Despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's admission that Republicans do not have enough votes to defund Planned Parenthood, the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on Sept. 9 to discuss the issue, Washington D.C. ABC news affiliate WJLA reported in a Sept. 3 article featuring comments from Professor David S. Cohen.
"Campaigning against Planned Parenthood is not smart, no matter what your party," Cohen said, dismissing the upcoming congressional hearing as "political theater." The hearing comes in response to the release of a series of The Center for Medical Progress' "undercover" videos depicting Planned Parenthood personnel allegedly inappropriately discussing the possibility of fetal tissue donation with patients. Cohen does not expect much to come of the hearings, especially since many of the videos were allegedly heavily edited and manipulated. "They certainly hyped these up to be something that they're not," he said of the purported evidence in the videos.
Cohen said the biggest risk comes from ongoing state investigations and efforts to thwart Planned Parenthood's practices. Ones like Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's effort to terminate the state's Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood. In the lawsuit related to that case, the federal Department of Justice filed a "statement of interest" in support of Planned Parenthood and against Jindal's actions. Cohen commented that the efficacy of state actions like Jindal's will depend heavily on the Obama administration's defense of Planned Parenthood on the state level.
Professor Cohen recently published his co-authored Oxford University Press book Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism. The book examines how abortion providers are individually targeted by anti-abortion extremists and how law can better respond to this type of harassment.