Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio – both of whom are popular presidential candidates – have gone out of their way this past week to attack Planned Parenthood, a national pro-choice and reproductive health organization.
The two senators, as well as many others from the Republican party, have criticized Planned Parenthood after an edited video surfaced last week showing a doctor from the organization speaking about buying fetal tissue for medical research. The video was shot secretly by people associated with the Center for Medical Progress, a free-market, pro-life advocacy group.
Speaking at a Family Leadership Summit over the weekend, Cruz called the video “gruesome and disgusting” adding that “Every American should watch that video and say, ‘Are those my values?’”
Marco Rubio has also used the clandestinely recorded video to speak out against abortion. The presidential candidate even replaced the homepage of his own website with a campaign to collect signatures in support of de-funding Planned Parenthood.
“I am sickened by the complete disregard for innocent unborn life evident at Planned Parenthood,” said Rubio in a statement.
Cruz also announced to room full of supporters that the organization admitted to committing several felonies, but did not mention which ones.
“On tape, it appears a Planned Parenthood official is admitting to multiple felonies,” said Cruz, adding that the U.S. Department of Justice “should open an investigation and prosecute Planned Parenthood,” after which he gave himself a standing ovation.
However, it has not been proven that the organization is doing anything illegal. According to Planned Parenthood, the fetal tissue obtained is taken with the pregnant woman's permission and is used for research that could advance the understanding and treatment of diseases. They also say there is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or Planned Parenthood, which would imply the transaction is not illegal.
Neither politician chose to address the fact that videotaping without consent is illegal in the state of California – where the video was shot.
Other Republican presidential hopefuls – including Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Scott Walker among others – also spoke out against the organization, putting the issue of abortion, at least temporarily, center stage on the campaign trail.
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