Credibility of Planned Parenthood undercover videos restored, but not our broken cultural trust

When trust totally breaks down, intimacy becomes impossible. We see and hear everything through that grid of mistrust. Marriages spiral into divorce.

When trust totally breaks down in a nation we see and hear everything through that grid of mistrust. We turn to relationships and voices that share our values. An organization with a different value on life, a boy with a different red hat is immediately suspect. Nations spiral into political divorce. Unity withers and dies.

It’s been a nasty week in the trenches of broken cultural trust—the boys of Covington Catholic School getting attacked because white males in red MAGA hats face-to-face with native Americans beating drums are automatically seen as toxic and racist.

But on the other hand, Planned Parenthood’s campaign to discredit and quash the undercover videos taken by citizen journalist David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress are gaining legal credibility and power. When the videos were first released in July 2015 I posted them and urged readers to read them and share them before Planned Parenthood shut them down.

Within weeks PP persuaded a California judge to issue a restraining order against releasing any more videos. But that was only the beginning of their furious response. They hired a law firm that shared their values to review the videos and undermine their credibility. Perhaps you’ve heard of them: Fusion GPS. The same law firm that shepherded the release of the Steele Dossier.

Fusion reviewed some of the videos, but not all. They found “no evidence that CMP inserted dialogue not spoken by Planned Parenthood staff,”and added “It is not possible to estimate the extent to which CMP’s undisclosed edits and cuts distort the meaning of the first California video. However, the blatant manipulation of this video renders it useless as ‘evidence’ and means it cannot be relied upon in official inquiries as a credible record of events unless the record is supplemented by CMP’s original unedited material.”

In other words, Planned Parenthood leadership did indeed utter every word on the videos. But edits may have omitted context that would change the meaning. And the videos are useless as evidence.

Like Obi Wan telling the Star Wars Storm Troopers, “These are not the droids you’re looking for,” Planned Parenthood repeated that GPS Fusion conclusion in all their reports and interviews and the mainstream media repeated it ad nauseum. So everyone who is pro-abortion and trusts Planned Parenthood is convinced that the videos are not trustworthy. End of story.

Except, this week the 5th Circuit Court did not agree

They ruled that “the (lower) district court stated, inaccurately, that the CMP video has not been authenticated and suggested that it may have been edited.” “In fact, the record reflects that the OIG had submitted a report from a forensic firm concluding that the video was authentic and not deceptively edited. And the plaintiffs (PP) did not identify any particular omission or addition to the video footage.”

In other words, we see enough video in PP’s own words to know what they mean and they themselves did not offer any examples of what they might have actually said or not said that would change the plain meaning that we hear in the video. The videos are authentic and credible. And may be used as evidence.

And the State of Texas will continue to use them to make the case that PP is not a professional, qualified provider of healthcare because they will commit partial birth abortions to get specimens intact and then sell them for profit, both against the law and medical ethics. Therefore they will continue to fight to withhold millions in Medicaid payments.

In their report on this week’s 5th Circuit ruling, ABC still repeated GPS Fusion’s analysis that the videos were “heavily edited.” It will be difficult to convince friends of PP  that the videos are credible.

The fight ahead

On February 19th David Daleiden will go to court to fight 14 felony charges for under-cover filming and 1 charge of conspiracy. In 2015 then California Attorney General Kamala Harris, in consultation with PP, had his home raided and his equipment seized. The new AG filed the charges.

As Daleiden told the March for Life this weekend, “This is the first and only time a citizen journalist has ever been charged with a crime for undercover recording. It’s identical to the kind routinely taped and published by established California news outlets.

“The California recording law prohibits recording ‘confidential communications.’ That excludes any communications made in a public area where third parties can overhear. Every single recording the AG is charging me with occurred in a public accommodations setting. Third parties could and did overhear the conversations. You can see it on the tapes!”

If these videos of Planned Parenthood’s practices to sell baby parts have grieved you, then please pray for David. Pray for justice to roll down like mighty waters. Pray that the judge and jurors will not discriminate against him because he is pro-life but look to the plain meaning of the law and the videos and our constitutional protections of free speech. Pray that he will be cleared of all charges.

Pray that God will heal our land and we ourselves will not be blinded by broken trust. But that God would give us discernment to follow his law and the moral laws of our land.

Lael writes and speaks about faith and culture and how God renews our vision and desire for Him and his Kingdom. She earned a master's degree (MAT) in the history of ideas from the University of Texas at Dallas, and has taught Western culture and apologetics at secular and Christian schools and colleges. Her long-term experience with rheumatoid arthritis and being a pastor’s wife has deepened her desire to minister to the whole person—mind, heart, soul and spirit. Lael has co-hosted a talk radio program, The Things That Matter Most, on secular stations in Houston and Dallas about what we believe and why we believe it with guests as diverse as Dr. Deepak Chopra, atheist Sam Harris and VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer. (Programs are archived on the website.) Lael has authored four books, including a March 2011 soft paper edition of A Faith and Culture Devotional (now titled Faith and Culture: A Guide to a Culture Shaped by Faith), Godsight, and Worldproofing Your Kids. Lael’s writing has also been featured in Focus on the Family and World magazines, and she has appeared on many national radio and television programs. Lael and her husband, Jack, now make their home in South Carolina.