Excerpt from: DailyKos; Tittle provided by Gale Audia
Witness Blasts House Fetal Tissue Panel For Not Demanding That Video Faker Testify Under Oath
By Meteor Blades
2016/04/20 · 12:17
Rep. Jan Schakowsky said Wednesday that, “from the outset,” the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives’ investigation into the alleged sale of fetal tissue “has not been an objective or fact-based search for the truth but a political weapon to attack women’s health care and life-saving research and harass and intimidate those who provide these services.”
The House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives chaired by Tennessee Republican Rep. Martha Blackburn delved into the supposed scandal of selling fetal tissue for profit during a hearing Wednesday. If you have the stomach for it, you can watch the whole thing here.
You might think that such a committee would have been established to take on issues like child abuse and America’s dreadful infant mortality rate. But, no. It’s all about abortion, just another in the forced birthers’ efforts to do anydamnthing they can to make it harder for women to control their sexuality and reproductive organs.
The particular issue stems from the fakery of the Planned Parenthood videos that purported to show that the women’s health organization has been profiting off “selling baby parts.” The heavily doctored videos, some taken illegally, were produced by David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress, an organization replete with extremists. That includes the former leader of Operation Rescue, whose harassment of abortion providers and implicit condoning of violence against them proves once again—as if anybody needed additional proof—what a lie the term “pro-life” is.
Republicans on the House panel said their investigation shows that some abortion clinics and procurement middlemen have violated federal law that prohibits profiting from the transfer of fetal tissue for biomedical research. That law mandates that only reasonable costs can be charged in such transfers. The investigators claim that some operations are profiting.
If that’s true, then prosecution is an option, as it always is when the law is broken. But prosecutors haven’t seen fit to do that. One reason: When 12 states looked into Planned Parenthood’s practices, the claims made by Daleiden and his supporters were shown not to hold water. But the purpose of the panel’s investigation is not to nail a few alleged lawbreakers. It’s just another tactic among dozens to end legal abortion. If this were to succeed, it wouldn’t actually stop abortions, but it would expand the number of illegal and self-induced abortions. Consequences? Maimed women, sterilized women, dead women.
The forced-birther tactics now include the House panel’s subpoenaing of medical supply companies and laboratories as well as getting the names of individual researchers, laboratory technicians, and clerical staff. It’s having an impact. Last month, Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York said, “It’s one step further than McCarthyism, because McCarthy just threatened people’s jobs. They’re threatening people’s lives.”
While the attempt to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood has failed, medical studies are being delayed or canceled because of the inability of facilities to obtain fetal tissue from legitimate suppliers who are worried about the investigation.
Larry Goldstein, scientific director of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine in San Diego, told the committee at its first hearing on March 2 that a project to cure multiple sclerosis had been halted because it had “basically seen supply of fetal material dry up completely.”
What is being done is sickening—literally.
In response to Blackburn’s opening statements, Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky offered scathing comments at the beginning of the hearing, noting that among previous witnesses was one who said women who have abortions have no moral standing to donate fetal tissue, and another who compared researchers using fetal tissue with the notorious Nazi SS doctor, Josef Mengele, who carried out experiments on live subjects at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.
The first witness at the hearing Wednesday was Fay Clayton, a lawyer who used to represent the Anatomical Gift Foundation, a nonprofit corporation that provided donated tissue to medical researchers. When she finished, the committee should have been gaveled to adjournment. Here’s most of what Clayton said, from the transcription provided by CSPAN:
Thank you, Madam chair. I’ve been a corporate litigator since 1978 and I’m here today despite a family medical situation for two reasons.
One is that women’s reproductive health and medical research are being threatened by these hearings. The second reason is that I have instructive experience to share with this panel on the topic that you’re considering here.
Sixteen years ago a client of mine, Anatomical Gift Foundation, a nonprofit donation that provided donated tissue to medical researchers in hopes of curing the diseases including the ones Senator [Jeanne] Shaheen mentioned earlier. That nonprofit was falsely accused by life dynamics, the anti-abortion group congressman [Rep. Jan] Schakowsky mentioned, accused of selling fetal tissue. These baseless charges were made in a videotape sent [in 2000] by Life Dynamics to Congress, and in that video the person making the accusations was anonymous.
As it happened, an employee of Anatomical Gift Foundation, my client, had gone to work for another company, in violation of his contract. AGS hired me to sue. That man’s name was Dean Alberti. In his deposition, which was under oath like all of us today, but unlike what he said in the videotape, the videotape that Life Dynamics had sent to Congress, Alberti admitted he was the person in that video and he admitted what he had said in that video was fictional. He testified that he told those lies because Life Dynamics had paid him to and, he said, I needed the money. He had repeated those falsehoods on TV’s “20/20,” but he knew better than to lie under oath when I deposed him where the penalties of perjury […] do arise.
Those of you who were here […] may recall the humiliation that certain members of the House committee suffered when their star witness, Dean Alberti, went up in flames and admitted that that much-touted video had been fabricated. Those House hearings established that my client had done nothing wrong, that fetal tissue wasn’t for sale at all and that anti-abortion zealots, Life Dynamics, had forced a false witness on Congress. What was for sale wasn’t fetal tissue. It was a phony witness statement and it had been bought and paid for by anti-abortion extremists.
I find it curious given the not-so-distant history of this strikingly similar scenario that this panel has not demanded sworn testimony of the accusers, the latest batch of anti-abortion accusers as you’ve asked of us, Chair Blackburn. You haven’t asked for that, haven’t asked for them to go under oath and that seems strange to me, particularly when they come up with a similar tale about so-called sale of fetal tissue, which again is a lie. This suggests to me that someone is afraid to put David Daleiden and his star witness, Holly O’Donnell, under oath because, as we saw with the Dean Alberti fiasco, when penalties of perjury attaches, sometimes instead of fiction the actual truth comes out.
We know they doctored videos to the point that the federal judge blocked the release of further tapes because they were fraudulent. Another fact we know about them comes from the Los Angeles Times of the unedited videos. They showed him coaching and manipulating the testimony of Holly O’Donnell whose interview, by the way, looks more like play-acting than any genuine emotion. […] We have no way of knowing what he offered or said to Ms. O’Donnell when his camera was not running. And, in Texas, when he went before a grand jury convened for the expressed purpose of prosecuting Planned Parenthood, the grand jury did something very different. It didn’t indict planned Planned Parenthood, it indicted Daleiden for falsehood and […] found that Planned Parenthood did nothing wrong.
For nearly four decades, I have been representing corporations and individuals in business litigation. And I have to say there is no bigger tell about the veracity of an accusation that when the person who is making the accusation will not stand by his or her accusation under oath. […] So I have to ask: Is this panel looking for the truth or for another story? A real inquiry would start with sworn testimony from [Daleiden] and O’Donnell, and that would be true even if the doctored videotapes didn’t have so much in common with the deceitful tapes that the abortion opponents, including Life Dynamics, staged 16 years ago.
This panel’s failure to allow cross-examination of Daleiden and his cohorts sends a message loud and clear—that those stories would not hold up under the penalty of perjury than the baseless slurs that [Alberti] made back in 2000 when Life Dynamics bought and paid for his testimony.