Parenthood but “should look at everything and not just one (organization).” She also said any inquiry should look “at the whole process.” Whether by “process” she means the wholesale and retail trade in body parts was not made clear.
Then, in mid-September of 2015, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Clinton, “Are you confident that Planned Parenthood, Madame Secretary, or any of its affiliated groups, if you will, haven’t violated any federal laws?”
Clinton responded by evading the question:
Well, Wolf, let me tell you what I know, and that is, there is a willingness on the part of Planned Parenthood to answer questions. They have been doing so. Some people may not want to hear the answers, but they have certainly put those answers out there, into the public arena. And if the issue, the core issue that some on the stage last night, or some in the Congress are trying to promote, or trying to raise questions about, has to do with the kind of research that is done, legally, in the United States, then that is an issue that goes far beyond any Planned Parenthood example. So, I think it’s important to sort out. There’s a lot of emotion. There’s a lot of accusations that are being hurled about. I think it’s important to sort out, and try to actually figure out what is going on. If it’s the services that they are trying to shut down, like providing family planning, or breast cancer screenings, that is just wrong, and women deserve to be given support, to get those services provided. If they want to shut down the legal provision of abortion services, then they’ve got a bigger problem, because obviously, they –Planned Parenthood does not use federal dollars to do that. And if they are more focused on the research that is going on, then that’s a set of issues that certainly, is not only about Planned Parenthood. So, I would hope that the Republicans, and particularly the Republicans in the House, led by Speaker [Rep. John] Boehner (R-OH) would not put our country and our economy in peril, pursuing some kind of emotionally, politically-charged, partisan attack on Planned Parenthood to shut our government down. I think that would be a very, very unfortunate decision.
On September 24, 2015 – a week after Clinton’s CNN interview – Podesta emailed Richards again, this time asking her to call him.
“I know you are up to your ass in alligators, but can you give me a call,” he wrote. “Take 5 minutes.”