Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Planned Parenthood Federation Of America fights back against & Australia's misogynist-in-chief Tony Abbott flies in to support, anti-abortion extremists

On 14 January 2016 Planned Parenthood Federation Of America, Inc. (PPFA) had finally had enough and filed a complaint in the United States District Court, Northern District Of California, San Francisco Division – alleging a criminal enterprise with the ultimate goal of interfering with women’s access to legal abortion.

“Defendants then went public with a vicious online video smear campaign, releasing a series of YouTube videos purporting to show that Planned Parenthood violated federal law related to tissue donation. In fact, these videos were heavily manipulated, with critical content deliberately deleted, and disconnected portions sewn together to create a misleading impression.

According to expert forensic analysis, Defendants “heavily edited the short videos so as to misrepresent statements made by Planned Parenthood’s representatives.” As a consequence, the experts concluded that the videos “cannot be relied upon for any official inquiries” and “also lacked credibility as journalistic products.” [US District Court, Northern District of California, Case 3:16-cv-00236, Document 1, pp3-4]

Excerpt from Planned Parenthood Federation Media Release of 14 January 2016:

The civil lawsuit, filed in San Francisco, outlines how the defendants – including David Daleiden, Troy Newman, Albin Rhomberg, Sandra Merritt, Gerardo Lopez, Phillip Cronin, the Center for Medical Progress, and BioMax – engaged in a complex criminal enterprise to defraud Planned Parenthood and prevent the health care organization from providing preventive and reproductive health services to millions of women and men. The lawsuit charges that CMP, its leaders, and co-conspirators engaged in illegal conduct that includes violating the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO Act) and engaging in wire fraud, mail fraud, invasion of privacy, illegal secret recording, and trespassing.
Over the course of nearly three years, Daleiden, Newman, and other principals used aliases, obtained fake government I.D.s, and formed a fake tissue procurement company, Biomax, in an effort to worm their way into private medical conferences and health care centers. They also illegally taped private professional conversations of doctors and other medical providers and spliced together shards of long conversations to create short videos in order to spread false claims that Planned Parenthood “sells” or profits from women’s decisions to donate fetal tissue for medical research. In fact, Planned Parenthood has never sold fetal tissue or facilitated fetal tissue donation in order to make a profit.

One of the first federal flow-on effects of this alleged “criminal enterprise” was that in August 2015 the heavily Republican-dominated Senate Oversight & Government Reform Committee commenced what can only be described as an inquiry which was openly hostile to the Planned Parenthood Federation.

Interestingly, although this committee sought copies of the pro-life videos it did not actually investigate the allegation that PPFA was selling foetal body parts – it appears to have only examined service delivery figures, financial records and degree of government funding. No finding was made that PPFA had acted unlawfully.

On 8 January 2016 The New York Times reported on the outcome of the U.S. Senate passing a bill to defund Planned Parenthood:

WASHINGTON — President Obama vetoed legislation Friday that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act and stripped all federal funds from Planned Parenthood, writing in his veto message that the measure would “reverse the significant progress we have made in improving health care in America.”
Mr. Obama’s veto — only the eighth of his presidency — was expected, and his decision to issue a simple message without holding a public ceremony indicated that he did not wish to draw attention to the showdown. Republicans do not have the votes in the House or the Senate to override the veto.

On 14 January 2016 The Huffington Post stated:

Multiple investigations by state governments and congressional committees have turned up no evidence that Planned Parenthood violated the law. 

However facts don’t stop online pro-life media such as from continuing to assert the contrary.

Nor did the Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund) cease its pursuit of Planned Parenthood as evidenced by this page on its website and a media release on 22 January 2016 which begins:

MADISON, Wis. – An Alliance Defending Freedom public records request has revealed that Planned Parenthood’s Wisconsin affiliate provided researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison with the hearts and brains of unborn babies up to 18 weeks old and within five minutes of being aborted despite the fact that both UW and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin have denied any such exchange.

The revelation comes on the heels of the state Senate’s passage Wednesday of a bill that will significantly restrict tax funding for Planned Parenthood if the governor signs the measure, and comes in the midst of discussion in the Assembly on a bill that would ban research at UW on recently aborted babies.

“Planned Parenthood has once again demonstrated its willingness to cover up its role in the gruesome baby parts trade,” said ADF Senior Counsel Matt Bowman. “Both Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and UW-Madison publicly denied they had any arrangement to supply baby parts from women undergoing abortion to researchers conducting gruesome experiments, but the documents we obtained prove they were not telling the truth.”

According to The New York Times, 11 May 2014:

Alliance Defending Freedom was created by Christian leaders including Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, and James C. Dobson Jr., the founder of Focus on the Family. In the early 1990s the groups had watched with growing dismay as secular groups like the American Civil Liberties Union used the courts to ban school prayer and advance abortion rights even as an emerging gay-rights movement threatened, in their view, to upend the country’s social values.
“People of faith were being outgunned in court,” said Mr. Sears, 62, a Roman Catholic in an organization populated with evangelical Protestants. So the group — then called the Alliance Defense Fund — was founded to foster Christian legal firepower.

Political Reseach Associates states that in 2010 Alliance Defending Freedom was granted United Nations ECOSOC15 special consultative status. This status is significant because it gives them virtually unfettered access to U.N. missions during key convention and treaty-drafting meetings. They advocate face-to-face with delegates and help them develop rights-limiting language for inclusion in U.N. documents

As a registered charity it has built up a war chest in the vicinity of $40 million which appears to be derived primarily from contributions. Some of which are suspected to come from time to time from the tobacco industry, given that by 1996 Phillip Morris appears to have had reason to believe that two of Alliance Defending Freedom's founders Bill Bright and James Dobson were ministers who respected their views.

Given this right-wing group's profile it is not outside the realms of possibility that Alliance Defending Freedom is supported by the Koch Brothers.

As Alliance Defense Fund in 2008 it attempted to provoke a challenge to a law that bars religious organizations and other nonprofits that accept tax-deductible contributions from involvement in partisan political campaigns.

In 2013 as Alliance Defending Freedom it began a court action against Planned Parenthood in Colorado which it subsequently lost in 2014. In the same year it commenced reinstated legal proceedings against  Planned Parenthood in Iowa. In 2015 it successfully sued to have abortion-free healthcare plans created in Rhode Island. In January this year it funded an application to the U.S. Supreme Court to vary Washington state rules relating to the dispensing of birth control drugs to allow pharmacists to refuse these drugs to women and refer them elsewhere. 

Political Research Associates believes that Alliance Defending Freedom has funded and conducted 500 court cases since its inception - not just in U.S. courts, but also in six continents and 41 countries, including Argentina, Belize, Honduras, Mexico,Peru, Slovakia, and India. In 2007 alone it is believed to have spent $3.9 million on direct litigation according to Source Watch.

The American right-wing opposition to a woman's right to choose also has an additional international flavour, with former Australian Prime Minister and current MP for Warringah Tony Abbott, in his relentless pursuit of both money and headlines, flying to America yesterday in an apparent show of support for these right-wing religious extremists.

Abbott is one of three speakers at a dinner with this aim according to Alliance Defending Freedom quoted in The Australian newspaper on 26 January:“the goal of the dinner is to bring together approximately 150 high-level UN-related persons, focused primarily on ambassadors and other high-level diplomats and ministers, to highlight the crucial importance of promoting and protecting the family at the UN. Our overall objective is to inspire and motivate member state representatives, at the highest political levels, to remain staunch defenders of the traditional family, in the face of immense pressure from the UN-system and other member states.’’

Abbott himself appears to have made no public mention of his intention to support this extremist group as there was no media release published on his website as of 26 January and no mention on his Twitter account.

While Abbott was blissfully winging his way to the United States matters were still progressing through the American courts and on 26 January 2016 ABC13 Eyewitness News reported something that sounded suspiciously like Harris County,Texas, karma being visited on two particular individuals named in Planned Parenthood's current Californian lawsuit:

A Harris County grand jury investigating an undercover video of Planned Parenthood found no wrongdoing by the organization, and instead decided to indict the anti-abortion activists involved in making the video.

The grand jury studied the case alleging misconduct by a Planned Parenthood in Houston for more than two months and decided that no laws were broken. However indictments were handed down for two people involved in making allegations against Planned Parenthood.

David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt have both been indicted by the grand jury for Tampering with a Governmental Record. An additional indictment for Prohibition of the Purchase and Sale of Human Organs has been issued for Daleiden.

"We were called upon to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast," said Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson. "As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case."

The reaction in Australia to Tony Abbott's latest antic has been restrained but pointed in the mainstream media......

The Age, 25 January 2016:

Fresh from giving new hope to disaffected conservative Liberals by staying in federal politics, Tony Abbott will fly to the United States on Tuesday to gee-up one of the religious right's most reactionary bodies, the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Mr Abbott, who is being accompanied by wife Margie, will give a speech on the topic of "the importance of family" to the pro-Christian, Republican-aligned lobby, which opposes abortion, wants to end gay marriage and is pushing to roll back some feminist advances.

The speech comes as the primary race for the presidential nomination approaches fever pitch, with contenders on the Republican side scrambling to secure the overwhelmingly Christian "Tea Party" base.

The Alliance Defending Freedom's founding president, Alan Sears, is a regular conservative voice on Rupert Murdoch's Fox News channel and co-authored the 2003 book, The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Liberty Today.

With Craig Osten, Sears argued that America's growing tolerance of homosexuality was being achieved through the indoctrination of children, tacit support of corporate America, and through "positive" television depictions of alternative family structures.

The ADF has attracted trenchant criticism from the left for opposing "tolerance training" for schools aimed at reducing bullying of LGBTI students. Instead, it proposed "truth days", in which homosexual behaviour was openly discussed as sinful.....

The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 January 2016:

A spokesman for the group told Fairfax Media in a statement that Mr Abbott, who "has been a strong advocate for marriage and freedom throughout his career", had "graciously agreed to address our private event".

But the spokesman declined to explain the nature of the event, say where or when it was to be held, or say if Mr Abbott was being paid for his attendance.

The news came as a US lawyer associated with the group was arrested on child pornography charges, after being accused of taking a teenager across the border to Canada, where they engaged in sexual activity that was then filmed….

The ADF has intervened in the landmark case Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, which opened the door for wealthy corporations and individuals, such as those who have donated huge sums to the ADF, to flood the US political system with money.

The ADF also assisted on a case which affirmed the right of St Patrick's Day Parade organisers to exclude homosexuals and to allow the Scouts to discriminate against gays. One of the most controversial cases involving the ADF was a bill in the Arizona legislature that would have allowed private businesses to discriminate against homosexuals. The bill was so extreme it was rejected by a conservative Republican governor.... 

Tony Abbott's family have been equally restrained...... 26 January 2916:

THE sister of former prime minister Tony Abbott says she is “disappointed” over his plans to address an anti-gay group in the US…..
Christine Forster, Mr Abbott’s youngest sister and a prominent same-sex marriage campaigner, told Fairfax Media she was “surprised”….

Although Alliance Defending Freedom initially espoused seeking to recover the robust Christendomic theology of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries it happily avails itself of 21st century digital technology – including an official Facebook page and a Twitter account @AllianceDefends.

So this blog post will be tweeted to Alliance Defends to let its supporters know that Tony Abbott’s world view is not one shared by the majority of Australians and, that even his own political party could no longer tolerate him as Australia’s prime minister.

I also invite readers to consider tweeting their own opinions on the subject to Alliance Defends.


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