Clinton Evades Two Questions About Planned Parenthood

September 17, 2015

Hillary Clinton was asked two consecutive questions about abortion provider Planned Parenthood on Thursday and did not answer either.

"First of all, have you seen those very, very controversial videos?" CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer asked Clinton, referring to gruesome undercover videos that reveal details about Planned Parenthood's sale of body parts from aborted fetuses.

Clinton responded by promoting the medical services Planned Parenthood provides and denouncing Republican efforts to defund the group. Nowhere in Clinton's answer, which is quoted in full below, did she say whether or not she has seen the videos.

Clinton said in July that she had "seen pictures" from the videos, which she characterized as "disturbing." She has since defended Planned Parenthood and its federal funding.

Blitzer asked Clinton a second question about allegations that Planned Parenthood's fetal tissue harvesting program violated federal laws.

"Are you confident that Planned Parenthood—or any of its affiliated groups, if you will—haven't violated any federal laws?" Blitzer asked.

"Well, Wolf, let me tell you what I know, and that is there is a willingness on the part of Planned Parenthood to answer questions," Clinton said, before discussing congressional maneuvering to defund Planned Parenthood.

Nowhere in Clinton's answer did she say whether she thought Planned Parenthood had violated federal laws.

Clinton's interview with Blitzer—her first live interview since announcing her campaign in April—was full of evasions. Later in the interview, Clinton dodged a question about whether her private email server was vulnerable to hacking by foreign intelligence services.



Transcript below:

WOLF BLITZER: all right. planned parenthood says that video doesn't -- madame secretary. i want to explain planned parenthood says the video doesn't depict an aborted fetus. they say that was from a miscarriage had nothing to do with planned parenthood. this is an organization you support. first of all have you seen those very, very controversial videos?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, Wolf, let's break down what's happening here. because I think it's important. I know that there's a move on by some of the Republicans in the Congress to actually shut down the United States government over their demand that we no longer give federal funding to Planned Parenthood to perform the really necessary health services they do for millions of women. So let's put aside for a moment here that there is no debate and there should be absolutely no argument that Planned Parenthood does cancer screenings, it helps provide family planning and contraceptive advice. It works to provide, you know, some of the most difficult kinds of counseling when it comes to giving an HIV test, for example. What this is about is the fact that some of the Planned Parenthood facilities perform abortions which is legal under the laws of the United States. I understand that the Republican Party and particularly the candidates we heard from last night wish that were not the case—wish that abortion were illegal and they could turn the clock back. So I think we ought to be very clear that Planned Parenthood has served to provide health care, necessary health care, for millions of women. And I think it deserves not only our support but the continuing funding of the federal government so that these women and girls who are seeking the kinds of services that are provided will be able to achieve that.

BLITZER: All right. Have you—are you confident that Planned Parenthood—or any of its affiliated groups, if you will—haven't violated any federal laws?

CLINTON: Well, Wolf, let me tell you what I know, and that is there is a willingness on the part of Planned Parenthood to answer questions. They have been doing so. Some people may not want to hear the answers, but they have certainly put those answers out there into the public arena. And if the issue, the core issue that some on the stage last night or some in the Congress are trying to promote or trying to raise questions about, has to do with the kind of research that is done legally in the United States, then that is an issue that goes far beyond any Planned Parenthood example. So I think it's important to sort out. There's a lot of emotion. There's a lot of accusations that are being hurled about. I think it's important to sort out and try to actually figure out what is going on. If it's the services they are trying to shut down, like providing family planning or breast cancer screenings, that is just wrong. And women deserve to be given support to get those services provided. If they want to shut down the legal provision of abortion services, then they've got a bigger problem because obviously Planned Parenthood does not use federal dollars to do that. And if they are more focused on the research that is going on, then that's a set of issues that certainly is not only about Planned Parenthood. So I would hope that the Republicans and particularly the Republicans in the House led by Speaker Boehner would not put our country and our economy in peril pursuing some kind of emotionally, politically charged partisan attack on Planned Parenthood to shut our government down. I think that would be a very, very unfortunate decision.