Without a hint of irony, Florida Governor Rick Scott's office edited the results of a state investigation of Planned Parenthood prompted by edited videos.
According to emails obtained by the Tampa Bay Times/Herald, the governor's office micromanaged the release of information to the public, even cutting key sentences from it.
Scott's staff rewrote press releases about the investigation and penned some statements that were attributed to [Agency for Health Care Administration] executives. His office even directed the health care agency to cut a sentence in a draft press release that acknowledged the main reason the investigation fell short: Inspectors found no evidence that Florida Planned Parenthood clinics broke the law by operating a fetal tissue donation program. [...]
After inspections turned up no evidence of a fetal organ donation program involving Florida clinics, AHCA drafted a statement that said, "there is no evidence of the mishandling of fetal remains." But that sentence was removed after it was sent to Jackie Schutz, Scott's communications director, for approval.
The primary allegations resulting from the state investigation also turned out to be bogus. Planned Parenthood clinics in Florida have not violated their licenses.
The Agency for Health Care Administration alleged that Planned Parenthood was performing second trimester abortions (which would violate their licenses) and the agency also reported that Planned Parenthood had self-reported these violations.
That wasn't true either.
On Aug. 17, an "agency statement" from AHCA attributed to [AHCA communications director Katherine Riviere] challenged Planned Parenthood further, saying the organization "self-reported that they were performing unauthorized abortions." Emails show that this statement was actually written by John Tupps, the governor's deputy communications director.
It's apparently not enough that a women's healthcare organization has to deal with a congressional inquisition in D.C. They also have to deal with misinformation campaigns coordinated at the highest levels of state government.
This is more than just a headache for Planned Parenthood and the women they care for, it's also potentially dangerous. Anti-abortion hardliners are no stranger to domestic terrorism.
A Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington State was set on fire last week.