Hillary Clinton had to be persuaded to come out in defense of Planned Parenthood after its dealings in aborted baby parts was exposed, emails released by Wikileaks show.
Clinton was one of the first Democrats to break a nearly week-long silence after the Center for Medical Progress released undercover footage exposing Planned Parenthood’s harvesting and distribution of aborted fetal organs. After she publicly addressed the videos and defended the group July 23, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards sent an email to her campaign chairman John Podesta with the subject line “Thanks.”
“Yup,” Podesta replied. “Took a little convincing. The tapes do hurt.”
Clinton had issued what MSNBC called a “strong defense” of Planned Parenthood earlier that same day. She acknowledged the non-profit would face questions, but noted that Richards had already apologized for the tone of the conversation in the videos and praised Planned Parenthood’s provision of “essential services” for women.
“And I think it is unfortunate that Planned Parenthood has been the object of such a concerted attack for so many years,” Clinton said at a campaign rally. (RELATED: Key Points From The First Nine Planned Parenthood Videos)
Her remarks came on the heels of a second video released by CMP in which Planned Parenthood’s medical director is seen haggling over the price “per specimen” of fetal organs with undercover actors posing buyers. In the first video, a top Planned Parenthood doctor discusses the ins and outs of fetal harvesting while munching on a salad and sipping a glass of wine, at one point saying bluntly: “People want liver.”
Democrats waited nearly a week before coming to Planned Parenthood’s defense. MSNBC ran a story July 23 questioning if the group was actually in danger of losing the support of its political allies. Democrats had mostly been silent, the story noted. A few House Democrats had called for an investigation the day prior into CMP’s methods of obtaining the footage, and the White House had dismissed the controversy. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi had also publicly backed Planned Parenthood.
Until Clinton’s defense, the Democrats running for president appeared hesitant initially to back the group up, possibly for fear of more damning videos to come.
“I’m hoping this situation will not further undermine the very important services that Planned Parenthood provides across our country,” she said in her remarks.
NARAL has since hailed Clinton as the “most unapologetic champion” of abortion ever nominated for president, and Planned Parenthood has dumped an unprecedented amount of money into efforts to get her elected. In the Democratic primaries, she raised 20 times as much money from Planned Parenthood employees as her opponents, although they all had perfect or near-perfect pro-abortion voting records. And Planned Parenthood’s political arm recently launched a $30 million campaign to turn out millennial voters for Clinton.
Podesta and Richards apparently stayed in touch. A few days before she was called to testify about the tapes before Congress, he shot her an email. “I know you are up to your ass in alligators,” he wrote, “but can you give me a call. Take 5 minutes.”
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