If he wants, Chris Hayes can crow about the refusal of a Houston grand jury to indict Planned Parenthood. But for him to claim, as he did on his MSNBC show tonight, that PP did not sell baby parts is absurd. As the videos revealed, not only was PP selling body parts, one of its officials joked [we have to hope] that she wanted to get as much money as possible so she could buy a Lamborghini.
To support his claim, Hayes relied on the Orwellian decision of a Houston grand jury today to indict not PP, but the makers of the videos exposing their sales of baby parts. Chris conveniently failed to mention that one of the prosecutors in the Houston DA's office is a Planned Parenthood board member and fundraiser.
Consider the transaction from the perspective of the parties obtaining the baby parts from PP. They approach PP, negotiate a price, and in return for a payment PP gives them the baby parts. Clearly, those parties bought the parts. That being so, how is it possible that PP didn't sell them, whether or not the sale was legal?
Does Hayes not understand that the grand jury's finding that the sale of baby parts in this case was not illegal does not mean PP was not selling baby parts? If a grand jury in Colorado declined to prosecute a pot seller because pot sales in Colorado are in some circumstances legal, would Chris claim that the grand jury found that the pot seller didn't sell pot?
Note: Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli ably countered Hayes on the issue. At a certain point, fed up with Hayes' insistence that PP didn't sell body parts, Cuccinelli shot back "you don't want your question answered. You want me to say yes to your declaration. I'm not going to do that."
CHRIS HAYES: I want to ask you one more question about abortion. Ted Cruz led the fight or wanted to lead a fight to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of those videos that were released. Today a grand jury in Houston, which was essentially impanelled to investigate wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood, came back and cleared Planned Parenthood of criminal wrongdoing, instead indicting the two film-makers who actually put those videos together. Ted Cruz on the record of saying they were, quote, selling body parts. That has now been from a legal standpoint shown to be not true by this grand jury. Are we going to see Republicans who champion these videos change their tune on this now that the people who created them have been indicted for felonies?
KEN CUCCINELLI: I think what you're going to see out of videos more important than who crossed whatever legal lines is the fact that this is understood to go on as an accepted practice. And that is, and in some circumstances is legal. The question is was it legal in the circumstances at issue in these videos? But the bigger problem that most of the Republicans are getting at, that Ted Cruz is getting at, is what does this say about us as a country? Is this okay? Are people comfortable with selling aborted babies body parts?
HAYES: Not selling. Not selling
CUCCINELLI: All right, look: call it what you want.
HAYES: That's the key point! That was the word that was used. That was definitively found by a ground jury empanelled to investigate that not to be the case. I just want to make clear of that. Because that word has been used, and this was the thing that --
CUCCINELLI: So then you don't want your question answered. You want me to say yes to your declaration. I'm not going to do that.
HAYES: No, no, no. I just don't want that word used when that was actually the thing that was the point of debate in this whole thing. That's all. I understand where you're coming from and your point about people need to wrestle with the moral ramifications, which I totally understand. I understand people that have your view on this matter. I just think that the use of that word --