Recently Planned Parenthood has been entangled in what their president Cecile Richards refers to as a “smear campaign.” Accused of selling fetal parts by way of highly suspect videos from anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress, Congress has initiated investigations into the organization. Yet some of those howling loudest once pushed for fetal tissue donation.

In the July 27 edition of MSNBC’s NOW With Alex Wagner, Jess McIntosh, Communications Director of Emily’s List, argues that this moralistic about face stems from the “embarrassing [Republican] presidential primary.” With a ludicrous frontrunner like Donald Trump, the GOP needs “a thing” — that is to say, a seductive target for moral outrage.

And unfortunately, Republican Congress has plenty of fodder. The Center for Medical Progress released a third graphic video on July 28 and threatens to make public roughly 10 more in the coming weeks and months. Word on the street is that some of this “footage” will incorporate racialized components. McIntosh nonetheless asserts that the GOP’s attack on Planned Parenthood does not inhere any meaningful effort to win black votes.

And yet Sarah Palin, our favorite—and extremely relevant—Alaskan princess finds race a useful tool in the attempt to deflate Planned Parenthood’s influence. She urges followers of her Facebook page to contemplate an absolutely monstrous comparison between the organization and—I’m sorry to even type this—the Confederate flag. Which of these, she asks, “killed 90,000 black babies last year?” But I have, I think, a more pressing question, and a request: How else are you spending your time these days, Sarah? Please continue doing that.

The fundamental propellant to these investigations is the fertile ground of controversy. As Sam Stein from the Huffington Post and McIntosh point out, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell voted in favor of fetal tissue donation in 1993, when it was “non controversial.” He was joined by fellow Republicans Lamar Smith, from Texas, and Fred Upton, from Michigan. Now, however, McConnell determinedly pushes a bill to defund Planned Parenthood through the Senate, explaining that “what we saw [in the videos] was very, very disturbing. I’ve not been a fan of funding them in the past and that remains my position.”

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Planned Parenthood has denounced these videos as vicious fabrications, and they have provided video evidence that they do not sell fetal parts for profit. Still, Republications remain dissatisfied. Perhaps they consider it in their best interest to remain so.


Contact the author at rachel.vorona.cote@jezebel.com.

Image via Getty.