Josh M. Shepherd

Opinion

5 key moments from the first hearing to investigate Planned Parenthood – in videos and photos

Josh M. Shepherd
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Four key witnesses testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Sept. 9, 2015 Josh Shepherd
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A diverse crowd, with a smattering of pink Planned Parenthood shirts, showed up for the tense hearing Josh Shepherd
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Gianna Jessen testifies before the House Judiciary Committee, Sept. 9, 2015 Josh Shepherd
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Trent Franks asks the House Judiciary Committee to consider what is just for helpless babies Josh Shepherd
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Abortion rights advocate Priscilla Smith expressed that dismemberment is “humane” Josh Shepherd
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Melissa Ohden speaks up for abortion survivors, including those who have been adopted
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Rep. Randy Forbes asks abortion advocates if is there any line too far

September 16, 2015 (Bound4Life) -- Behind closed doors, Planned Parenthood officials admit what they fear most. Yet even in a public testimony, what is hidden may be revealed.

In the most recent investigative video, Deb VanDerhei of Planned Parenthood refers to past revelations regarding the group’s abortion procedures: “It sparked a Congressional hearing and some federal legislation… so we just want to not have to repeat that again.”

Public hearings and new bills proposed to protect women and pre-born children are exactly how pro-life leaders in Congress have responded in the wake of the undercover video exposé.

Both sides of the abortion debate recently packed out the first Congressional hearing investigating Planned Parenthood, as the House Judiciary Committee convened key witnesses for “Examining the Horrific Abortion Practices at the Nation’s Largest Abortion Provider.” 

1. Gianna Jessen, the Abortion Survivor Whose Story Went Viral

In a video now seen by millions, Gianna Jessen shared her powerful story of surviving an abortion.

“My biological mother was seven and a half months pregnant when she went to a Planned Parenthood,” Jessen began. “They advised her to have a late-term saline abortion.” She continues on, recounting her life events that inspired the film October Baby.

After laying out the facts, Jessen offered what she believes her story means: “You have failed in your arrogance and greed to see one thing: it is often from the weakest among us that we learn wisdom – something sorely lacking in our nation today.”

This hearing marked the first time many mainstream outlets covered the Planned Parenthood scandal, though bias was still apparent in the coverage.

“Abortion ‘survivors’ criticize Planned Parenthood on Capitol Hill” read one Los Angeles Times headline, attempting to cast doubt on Jessen’s survival account.

2. The One Thing that Should Make a Grown Man Cry

Representative Trent Franks of Arizona made the most of his opening statement—not only bringing others to tears, but himself:

“It is the worst human rights atrocity in the history of the United States of America,” Franks said of abortion.

“I beg you to open your own hearts and ask yourselves: What is so liberating about brutally and painfully dismembering living, helpless, little human babies?” he asked.

3. Committee Chairman Hones in on One Question: What is Humane?

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte opened a discussion of Supreme Court case law—a topic which gets technical, though ultimately pertains to the humanity of the unborn child.

“Is this a humane way to die?” he first asked Priscilla Smith, Program Director for the Study of Reproductive Justice at Yale Law School, after describing a common abortion procedure.

“Yes, a D&E procedure is a very humane procedure,” Smith replied—to the shock of the two abortion survivors seated on either side of her.

“I have to say, your view of humanity and mine are different,” Goodlatte said pointedly to Smith. Giving Gianna Jessen an opportunity to respond, she commented: “I’m speechless with Ms. Smith’s reply – she thinks that’s a humane way to die?”

4. Melissa Ohden Gives a Name and a Face to Abortion Statistics

Founder of the Abortion Survivors Network, Melissa Ohden opened her testimony with one large number: 327,653. It’s the most recent figure of abortions performed annually by Planned Parenthood.

“I find this horrific because I actually have a lot in common with them,” Ohden began. “I was meant to be one of them. But by the grace of God, I am more than a statistic.”

“Saline infusion for an abortion was done, but was unsuccessful,” she shared, showing medical records on-screen. “If my birth mother’s abortion would have taken place at a ‪Planned Parenthood, I would not be here today.”

Ohden concluded, “There is something wrong when health care, women’s needs and women’s empowerment is based on someone’s life ending.”

5. Pulling Back the Curtain on Injustice Against the Vulnerable

Representative Randy Forbes, known for his long association with the Congressional Prayer Caucus, centered the hearing back on the undercover videos – specifically certain voices in the media and Congress who refuse to see them as legitimate.

“It baffles me – not that we have disagreements,” said Forbes. “But that these voices who cry out, ‘Don’t look at this act!’ can find no point that’s too far, no point that’s too brutal or inhumane. Then they dare suggest that we are extreme?”

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“For anybody to say this procedure is humane and acceptable – just defies my imagination,” Forbes concluded. “I can’t imagine that happening to one of my pets, much less an unborn child.”

The investigation of Planned Parenthood continues this week with another public hearing. Considering four different committees are actively involved, leaders in the U.S. House have created an investigation fact sheet and timeline being updated periodically.   

While many media reports noted the pro-abortion group’s lack of involvement in the initial hearing, the fact sheet documents three private meetings committee staff have held with high-level Planned Parenthood officials. 

“A testimony of answered prayer is building,” Bound4LIFE Director Matt Lockett observed recently. He urges believers to pray steadfastly during this critical time: “We must be faithful and patient to see it all the way through. Be a voice again, both in the courts of heaven and on the earth.”

Reprinted with permission from Bound4Life

 

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