By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, July 30, a fourth undercover video by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) was shown alleging that Planned Parenthood doctors and staff may have performed unethical procedures in order to extract body parts from aborted fetuses for profit. Planned Parenthood denies that anything illegal or improper has occurred and defends its record.
The President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, Staci Fox released the following statement:
“For over 70 years, Planned Parenthood has provided high-quality, affordable health care in Alabama. Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our patients, which is why we are standing strong and calling this latest attack what it is – part of a decade-long campaign to deceive the public, make false charges, and terrorize women and their doctors, all in order to ban abortion and cut women off from care at Planned Parenthood.”
Fox said that, “As a high-quality health care provider, Planned Parenthood follows all federal and state laws and regulations. Our physicians adhere to the most rigorous professional standards.”
Fox said that, “While Planned Parenthood Southeast doesn’t provide tissue donation services, it is a standard practice in the medical community. In health care, patients sometimes want to donate tissue to scientific research that can help lead to medical breakthroughs, such as treatments and cures for serious diseases. Women who have abortions are no different. Health centers that provide this service do so just like every other high-quality health care provider does – with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards. There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for the health center. In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field.”
President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Cecile Richards dismissed critics as extremists Wednesday in the wake of the videos that allegedly shows how the group harvests fetal organs. Richards wrote in the Washington Post,
“Since our very beginning, our health centers, providers and patients have come under outrageous attacks, political and otherwise. The most recent attacks in this decades-long campaign represent a new low.”
Richards did apologize for Dr. Deborah Nucatola’s casual tone in the first video, “In the video, one of our staff members speaks in a way that does not reflect” compassion, she said. “This is unacceptable, and I personally apologize for the staff member’s tone and statements.” Cecile Richards (57) is from Waco, Texas and has led Planned Parenthood since 2006. She is the daughter of former Texas Governor Ann Richards (D).
Many mainstream media outlets have come to Planned Parenthood’s defense.
Planned Parenthood Southeast’s Spokeswoman Helen Cox provided the Alabama Political Reporter with over a dozen instances of media reporting that was supportive of Planned Parenthood’s version of events:
MSNBC’s Steve Bene wrote: “It’s not clear why the Washington Post put the story literally on the front page, since there are no credible allegations of wrongdoing.” Benen acknowledges in the article that his wife is a Planned Parenthood employee in the article. He is a also producer for the Rachel Maddow Show.
Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak wrote: “The group behind the sting edited a three-hour meeting down to eight minutes of detailed medical description, then blasted it across the country proclaiming that they have evidence that Planned Parenthood is harvesting baby parts for profit. Um, no — not even remotely….The truth is, this video is nothing more than another one of those graphic abortion protest posters of mutilated fetuses waved at people and passing children on the street. Totally out of context and totally horrible.”
The New York Times Jackie Calmes wrote, “While the video…alleges that Planned Parenthood is guilty of the crime of selling fetal remains, the official tells her questioners more than once that the cost, $30 to $100, is reimbursement for clinics’ expenses.”
Planned Parenthood Spokesman Eric Ferrero denied in a statement that Planned Parenthood sells fetal body parts for profit. Ferrero says,
“At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider does — with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards. There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood.”
Obviously Planned Parenthood’s Pro-Life critics disagree. Katie Mumma a Canterbury fellow at the Beckett Institute for Religious Liberty attacked Planned Parenthood for the mechanics of the fetal tissue donation program. In a Wednesday column she asserts that Dr. Nucatola explains how to avoid dealing with a live fetus in a later term abortion by injecting a fatal quantity of digoxin, a cardiotoxic drug, into the baby’s heart before dismembering or delivering it so the baby dies from a heart attack. The drug also makes the tissues softer and easier to pull apart. The problem here is that digoxin would make the organs and tissues unusable for the research that Nucatola is discussing selling/donating the parts for with the actors. Therefore to use the fetal tissue no digoxin is used. According to Mumma, “These babies are being strategically maneuvered, crushed, and dismembered under ultrasound guidance—while still alive.”
In the fourth video that came out on Thursday, Planned Parenthood Colorado Dr. Savita Ginde is asked by the actors if she ever gets intact specimens. She replies, “Sometimes, if we get, if someone delivers before we get to see them for a procedure, then we are intact.” CMP alleges that, since this particular Planned Parenthood affiliate does not use feticides like digoxin in its second-trimester procedures, then any intact deliveries prior to an abortion “are potentially born-alive infants under federal law.”
Planned Parenthood Southeast said in a released statement that:
The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) is an extreme activist organization whose sole mission is to prevent women from accessing health care and to destroy Planned Parenthood. The board members of this group believe that abortion is “genocide,” and employ people who went to jail for attempting to bomb a women’s health clinic. They are also connected with the man who murdered abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.”
Planned Parenthood Southeast said that, “CMP has used footage obtained through deceit and unlawful behavior, including possible violations of state recording laws, federal tax laws and falsified state identification. Then, they concoct wildly false stories through selective editing. We expect this video will be no different in that regard; however, footage yet to come is expected to represent an extreme violation of patient privacy by including footage of post-abortion fetal tissue neither patients nor health care professionals authorized be filmed. The extremists who entered Planned Parenthood labs under false pretenses violated research protocol, and, worse, violated the privacy of patients involved.”
Planned Parenthood Southeast acknowledged, “Some of the conversations and protocols that occur in medical settings and among professional peers can sound jarring when taken out of context. While this can be difficult to hear or watch, it should not be used as an excuse to defund Planned Parenthood.”
Planned Parenthood South East is asking the Alabama Political Reporter and other media outlets not to broadcast any of the videos because: “CMP gained access to Planned Parenthood facilities under false pretenses and filmed without securing approval from the Planned Parenthood staff being filmed or the patients whose privacy is compromised by this secret videotaping. The material should not be aired.”
The US Senate is set to vote as early as Monday on defunding Planned Parenthood. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) is one of the original co-sponsors of that legislation.