Lawmakers are holding their first hearing on Planned Parenthood's video controversy – but didn't invite anyone from the organization or from the anti-abortion group that took the hidden-camera films.
Wednesday's hearing by the House Judiciary Committee is focusing on expert testimony, including that of James Bopp, a lawyer for National Right to Life and a champion of conservative causes, and Priscilla Smith, director of the program for the Study of Reproductive Justice at Yale's law school, who argued a case before the Supreme Court to overturn a federal law banning partial-birth abortions, the Guardian reports.
The committee also was set to hear from two "abortion survivors."
"I have long believed that if my birthmother's abortion would have taken place at a Planned Parenthood, I would not be here today," Melissa Ohden is expected to tell lawmakers, the Guardian reports. "Completing over 300,000 abortions a year provides them with the experience to make sure that 'failures' like me don't happen."
Planned Parenthood lashed out at its exclusion.
"For 15 years anti-abortion activists have been trying to manufacture public outrage, and for 15 years their attacks have fallen apart upon closer inspection," Dawn Laguens, executive vice-president for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement on Wednesday, the Guardian reports.
Laguens said the Center for Medical Progress, the anti-abortion group that filmed the meetings of officials brokering fetal tissue for medical research, "may have a different name, but this is the same cast of characters and follows the same script. "
The controversy has raised the specter of a government shutdown,
with about a dozen supporting a move to hold up a government spending bill due at the end of the month if it doesn't contain a measure to defund Planned Parenthood, The Hill reports.
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