Blog Post

Baby Parts Scandal Leaves Planned Parenthood Reeling

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

The nation’s largest abortion provider is scrambling to put out the fire caused by an undercover video-gone-viral that revealed how the organization traffics in the sale of fetal body parts.

Planned Parenthood put out a statement within two hours of the launch of the video yesterday which shows its director of medical services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, enjoying lunch while describing how she and her fellow abortionists arrange to provide buyers with the fetal baby parts they want. Unknown to Nucatola at the time, she was having this conversation with two undercover representatives of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), a grass roots group of citizen journalists, who will be releasing similar videos in the weeks ahead.

According to Eric Ferraro, Vice President of Communications at Planned Parenthood, Nucatola was simply arranging for tissue donations to scientific research – which is perfectly legal.

“In health care, patients sometimes want to donate tissue to scientific research that can help lead to medical breakthroughs, treatments and cures for serious diseases. Women at Planned Parenthood who have abortions are no different. 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 Planned Parenthood. 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.”

Ferraro claims the CMP video was “heavily edited” for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood and that the group’s claims would fall apart upon closer examination.

Unfortunately for Mr. Ferraro, closer examination of the video by legal experts is making CMP’s claims even more credible.

For instance, Casey Maddox, senior counsel with the public interest firm Alliance Defending Freedom, viewed the video and told the National Catholic Register that it appears that “Planned Parenthood is carefully skirting this law if not violating it.”

While the law does allow for donations of tissue and reasonable fees to cover transportation, Nucatola’s description of some of the procedures used to procure these body parts may be violations of the federal partial-birth abortion ban. He also believes the company may be breaking another law by changing an abortion procedure in order to procure tissue for research – something Nucatola describes at length – and which is a violation of the National Institutes of Health Revitalization law.

As a result Governors Bobby Jindahl of Louisiana and Greg Abbott of Texas have launched investigations.

In addition, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who co-chairs the bipartisan Pro-Life Caucus with Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., informed the Register in a statement that Congress would look into the matter.

“The shocking video released today revealing Planned Parenthood’s engagement in selling baby body parts demands a response from Congress, and we will provide one,” Smith said. “Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider, wounding women and profiting off of the death of children, first by dismembering unborn children and then by selling their organs piece by piece. This horrific abuse must stop.”

Meanwhile, former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson admitted that she had participated in similar activity during her tenure with the company and describes the process in grisly detail:

“All of the blood, body parts and extra tissue would be collected into a glass jar. That glass jar would come to me in the POC (products of conception) lab through a ‘pass through specimen cabinet.’ I would take the jar to our sink, dump everything into a huge strainer, rinse out the jar and then rinse the blood out of the strainer. After I had a clean body, I would dump it into the glass baking dish that was sitting on top of an x-ray light box. I would put a little bit of water in the glass dish so that the body parts would float…that made it easier for me to manipulate them.”

Even though intact fetal bodies were the most prized by fetal tissue research organizations, dismembered body parts were acceptable, and this is what she usually gave them.

“I would check the patient’s chart to make sure that they had signed the consent for us to donate their baby’s remains. Almost every woman did, because we made it seem like that by donating, they were helping others…altruism during abortion. If she had consented, then I would gather the parts wanted (usually all of them) and place them in a particular container given to us by the research company. At the end of the day, I would pack all of the containers neatly in the box with dry ice and ship them off.”

Johnson performed this task routinely for eight years and admits, “The images of tiny bodies will always be burned in my memory. And in a strange way, I am thankful for that memory as it reminds me what I’m fighting for.

A petition calling upon Congress to investigate this matter further is currently underway. Click here to sign on!

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