It turned out that Planned Parenthood legally donates fetal tissue to medical research firms — when permission is given by women choosing abortion. This is entirely legal under a fetal tissue research law that was passed in 1992 with the votes of 30 Senate Republicans and had been supported by Ronald Reagan’s secretary of health and human services. Such tissue is used for medical research about treatments and cures for various illnesses, including diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Furthermore numerous investigations, including probes under the supervision of Republican governors like Florida’s Rick Scott, completely exonerated Planned Parenthood from any wrongdoing. States like Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Massachusetts, Georgia, Indiana, Florida and Missouri, among others, found zero evidence that any clinics had illegally sold fetal tissue.
Once again, the facts were irrelevant. Republicans used these videos as props to engage in their party’s most graphic crusade against Planned Parenthood to date. You might remember how then-presidential candidate Carly Fiorina falsely claimed to have seen a video of “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking” that was supposedly being kept alive so its organs could be harvested.
Even the moderate Republican in the field, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, signed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Naturally, multiple congressional and state votes took place with the goal of stripping away the organization’s funding – efforts that continue to this day with the inclusion of a defunding amendment in the Senate GOP’s health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act.