It’s been about six months since sham videographer David Daleiden admitted to CNN that his infamous “evil Planned Parenthood makes money off dead babies” videos were P.T. Barnum levels of fake. Undeterred by Daleiden’s not-at-all-shocking admission, Republicans have continued pursuing their goal of shutting Planned Parenthood and fetal tissue procurement organizations down. Now, the method of achieving that goal has taken a seriously twisted turn.
With Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., leading the charge, the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, in charge of investigating Planned Parenthood and fetal tissue procurement agencies by virtue of the claims in Daleiden’s videos, are about to issue 17 subpoenas to medical supply companies and laboratories that study fetal tissues.
The purpose of the subpoenas are to gather names of medical researchers, graduate students, lab techs, and administrative staff who work with fetal tissues to find cures for a wide range of diseases and conditions — Parkinson’s disease, the Zika virus, HIV, and other life-threatening conditions — because Rep. Blackburn and her ilk were apparently in a coma when Daleiden admitted to the fraud and not a single person has talked about it since.
Blackburn and her cohorts seem to still believe Daleiden’s lie, for Blackburn herself has spoken publicly about the reasoning for the subpoenas.
“We are going to review the business practices of these procurement organizations and do some investigating of how they have constructed a for-profit business model from selling baby body parts.”
If I may invoke the overused cliché, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
For universities, Blackburn’s absurd witch hunt is a deeply disturbing thing with which to contend. The House Select Panel on Infant Lives wants names, which could endanger the lives of men and women who work with fetal tissues if some deranged anti-abortion activist (like, I don’t know, Robert “Warrior for the Babies” Dear) decides to take matters into their own hands (like, you know, kill 3 people and injure 9 more in a Planned Parenthood clinic).
Of course, any information sent to
Abigail Williams Rep. Blackburn could have the names redacted, right? Wrong, that’s been tried. An earlier round of subpoenas issued by Blackburn and her troop demanded documents from more than 30 agencies for the purpose of reviewing conversations between medical supply companies and researchers in hopes that something incriminating may turn up. These groups, who also have the capacity to use common sense and realize the potential danger that could come to the people named the documents, redacted the names.
No such luxury exists with the current crop of subpoenas. No redacting.
Rep. Blackburn’s motives for this whole damn thing have been the subject of scrutiny. Concerned that she is using the committee to lead a personal attack, Rep. Jarrod Nadler, R-N.Y., has spoken up about the implications of Rep. Blackburn’s obsessive fishing expedition.
“The [House Select Panel on Infant Lives] has no rules in place to protect the names of those subpoenaed — raising the possibility of Congress effectively painting targets on the backs of scientists and researchers for no particular reason other than the Republicans’ desire for a culture war.”
Rep. Nadler is correct in his assertion — the existence of this ridiculous panel, led by one of Washington’s more Gohmert-like politicians, shows that Republicans don’t care if the basis for their accusatory investigations has been repeatedly shown to be, as well as admitted to being, a farce. The videos were a lie. This committee is founded on a lie. This committee continues to perpetuate that lie.
That lie could get a lot of innocent people killed if another lunatic who wants to “save the babies” with guns they were able to get because of conservative-led resistance to gun control laws decides to take matters into their own hands.
There are consequences to the things we do. I suppose certain Republicans are ignorant of that fact, or they just don’t care.
Featured image by Gage Skidmore, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.