The recent 5-hour discourse of congress and Cecile Richards left me feeling nauseous.
Not because of the grossly edited and misleading videos condemning Planned Parenthood, and not even because of the false allegations against the foundation—but because of the lack of professionalism and disrespect with which Ms. Richards was addressed by congress members.
The decorum in congress is abhorrent, and congressmen and women should be held to a higher standard as representatives of the United States.
Congressman and committee chair—Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah—gave an emotional opening statement. He alluded to his personal experiences with women’s health in losing his mother to breast cancer, a seemingly sympathetic foundation to start the discussion.
However, as soon as he dried his tears, it appeared that his mission was to manipulate Ms. Richards’ responses to his questions. Not five minutes into questioning, Mr. Chaffetz resorted to bully tactics in attempts to coerce desired responses out of Ms. Richards. It was uncomfortable watching her struggle to get a word in by simply trying to answer his questions.
Another republican, congresswoman Cynthia Lummis from Wyoming, conducted her questioning in a similar manner. After asking Ms. Richards about the “massive disparity” between reported abortion procedures and reported revenue generated by abortions, Ms. Richards gave a perfectly coherent answer. She explained that no federal, tax-payer dollars ever aid in the funding of abortions, and therefore the revenue generated is reportedly higher than other services that the government does help reimburse—such as breast exams, birth control and STI screenings.
Yet before she was able to expound on and complete her answer, Ms. Lummis interjected and changed the subject to doctors’ wages. Like Mr. Chaffetz, Ms. Lummis maintained a condescending tone throughout her questioning.
Finally—perhaps the least likable representative of the GOP—Mr. Jim Jordan, began his questioning. Implying that the videos were indeed edited, he asked his questions about the first video released: “Why did you apologize?” and “Which statements in the video were you apologizing for?”
Ms. Richards answered simply that had she known the video was edited, an apology would not have been required. In other words, she apologized for what appeared to be the truth, but was ultimately untrue and misleading.
She went on to say that discussions of that nature should have happened in a confidential, clinical setting. Mr. Jordan continued to interrupt her with the repeated question of “specifically” which statements she wished to recant.
Again, it was painful to watch Ms. Richards try to get a sentence in…
The republican political agenda is oozing from the pores of these representatives. Their interruptions, as well as their redundant and manipulative questions, are harrowing. They don’t appear to seek out or listen for the truth. Instead they uphold their political agenda that abortion is wrong and should be illegal.
Well, music to my ears, and a cacophony to theirs, abortion is legal and Planned Parenthood didn’t break any laws.
I hope someday we can be proud of our representatives. I hope congress will seek the truth, listen honorably and embody virtuous traits.
It is also my hope that this video of our congressmen and women compels the nation to become more involved in our political system. I encourage people to take any negative emotion that arose in watching this discussion, and use it to promote change and perpetuate progress.
Call your representatives. Vote in local elections.
For Boulder, our local election is coming up, November 3rd. More information here.
If you want to watch some of the specific discourse mentioned:
Mr. Jason Chaffetz, starts at 00:38:27
Ms. Cynthia Lummis, starts at 00:55:40
Mr. Jim Jordan, starts at 01:06:38
Author: Kate Jendersee
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Screenshot, via C-SPAN