The Texas Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee, like politicians in several other states, is taking advantage of the heavily edited videos by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress which purport to show Planned Parenthood illegally selling fetal tissue. At the same time, a Planned Parenthood in Houston says they believe they’ll be the subject of the CMP’s next video.

The Center for Medical Progress has released two videos so far, both centering on Planned Parenthood employees in California. The Texas Tribune reports that Planned Parenthood officials in Houston think they’ll be next:

Two people “fraudulently representing themselves” as research executives and providing fake California driver’s licenses toured the Planned Parenthood facility in April “under the guise of discussing tissue research with our clinic research staff,” said Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast spokeswoman Rochelle Tafolla.

“We suspect that they were secretly taping those conversations and those interactions in our building will be included in another of their highly edited and deceptive videos,” Tafolla said of the Center for Medical Progress.

Texas is a particularly smart case to peddle this particular brand of anti-abortion wares, given that their politicians have long tried to make it as hard as possible for Planned Parenthood to operate in the state, repeatedly knee-capping family planning funding as a way to hurt them (and every other family planning provider in the state).

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has already said the state is “investigating” Planned Parenthood. As the Tribune reports, the HHS committee has a hearing set for Wednesday where they’ll explore whether PP broke any laws and, knowing Texas, will probably conclude that they have. From the summary of what the hearing’s purpose is:

The committee will meet to examine the business practices and regulatory structure of Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas, and to investigate whether state or federal laws are being broken by Planned Parenthood and/or its affiliates in Texas in regards to the donation and/or sale of fetal tissue. The committee will consider recommendations to strengthen regulations on abortion providers, including further restrictions on the sale of fetal tissue by these entities.

In a press release, Planned Parenthood said they believe lawmakers on the committee were given early access by the CMP to a video that hasn’t been released yet:

The group behind this fraud has executed 10 separate attack campaigns like this over the last eight years in an effort to ban abortion and block women’s access to care at Planned Parenthood. It also, as Planned Parenthood detailed in a letter last night to Texas State Senator Charles Schwertner, Chairman of the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee, appears that the group may also be working behind the scenes with the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee, by privately providing them with the video illegally obtained ahead of a public hearing scheduled Wednesday.

Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards also attacked the group, saying they have “zero credibility:”

“The folks behind this attack are part of the most militant wing of the anti-abortion movement —- that has been behind the bombing of clinics, and the murder of doctors in their homes and in their churches. This latest revelation shows that they made an incredible violation of women’s privacy. Let’s be clear: this group has zero credibility. They set up a fake company, they apparently used fake government IDs, they’ve faked tax filings and completely falsified what they were about, and have shown they would do anything in their quest to end safe and legal abortion.”

In an apparently unrelated attack, the Daily Dot reports that Planned Parenthood’s databases were hacked Sunday night by a group calling themselves 3301, who released names and addresses of the company’s employees. The hackers told the Daily Dot they also plan to release emails from the organization “soon,” telling reporter William Turton they’re “social justice warriors” doing this for political reasons. From one of them, who identified themselves as “E:”

“Trying to mold an atrocious monstrosity into socially acceptable behaviors is repulsive,” said E. “Obviously what [Planned Parenthood] does is a very ominous practice. It’ll be interesting to see what surfaces when [Planned Parenthood] is stripped naked and exposed to the public.”

Update, 4:40 p.m.:

Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood, released the following statement on the hacking, saying they’ve notified both the Department of Justice and the FBI.

“Today Planned Parenthood has notified the Department of Justice and separately the FBI that extremists who oppose Planned Parenthood’s mission and services have launched an attack on our information systems, and have called on the world’s most sophisticated hackers to assist them in breaching our systems and threatening the privacy and safety of our staff members. We are working with top leaders in this field to manage these attacks. We treat matters of safety and security with the utmost importance, and are taking every measure possible to mitigate these criminal efforts to undermine our mission and services.

“Planned Parenthood is the most trusted women’s health care provider in this country, and anti-abortion extremists are willing to do anything to stop women from accessing the reproductive health care they are seeking. Extremists have broken laws, harassed our doctors and patients, produced hack videos, and now are claiming to have committed a gross invasion of privacy — one that, if true, could potentially put our staff members at risk.

“No matter what extremist acts those who oppose safe and legal abortion commit, the fact remains that women and men across America will still need access to basic, reproductive health care: life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and treatment, well-woman exams, and yes, safe and legal abortion. As always, we will continue to provide that care, and serve the 2.7 million women, men and young people who rely on us each year.”


Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.
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Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in Houston. Screengrab via Fox

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