Shilling for Planned Parenthood

In the comments section under a previous post (“New Development in the ‘Evil CPC’ Story”), Orthodoxy notes the following:

Just received a response from Indiana State Sen. Billie J. Breaux’s (D-34) office. The emails read as follows: —begin email 1— I looked into this email and yes it is a true story. Many of the Pregnancy Crisis Centers [sic] here are staffed by volunteers who are not trained. The information was put out to try to get people to stand up and ask for legislation to stop what some of these centers do. It was not a fundraising plot by Planned Parenthood, though. I hope this information is helpful. Cindy Felsten Legislative Assistant for Senator Vi Simpson Senator Billie Breaux 200 W. Washington – 401B Indianapolis, IN 46204 317-232-9849 —end email 1— —begin email 2— I forgot to include that the reason why you have not found public records – the young lady and her family want to move on so they are being protected and they decided not to file a lawsuit. The Crisis Center [sic] has no staff, just volunteers and their legal structure makes it difficult to bring legal action. PP’s message was a call to action to support legislation which would help to put an end to intimidation and misleading practices at CPCs. Not all CPCs use those actions. If I missed answering any of your questions, please let me know and I will get answers. Cindy Felsten Legislative Assistant for Senator Vi Simpson Senator Billie Breaux 200 W. Washington – 401B Indianapolis, IN 46204 317-232-9849 —end email 2— Just thought I’d post this response, in the interest of full disclosure (which we are often accused of inhibiting).

I called Cindy Felsten to ask her about the story, and she assured me that it was true. When I asked her how she was able to verify it, she said that she had called an official at Planned Parenthood of Indiana—one Michael McKillip—in response to an e-mail inquiry she had received (possibly from Orthodoxy?) who had assured her Planned Parenthood’s version of events was accurate. Felsten also told me that McKillip did not give her any more details regarding the incident. Neither did he divulge to her which facility in which city Planned Parenthood contends the incident occurred. When I asked her if she had contacted the CPC to get their version of events, she said, “No.” (Obviously not, since she doesn’t know where the alleged incident took place.) How’s that for fact-checking? It’s troubling—although not surprising—to witness a legislative assistant to a publicly elected state official play the part of a Planned Parenthood shill and, in the process, take an unfounded swipe at the state’s CPCs. Recall Felsten’s words:

Many of the Pregnancy Crisis Centers [sic] here are staffed by volunteers who are not trained.

One wonders if Felsten really believes that a CPC would allow one of its volunteers to counsel women experiencing untimely pregnancies by providing her nary a training session, much less a series of them. In a May 1 AlterNet article titled “Exposing Anti-Choice Abortion Clinics” [sic], blogger Amanda Marcotte offered similar assurance to Felsten’s that Planned Parenthood’s story is trustworthy [HT: JivinJ]:

I contacted Jennifer Jorczak of Planned Parenthood of Indiana to verify this story, and while she was unable to provide details out of respect for the patient’s privacy, she confirmed that everything in the initial action alert email was true.

We now know that two Planned Parenthood of Indiana officials–Jennifer Jorczak and Michael McKillip–have been questioned as to whether the “evil CPC” story is true, and both of their responses could be paraphrased thusly:

Assuming you ask me absolutely no follow-up questions, yes. Yes, it is.

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