1. U.S. representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA, 1) continued to be an outspoken dissident on the Republicans’ “Select Panel on Infant Lives” committee; the congressional committee was put together more than a year ago to investigate Planned Parenthood and the alleged illegal sale of fetal tissue after undercover videos—since revealed as altered and heavily edited—purported to show that Planned Parenthood was trafficking in fetal tissue.
Planned Parenthood executive director Cecile Richards went before congress at the height of the controversy last year, calling the videos frauds and explained they are doctored versions of conversations that show Planned Parenthood engaged in the legal, “lifesaving” practice of donating fetal tissue for medical research; any money is payment to Planned Parenthood for recouping the storage and transport costs, which is a legal part of this standard research practice. Since the controversy blew up last summer and fall, the organization went the extra step of saying it would cover the costs. (For the record, reportedly only two of 700 Planned Parenthood clinics even donate fetal tissue in the first place.)
After a year of investigation, and what research companies have described as chilling harassment and intimidation, the committee has found no illegal activity; Democrats have described the panel as a witch-hunt, which seems more accurate than metaphorical given that the GOP accusation is all about women selling baby parts.
Democrat DelBene spoke out on the house floor yesterday against a GOP request for another $800,000 to keep the panel going.
Saying the "shameful" panel "has repeatedly shown contempt for the facts" and calling it "a brazenly partisan and ideological witch-hunt that should have been shut down months ago," DelBene, in her inimitably staid manner, delivered a simultaneously caustic rebuke of the committee.
"The panel has spent the last year publicly targeting women's health care providers, bullying scientists, delaying medical research, and cutting of scientific inquiry, all because the majority opposes a women's constitutional right to choose," DelBene said on the floor.
Watch her speech in full here:
The Republican majority went on to pass the new $800,000 in funding.
2. Yesterday's gossipy Fizz item about Andrew Lewis—I reported on the rumor that the young King County deputy prosecutor was thinking about running for Tim Burgess' citywide city council spot—was off base.
Lewis says he's not running.
3. Yesterday's other Fizz item about homeless encampments—I reported that the mayor was set to name three of four new planned authorized sites—was right.
Murray named three sites yesterday afternoon, that will serve about 200 people.
One in Georgetown: 1000 S Myrtle Street will contain up to 50 tiny houses serving 60-70 people.
One off Aurora: 8620 Nesbit Ave N. will contain up to 50 tiny houses serving 60-70 people.
And one between Delridge and South Park: 9701 Myers Way S will contain up to 50 tents serving 60-70 people.
The new encampments are welcome news, but certainly won't diffuse the debate over homeless camping; council member Mike O'Brien has said with the combo of 3,000 homeless people on the streets and lacking city shelter, the city cannot continue to "sweep" the homeless from other makeshift encampments.