At a Faith and Freedom Conference in Washington on Friday, GOP presidential hopeful Rep.Michele Bachmann (R-MN) sought to appeal to religious conservatives by blasting Planned Parenthood, which provides reproductive health services to poor women.
“We are giving money to corrupt organizations like Planned Parenthood that are committing crimes and enabling young minor girls and covering up issues I don’t even want to talk about it because it is so disgusting,” Bachmann fulminated.
“This organization has by their own records performed 324,008 abortions in 2008 and 2009,” she insisted, “and that’s in addition to the trafficking of underage girls that has gone on under Planned Parenthood’s nose.”
Asked what evidence there was to support Bachmann’s claims about involvement in sex trafficking, a spokesperson pointed to a heavily-edited video released last February by an associate of James O’Keefe, whose videos of ACORN employees allegedly fostering underage prostitution led to the Congressional defunding of that organization. Lisa Rose’s video similarly appeared to show a Planned Parenthood clinic manager advising a pimp on how to run his operation.
At the time, Planned Parenthood noted that it had previously the FBI of suspicious visits to a number of its clinics, suggesting the possibility of a hoax. It also fired the employee shown in the video. However, Rose has demanded that Congress defund Planned Parenthood, and Bachmann has now joined in that call.
Planned Parenthood responded to Bachmann’s charges with a statement saying, “The health and safety of patients is our No. 1 priority and Planned Parenthood has a zero-tolerance policy for any staff member who does not comply with the law in reporting threats to the welfare of a minor.”
Planned Parenthood, originally founded in 1921 as the American Birth Control League, is currently at the center of a heated battle between the Obama adminsitration and the state of Indiana. That state has attempted to ban the use of Medicaid funds at Planned Parenthood clinics on the grounds that they also perform abortions, and the administration has responded with a letter saying that such a ban is in violation of federal law.