Where There's Smoke...

The widely known and oft-repeated PolitiFact recently dubbed “False” Delegate John Obannon’s (R-73, Henrico) statement that Planned Parenthood had engaged in the sale of fetal body parts for profit. The basis of PolitiFact’s designation of “False” was that O’Bannon had failed to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that the sales actually did occur. In other words, since no criminal conviction has yet to be secured against Planned Parenthood, the Delegate’s claim is false.

That’s a high burden of proof to meet – one which society has determined must be met by a government prosecutor to convict a criminal defendant in a court of law, but not typically by any other persons for any other purpose.  Holding anyone who makes any assertion to this standard, let alone a legislator who asks a question on a constituent survey, is preposterous and makes any claim of opinion fallacious.  In fact, it makes every prosecutor in America a liar for simply charging someone with a crime, until that charge is proven in a court!

One would think PolitiFact would recognize, like the rest of us do, that a failure to prove a criminal charge very often does not mean that the criminal act wasn’t committed. Common experience suggests just the opposite. We know, for example, that having Johnny Cochrane as your lawyer can make all the difference. As can biased jurors and corrupt judges. In other words, the truth exists distinct from any adjudicatory process. And in this case, there are ample reasons to believe that Planned Parenthood benefits from a plethora of high-profile apologists and that bias and/or corruption are playing a role in this larger political issue involving Planned Parenthood. Who could honestly claim otherwise?   

But PolitiFact ignores these realities, and instead simply dismisses O’Bannon’s statement whole cloth. Moreover, the article grossly overlooks all of the smoke surrounding Planned Parenthood because it sees no flames. Serious truth seekers follow the smoke, and generally find fire.

Delegate O’Bannon’s defense, when asked, was to encourage the inquiring parties to watch the recent undercover videos, which really speak for themselves. PolitiFact responds by neatly carving out every statement which could be used in Planned Parenthood’s favor to suggest that no sales were ever sought for profit.  Rather suspiciously, PolitiFact left out seemingly damning statements, such as the one where the Planned Parenthood executive says she wants to be able to buy herself a Lamborghini! Reality check: Reimbursements don’t buy Lamborghinis. Profits do.  One wonders if anyone at PolitiFact took the time to watch the eleven plus hours of video.

But then there’s another obvious side-step. PolitiFact attempts to claim essentially that because no one really knows how much baby’s severed body parts should cost, that there’s no way to say that the price agreed to was actually “profit” on the part of Planned Parenthood. It doesn’t take a genius to see right through that flimsy position.

I would first say to PolitiFact that, for the record, those baby body parts are priceless. For no dollar value could ever be legitimately placed on human beings who were ripped limb from limb in the most heinous way. Therefore, anything above nothing is a profit in my book.

But assuming that some general fair-market value for body parts is applicable here, PolitiFact’s sole basis for claiming that there was no profit was the following: “A medical ethicist tells us those fees seem to be a "reasonable" reimbursement for the cost of supplying the tissue.” Well thank you Mr. nameless, credential-not-mentioned, “medical ethicist” for so authoritatively enlightening us as to this “fact” (and the PolitiFact staff, as I’m sure they were appreciative).  

I wasn’t born yesterday, but then neither were thousands of babies whose lives were terminated because of what we KNOW Planned Parenthood is doing – but that’s another issue.  But since I wasn’t born yesterday, I too can watch those same undercover videos and not need a state investigation or a criminal prosecution to understand what I’m seeing, hearing, and rationally perceiving. Anyone with an open mind sees and hears what Planned Parenthood proposes.  The fact that I may draw some reasonable inferences from what I see does not therefore make my assertions false, simply because, as in this case, a court has yet to agree.

For its patent lack of basic investigative methods, characterized by a healthy criticism of each side being examined, I rate PolitiFact’s article as a whole, “False.”