Witch Hunt (wĭch′hŭnt′) n. An investigation carried out ostensibly to uncover subversive activities but actually used to harass and undermine those with differing views.
“Cathi’s Clown,” Governor Doug Ducey, beholden to Cathi Herrod and her Christian Taliban at the Center for Arizona Policy for his election, has decided to join the GOP witch hunt against Planned Parenthood over surreptitious videos made by fetus fetish Forced Birthers from the Center for Medical Progress discussing fetal tissue donations with Planned Parenthood representatives.
“Cathi’s Clown” has sicked his abortion cops, led by state Health Director Cara Christ and Attorney General Mark Brnovich, on Planned Parenthood. (h/t image: The Handmaid’s Tale). Howard Fischer reports, Abortion providers must account for tissue to state:
The state Department of Health Services late Friday filed emergency rules with the Secretary of State’s Office to mandate that each report of an abortion now contain “the final disposition” of such tissue from what the agency calls “unborn children.”
It also requires abortion providers to detail if they provide the tissue for another person, provide that person’s name and address, any compensation received and whether the patient provided “informed consent” for the transfer of the tissue.
The rules took effect with their filing. By law, state Health Director Cara Christ is entitled to enact emergency rules without prior notice and without public hearings.
Christ acted at the behest of Gov. Doug Ducey who was responding to undercover videos — none from Arizona — that purport to show Planned Parenthood representatives discussing the sale of such tissue. [They do not.] Sale for profit is illegal under federal law, though abortion providers can recover certain costs.
There is no such prohibition in Arizona law, though a separate statute prohibits most experimentation on fetal tissue in this state.
In filing the rule, state health officials never claimed any evidence that abortion providers here were providing tissue for sale. And Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood Arizona, told Capitol Media Services his organization does not engage in such transactions.
Despite that, the health officials said they “just became aware of the potential sale of abortion fetal tissue.” And based solely on that “potential” they said the emergency rule is justified.
“It could happen” in the furtive imagination of fetus fetish Forced Birthers. What, are Arizona’s abortion cops now the “Pre-Cogs” of the elite law enforcement squad “Precrime” in Minority Report (2002)?
“By reviewing the information submitted, the (Health) Department will be better able to monitor health care institutions where abortions are performed for compliance with applicable laws and rules on the use of donated tissues, including the potential illegal sale of tissues from unborn children,” the filing states. And the officials justified the emergency action, without public input, saying that going through the regular process could take an additional six to eight months to approve.
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Christ’s actions are not the last word.
State law allows emergency rules to remain in effect for only 180 days, with the possibility of a one-time extension. At that point Christ will need to propose a regular rule, one that would require public input and comment.
The Arizona Republic adds, New AZ fetal-tissue reporting rule takes effect:
Arizona abortion clinics must report to state health officials what happens to the remains of aborted fetuses, under a new temporary rule ordered by Gov. Doug Ducey and approved by Attorney General Mark Brnovich.
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The emergency rules, obtained by The Arizona Republic, were filed with the Secretary of State’s Office on Friday and immediately went into effect. Ducey said the new rule is necessary and is in response to recently released hidden-camera videos that raised questions about whether Planned Parenthood officials are making money from fetal-tissue sales to medical researchers.
Planned Parenthood has said that’s false and criticized the group behind the videos taken in a restaurant, saying the “outrageous claims are flat-out untrue.”
The president of Planned Parenthood of Arizona has said such tissue sales do not occur in Arizona.
Annet Ruiter, vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood, had not seen the new rules when contacted by The Republic on Monday. She wrote in an e-mail that Planned Parenthood would “carefully review these rules and determine their impact on our delivery of abortion health care.”
In a prior statement, Ruiter wrote, “Planned Parenthood Arizona does not have a fetal tissue donation program. Until the new rules are made public, Planned Parenthood Arizona cannot comment whether we will oppose or challenge them. It will depend on whether they will create new and excessive reporting burdens or additional barriers to women accessing abortion health care.”
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Ducey, who campaigned on a promise to end unnecessary regulations — except when it comes to your lady parts — ordered the state Department of Health Services to immediately put into effect “emergency rules” to ban the illegal sale of tissue from aborted fetuses — something that is not occurring.
Federal law already prohibits a person or entity from selling or purchasing fetal tissue and women must provide “informed consent” before donating fetal tissue from abortions. State law does not ban the practice, but no one has shown proof of such sales or purchases occurring in Arizona.
But Ducey, who campaigned on a promise to end unnecessary regulations on Monday said the new rule is necessary.
“What’s happening in these Planned Parenthood facilities — what we’ve seen on video — is horrific and we want to make sure we’re doing everything to ensure that’s not happening in Arizona and that’s what these rules are for,” Ducey said.
He added: “We think what’s happening there is wrong.
Wait, the surreptitious videos I have seen are of the fetus fetish Forced Birthers from the Center for Medical Progress talking to a representative of Planned Parenthood in a restaurant about the donation of fetal tissue — something that is legal under federal law. Republicans Were For Fetal Tissue Research Before They Were Against It: in 1993, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle voted to legalize fetal tissue research, even in cases when the samples were obtained from legal abortion procedures, when they approved the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act.
So when Governor Ducey says “what we’ve seen on video — is horrific,” what is he talking about? He is simply opposed to safe, legal abortions. And he is using the power of the state to engage in a witch hunt against Planned Parenthood.
This GOP witch hunt against Planned Parenthood across the country has not turned up any evidence of wrong doing. Investigations Into Planned Parenthood Are Falling Totally Flat:
Anti-abortion activists, meanwhile, say the misleading videos released by the right-wing group Center for Medical Progress prove the organization is acting immorally.
In response, several state officials have launched investigations into their local Planned Parenthood affiliates, looking for proof that the group is breaking the law.
But so far, they’ve come up completely empty.
Officials in states including Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, and South Dakota have not been able to turn up any evidence that Planned Parenthood clinics are violating state laws and regulations regarding the collection of fetal tissue donations. Records obtained from other states, like Kansas, reveal that some Planned Parenthood clinics don’t even give their patients the option to donate this tissue. [The same in Arizona.]
“In every state where these investigations have concluded, officials have cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing,” Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement released on Friday. “We’ve said all along that Planned Parenthood follows all laws and has very high medical standards, and that’s what every one of these investigations has found. This campaign by anti-abortion extremists is nothing less than a fraud.”
Donating tissue from aborted fetuses has been legal for decades. Scientists can use the biological material, which is a rich source of stem cells, to develop new ways to treat AIDS, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, cancer, and eyesight loss.
The mounting evidence regarding Planned Parenthood’s legal activities is dissuading at least some lawmakers from wasting their time. Despite some pressure from Republicans in his state, Idaho’s governor is refusing to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood, saying there’s not enough evidence to suggest any wrongdoing.
But in other states, the ongoing controversy swirling around Planned Parenthood shows no signs of abating, and scientific research could suffer as a result. Republican lawmakers in Arizona, Wisconsin, and California have recently taken steps to make it more difficult to donate fetal tissue.
Governor Ducey recently announced a rebranding campaign for Arizona. I fail to see how witch hunts by religious zealots is helping to rebrand Arizona in a positive light.