In the wake of losing their battle to defund Planned Parenthood in the latest budget fight, Republicans tried to extract their pound of flesh from the women’s health organization by holding a farcical hearing on Tuesday. The main point of the House Oversight Committee’s hearing seemed to be to browbeat PP president Cecile Richards for five hours over recently released videos from an anti-choice group, among other things. After it was all said and done, even many pro-lifers felt the Republican committee members went overboard with their antics, as Richards came across as a sympathetic figure due to their clownish behavior.
The one person who may have come off looking the worst after the hearing was the committee’s chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). In his opening statement, he essentially blamed Planned Parenthood for the death of both of his parents from cancer, as he reasoned that any federal money that goes to organizations that aren’t devoted to cancer research hurts those are devoted to studying and preventing cancer. That was followed by Chaffetz constantly interrupting Richards during while asking her questions and shaming her for the salary she makes as president.
However, the moment where he truly jumped the shark was when he pulled out a chart that appeared to show that Planned Parenthood had performed more abortions than cancer screenings in recent years. He thought he had Richards in a gotcha moment, stating that this chart was derived from PP’s own records. However, Richards pointed out that Chaffetz had actually pulled the deceptive chart, which had no y-axis, from an anti-abortion group called Americans United for Life, leaving Chaffetz a bit flustered. Following the hearing, the Congressman was widely mocked for the ham-fisted attempt to push false data.
During a Wednesday interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Chaffetz amazingly stood by the chart and said that the numbers are accurate. The Utah Republican did concede that the arrows may have been a little misleading, but he was just trying to portray that PP is performing more abortions while offering fewer non-abortion services.
“I stand by the numbers. I can understand where people would say the arrows went different directions, but the numbers are accurate. And that’s what we were trying to portray.”
Blitzer, who is normally a quivering bowl of pandering jelly, did push back a bit on Chaffetz’s assertions regarding the chart and Planned Parenthood. The CNN host stated that the organization does provide far more cancer and STD screenings, birth control options and other essential services in comparison with abortions, and even his own misleading chart shows that. In fact, despite Chaffetz’s proclamation that PP is devoting itself more towards just abortion, actual numbers show that non-abortion services have remained steady over the past decade.
The rest of the interview was pretty terrible. Obviously knowing that his dog and pony show was a disaster, and Planned Parenthood isn’t going to lose its federal funding any time soon, Chaffetz tried to make his case that PP is an evil institution that wastes money on frivolities by invoking his dead parents once again.
“You make it sound so sweet, but there are a lot of other things that they are doing with those: shared employees, shared assets, shared email lists that are engaged in these political activities. They’re so flush with cash, they spent tens of millions of dollars over the course of years sending it overseas. When they’re buying first class air travel and chartering aircraft … it doesn’t really sound like all that money’s really going to help that poor young woman who’s looking for a little health care.
So don’t tell me that I don’t care about this when I lost my mother to this, when my dad died from cancer, when my wife works on this. There is a better way to do this… I am tired of getting lectures from these Democrats that try to say we don’t care about women. That is just absolutely offensive.”
Below is video of the interview, courtesy of CNN: