Will videos have long-term effect on Planned Parenthood?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," July 28, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


"BUYER": We were doing like, you know, 50 to 75, and that would be like 200 or 300. We'd be comfortable with that. Stuff like this we don't want to do a flat fee of like 200 and then --

DR. GINDA: No. And I think the per item thing works a little better just because we could see how much we could get out of it.

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY.: We have a working group that includes Rand Paul and Joni Ernst, and they're meeting in my office this afternoon to see if we can have a meeting of the minds of the best way to craft a measure to deal with these horrendous videos that we've all been viewing.

SEN. RAND PAUL, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm calling today for Hillary Clinton to return the money she's been receiving from Planned Parenthood officials.



BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Reaction today to the newest undercover video clip provided by the Center for Medical Progress, the third one, actually, this one showing a tissue procurement buyer inside the clinic talking to a doctor about pricing for parts and organs from a fetus that was just over 11 weeks into a pregnancy.

What about this and where it goes politically from here? Let's bring in our panel, Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard; A.B. Stoddard, associate editor of The Hill, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Charles, we talked about this from the political aspect. But it's also the combination of these videos and their effect on the discussion.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Yes. I'm not sure they are going to have a direct, immediate effect in the near-term on Planned Parenthood. Perhaps some corporations will withhold donations. Given the polls in the country, I don't think we're going to get defunding, although I think it's a fight that ought to be had, because the more you talk about it publicly the more we're exposing what the pro-abortion side has managed to do for 30, 40 years, which is to pull the curtain on what actually happens.

The first change in public opinion on abortion when it began to go less pro-choice was with the advent of ultrasound, where you could see the living human, thriving human fetus looks like as it grows inside the mother. And now what we're seeing what happens when you destroy that entity.

And I think people don't want to look, have never wanted to look, but now they're seeing it. I think the long-range effect is going to be profound, as profound as the advent of ultrasound. And that's what I think people ought to focus on now. You're not going to get I think a short-term political outcome. But this will help to change perceptions over time.

BAIER: I mean, you have 60 U.S. cities seeing pro-life rallies about the harvesting and transfer of fetal organs and these calls for defunding Planned Parenthood. Talk about the frank political calculation on votes and where that is up on the Hill.

A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL: Well, this is an uphill battle. Democrats have won budget battles over these kinds of funding issues before. That was before the videos. Pro-choice Democrats find that this is a total setback to the cause and that this is atrocious. But they're not going to say anything and they haven't.

Planned Parenthood is very powerful. That's why you can see Hillary Clinton's rebuttal is just, oh, this is an attack on a woman's right to choose. That's not going to stand up for very long as more and more videos come out.

I think Democrats are also underestimating, and I don't know if the Republicans will succeed with that working group of defunding Planned Parenthood before the August recess which is around the corner. But there will -- I think the Democrats are underestimating what is going to happen over the August recess as these videos are discussed in town hall meetings and they are seen more and more. And should there be more released in the time being, it will be very hard.

And even Bernie Sanders, it's not just Clinton, who said, oh, Cecile Richards as the head of Planned Parenthood has apologized for the tone, and I think that was sufficient. That's not a response to what we've learned.
It's not a response.

BAIER: You know, Planned Parenthood, Steve, points to this Hart Research Associates poll they did. I don't know the internals of this poll who they're asking, but the question was do you agree or disagree with Republicans efforts to end all government funding with Planned Parenthood?
And there you see the numbers, disagree with Republicans high. Again this is Hart Research, 800 registered voters. They're saying that this does not have traction long term and that politically it's going to backfire on Republicans. It's a common theme.

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Sure. But the other thing that poll -- the question mentioned was ending funding for all of Planned Parenthood activities, including family planning and cancer screenings. That's mentioned twice. That's known as a push poll. That's not a serious poll. And there's no reason that anybody should take seriously a poll done by a Democratic firm commissioned by Planned Parenthood and paid for by Planned Parenthood to get the results that Planned Parenthood wants. It's a silly poll. We should cast it aside.

The most interesting part of this where this goes from here, I agree with Charles in his sense that the short term we're not likely to see much. But in the long term we probably will. And the reason that's the case is the media. And the irony here is that the more horrific the things we see on these videos the less mainstream media reporters want to cover this because it's gruesome and it's awful and it's difficult to watch and it's difficult to talk about.

So in many of the mainstream media outlets, particularly those that operate in a viral environment online, have just chosen not to cover this. Or when they cover it, the big mainstream outlets tend to talk about the politics of this -- Republicans see that Planned Parenthood could potentially be defunded -- rather than talking about the substance of the videos themselves. So that's why I think in the short term this won't have much consequence immediately. But this is unavoidable. It will change the discussion for exactly the reasons Charles pointed out.

BAIER: It's much like we saw at the beginning of the Kermit Gosnell case and the abortion doctor there and all the horrible stories that came out of that court case. At the beginning no one was touching it. But eventually you have to.

KRAUTHAMMER: Eventually you can't ignore it. The one thing the pro-choice side has had protecting it for 30 years is euphemism. Even the word pro- choice -- it used to be the National Abortion Rights League. The word "abortion" is gone, NRAL, pro-choice. These people are not pro-choice in school choice or in choosing a health savings account. In this one area they are for choice. Who's against the choice?

Well, that works. Also reproductive health as if this is about reproduction. It's the prevention of reproduction. And it isn't about health. We now see it's about the destruction of a fetus. And that is something that you can't avoid. That has a toll over time. And that I think is going to be the profound effect it's going to have.

HAYES: A. B. says correctly that pro-choice Democrats, you said they're not going to say anything and they haven't. My question is, why in the world is that an option? Republicans are being asked about Donald Trump's sex life, but Democrats aren't going to have to talk about Planned Parenthood and these kinds of horrific practices?

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