How the Democratic Governors Dodged My Questions About Planned Parenthood


Peter Shumlin, Steve Bullock, Maggie Hassan, Martin O'Malley, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee

[l-r] Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Have Democratic governors seen the Planned Parenthood abortion videos put out by the Center for Medical Progress? Last week, Max Ledoux wrote about his attempt to get the answer to a simple question from the Democratic governor of his home state of New Hampshire: Has Maggie Hassan watched the Planned Parenthood abortion videos? I decided to take up the task of contacting the other Democratic governors, and began by emailing each of them three simple questions:

  1. Had the governor seen the most recent video released by the Center for Medical Progress, in which a former Stem Express employee discussed how babies were born alive during abortions and then vivisected so the doctors could harvest their organs?
  2. Does the governor support Planned Parenthood?
  3. Does the governor support the federal Born-Alive Infant Protection Act?

I expected to be emailed back with excuses that Planned Parenthood does great things such as STD and cancer screenings. However, almost none of the governors’ offices responded at all.

The only office to respond to my emails was that of Delaware Governor Jack Markell, whose press secretary wrote:

Yes, Governor Markell supports Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood provides needed health care services to underserved women in our communities, such as gynecological care, contraception to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies, and screening for STDs. Such health care services are vital to the women who depend on them.

This was what I expected, and similar to the response that Max received from Hassan’s office. It may not be a good answer, but at least she emailed me back. None of the other offices have responded to my emails at all.

Next, I decided to call each governor’s press office, where I had more luck. When I called the office of Governor Cuomo of New York, I was told that all questions have to be submitted in writing (I have since filled out two contact forms on their website, but I have yet to be contacted). I then called California Governor Jerry Brown’s office. The staffer I spoke with said she was not able to answer my questions, as Brown has not released a statement on the videos or about Planned Parenthood in general. She did, however, say that she had personally seen the video.

I then called Colorado governor John Hickenlooper’s office and spoke with someone who said he hadn’t talked to the governor in two months (he said he was kind of mad about that, which I found funny), so he was not able to give the governor’s position. When I asked if he had seen the videos himself, he said he had not. I described some of the videos, then asked if he personally supported Planned Parenthood, which he said he did. Finally, I asked him if he knew about the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, which he had never heard of it. After I explained it to him, he said he will try to bring up to someone higher up in the office.

As I continued to roll through the (blessedly short) list of Democratic governors, I next tried calling the beautiful state of Hawaii to find out Governor David Ige’s views. I was told that they would call me back with answers. They have not.

I then contacted Kentucky governor Steve Beshear’s office and was told that Governor Beshear does not have a position on Planned Parenthood. However, as a first, I was told that Beshear had definitely not seen the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress. In addition, I was told the state does not provide money to Planned Parenthood. Those words were music to my ears and, frankly, something I did not expect to hear when I started.

I continued the project, hoping to hear that another governor did not support Planned Parenthood. Unfortunately, I have yet to hear those words again, as none of my other messages have been answered, apparently due to a high call volumes to these offices. The Democratic governors who have so far dodged my questions include: Steve Bullock of Montana, Jay Nixon of Missouri, Kate Brown of Oregon, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, Peter Shumlin of Vermont, Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, and Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia. Yes, even the governor of Vermont was apparently drowned in phone calls, which I find almost as astonishing as hearing that someone in Governor Hickenlooper’s office had not talked to him in two months.

My findings have been disappointing: of all the Democratic governor’s offices, only Steve Beshear’s would even admit that he has not seen the videos. I suspect most of the other governors have not, either. If you live in a state with a Democratic governor, and you would like to know if they have seen the Planned Parenthood abortion videos, then please contact their offices. Perhaps they will be more responsive to constituents.

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  1. KiminWI Member

    My governor defunded Planned Parenthood some time ago, I’m pleased to say. But the previous governor, a Democrat, would have supported them and would have rudely rebuffed any inquiry, I have no doubt.

    They are not SEEING the videos?  That may trouble me the most. If you smell smoke, don’t you go look for flames, just in case disaster threatens?  Are we really living behind such impermeable borders that we can’t even share observations? How do we breach that?

    “…but men loved the darkness.”

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  2. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist

    If I may make a suggestion? The way to be sure the governors are held to account is to leverage your project through other powerful entities.

    For example, I once had a gripe with Costco. I wrote a letter addressed to the chief officers of Costco, which I (prominently) copied to the executives at Sam’s. I heard immediately from the manager of a local Sam’s outlet.

    We’re only little people. But, when we involve other powerful people, not just the targets of our inquiry —  and especially media (not just FOX, but CNN and other liberal outlets) — it makes one a little nervous about being outdone by the others. Use competition between them to your advantage.

    Consider copying the answer of one to the others in the next round, and ask the same of all the Republican governors. Make it a head-to-head competition for all of them. You’re asking fair questions which they all should be made to answer.

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  3. Fritz Coolidge

    I can save you at least the trouble of contacting our idiot governor Inslee here in WA.  He was interviewed on the radio about PP and the videos a week or two ago (before heading out on yet another junket — oops, I mean trade mission). He was emphatic that he had not seen the alleged videos, that he was a big supporter of the vital work that PP does in the area of women’s health, etc etc. And of course, being a good little Democrat, he took a mild shot or two at those who would make reprehensible undercover videos. Just another day in la la land.

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  4. Manny Member

    They’re all a bunch of phonies.  If they truly haven’t seen the videos it’s because of a conscious decision not to, just so they can avoid addressing the issue.  It’s a Dem strategy.

    • #4

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