Live Action punches holes in Planned Parenthood claims that its facilities comply with law when harvesting baby parts

Press Release

(September 14, 2015) – In a memo to congressional leaders today, including the leaders of committees holding hearings, Lila Rose, the president of leading pro-life organization Live Action, discredited several claims Planned Parenthood’s president made to Congress that her facilities comply with the law when they harvest organs from aborted children.  Rose urged that Congress continue its multiple investigations into Planned Parenthood illegally profiting from the sale of baby body parts and also allowing infants born alive to die so their organs could be harvested.

Rose also asked Congress to immediately stop pouring over half a billion dollars per year of taxpayer funding into Planned Parenthood coffers, suggesting that there are far better uses of government funds earmarked for health care, including many local hospitals and clinics that provide comprehensive health services to women and that aren’t involved in such abuses.

In the memo, Rose points out that eyewitness accounts and undercover video footage from the Center for Medical Progress indicate:

    *  Planned Parenthood may be allowing infants born alive to die or be killed in its clinics so their organs can be harvested.  One Planned Parenthood medical director admitted that a significant percentage of second trimester babies are born intact before an abortion can be performed, and an eyewitness told of seeing a baby’s beating heart before its brain was harvested.  This violates the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002, which House Speaker John Boehner, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Minority Leader Harry Reid all voted for in 2002.

    *  Planned Parenthood is illegally profiting from the sale of baby parts.  Planned Parenthood admits it gets “$60 per tissue specimen.”  Harvesting a baby’s several organs could bring in over $500, significantly more than the legally allowed reimbursement of actual costs, especially when procurement companies like StemExpress bring in technicians to harvest and ship the organs.  A Planned Parenthood executive admitted that when it came to organ harvesting, “[I]t was very easy for us, we didn’t have to do anything.”

Rose and Live Action have performed hidden camera investigations of Planned Parenthood for nearly a decade, exposing the abortion chain’s willingness to cover up sex trafficking, accept donations targeted at preventing black births, and return minor girls to their rapists.

Full text of the memo:

September 14, 2015

To Speaker Boehner, Leader McConnell, Leader Pelosi, and Leader Reid:
CC: The Honorable Charles E. Grassley, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy, Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee
The Honorable Robert W. Goodlatte, Chairman, House Judiciary Committee
The Honorable John Conyers Jr., Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee
The Honorable Fred Upton, Chairman, House Energy and Commerce Committee
The Honorable Frank Pallone, Jr., Ranking Member, House Energy and Commerce Committee
The Honorable Jason Chaffetz, Chairman, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member

        As you know, four committees in the Senate and House are currently investigating Planned Parenthood. As President of Live Action, a non-profit human rights group that has scrutinized the anti-woman actions of Planned Parenthood for nearly a decade, I urge you to continue and to extend your rightful investigations. Further, these investigations should be concurrent with immediate congressional action to completely eliminate all taxpayer funding of the abortion giant.

        Recently, I read Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards’ letter to you, carefully calculated to persuade you to move to a “different path.” As someone who is quite familiar with the manipulation and deceptiveness of Planned Parenthood, I appeal to you to remain unmoved in your determination to pursue justice for the American people.

        One of the most significant ways that federal law is almost certainly being violated in Planned Parenthood clinics is through violations of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002, 1 U.S.C. § 8. As you are aware, this law calls any child born alive – including from an attempted abortion – at any stage of pregnancy, a legal person. All persons are entitled to equal human rights, and to the protection of federal law and state law that forbids their intentional killing. I know you are all aware of the essential purpose of BAIPA, as each of you voted for it, and Speaker Boehner was one of its sponsors in the final 2002 version.

        Notably, in Ms. Richards’ August 27 letter to you, she conspicuously left unaddressed the assertion that Planned Parenthood allows born-alive infants to die or be killed in its clinics. At least two of Center for Medical Progress’ videos have raised this horrifying assertion. As a letter I sent to California government officials details, an eyewitness whistleblower, Holly O’Donnell, saw a legally living baby boy killed inside the San Jose Planned Parenthood clinic. This boy’s face was manually cut open with scissors, so that his brain could be harvested and sold. According to Cecile Richards, baby brains are sold for $45-$60.

        Medical research is never advanced on the broken bodies of intentionally killed human beings. This boy – and others like him – have been brutalized, even after being born alive. Instead of following California and federal law, which required Planned Parenthood to treat this baby boy as any other prematurely born infant – with medical care – technicians in the Planned Parenthood facility sliced into this child’s face to harvest his brain and then threw his body into trash. While his legs and feet dangled, O’Donnell described how she had to lift the lid of the trash can to push the baby boy all the way in.

        Astoundingly, Ms. Richards had nothing to say about O’Donnell’s eyewitness account. Perhaps this is because one of Ms. Richards’ own top employees and abortionists gave harrowingly similar information in a recent undercover video released by CMP. Dr. Savita Ginde, Vice President and Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains – a particularly corrupt branch that has been found committing forced and botched abortions, sending minor girls back to their rapists, suggesting illegal activity, and failing to warn of serious health risks to a minor – admitted that a statistically significant percentage of babies in the second trimester are born intact before an abortion can be performed. According to some abortion providers, the babies just slip out of their mothers once dilation has occurred, but before an abortion has taken place.

        Competent OBGYNs and medical professionals are aware that, when babies are born in the second trimester before an abortion has been performed, a number of them are born alive. There are horrifying accounts of babies being delivered into toilets, found thrashing around for their lives and left to die. Tellingly, Ms. Richards fails to explain what happens to the babies who are almost certainly born alive at Dr. Ginde’s Planned Parenthood abortion clinics in Colorado. She also leaves out any information about the baby boy born alive at the San Jose Planned Parenthood abortion clinic.

        And even if Ms. Richards were to assure you that no babies have ever been born alive at a Planned Parenthood clinic, when we consider other portions of Ms. Richards’ letter, we see despite her attempts to obfuscate, her own admissions betray Planned Parenthood’s abusive activities.

First, she states that a “$60 per tissue specimen” is a “modest reimbursement.” Yet, when we consider the fact that a baby’s brain, heart, lungs, legs, bones, liver, and thymus can all be harvested and priced individually, it becomes obvious that $60 per specimen is anything but “modest.” The parts from one aborted baby – specifically an intact one like the boy born alive and killed in San Jose – could arguably bring in over $500, by Ms. Richards’ own numbers. Further, this possible $500 financial benefit for the sum of a child’s parts is in addition to the money Planned Parenthood brings in for each abortion procedure. This is hardly in keeping with the federal law that only allows for reimbursement of actual costs, especially when we consider that the procurement companies like StemExpress bring in their own technicians to actually harvest and ship the organs. In many cases, Planned Parenthood does literally nothing but perform the abortion. As the woman has already paid for the abortion, no actual costs to Planned Parenthood for harvesting and shipping exist, and yet, as Ms. Richards admits, Planned Parenthood is still paid $45 to $60 per specimen.

        Additionally, while Ms. Richards asserts that “affiliates report that these amounts were intended to recover only their costs,” her own executives disagree with her — and quite blatantly. Dr. Mary Gatter, President of Planned Parenthood’s Medical Directors’ Council and Medical Director of Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley, discussed the baby body part business at Planned Parenthood’s Los Angeles clinic. She said, “[L]ogistically it was very easy for us, we didn’t have to do anything. There was compensation for this.”

Not having to do anything and yet being compensated does not ring of recovering costs as Ms. Richards asserts. What reasonable costs, exactly, are associated with doing nothing?

        Ms. Richards insists that “just 1%” of Planned Parenthood centers are “involved with fetal tissue research.” At last count, Planned Parenthood operated 668 clinics nationwide. “Just 1%” would mean that only six or seven clinics participate. Yet Ms. Richards admits she is ignoring clinics that were participating prior to the video release, that she is failing to count clinics who “focus” on placental tissue (which does not give any assurance that they do not also conduct fetal research), and that she is not counting clinics that actually give out or sell all the tissue from an abortion – including a baby’s parts – even if research is not done on these parts. Including all the clinics that participate in these ways would grandly raise Ms. Richards’ claimed 1%. Moreover, Dr. Gatter specifically claimed on video that the only California Planned Parenthood affiliate that was not “partnered” in baby body part sales was the one in Pasadena. That means all but one California Planned Parenthood affiliate was involved.  California Planned Parenthood centers alone account for approximately 16.5% of Planned Parenthood’s total number of centers nationwide – a far cry from the “just 1%” number – even if one affiliate was not partnered.

        We are left to wonder: who is lying? Dr. Gatter, when she believed she was talking with people who wanted to do business with her? Or Ms. Richards, when she is trying to keep hundreds of millions of dollars a year in taxpayer money for her corporation?

        As president of a nonprofit organization who has continually witnessed Planned Parenthood’s history of consistently giving women false information, pressuring and even forcing them into abortions, and now, selling the parts of their babies and almost certainly killing their babies who are born alive, I urge you to thoroughly review the growing body of evidence exposing Planned Parenthood’ deception and wrong-doing.

        Despite Ms. Richards’ assurances that states are finding Planned Parenthood faultless, this is simply not true. Florida has found that a full one quarter of Planned Parenthood’s clinics in the state are in violation of the law. Planned Parenthood has publicly claimed that they have been cleared, but in response, a Florida state attorney wrote to Planned Parenthood’s attorney:

“Your client, Planned Parenthood, continues to misrepresent to the media that AHCA has changed its position… This is false. … [B]ased on the information self-reported by Planned Parenthood, abortions were illegally performed during the second trimester at the three clinics at issue, and our investigation will continue. Please advise your client to govern itself accordingly.”

        Missouri’s investigation is also condemning Planned Parenthood, as the state is concerned that, despite Ms. Richards’ assertions, baby body parts are being sold out of the St. Louis Planned Parenthood clinic. Earlier this year, Missouri cited the clinic “for not sending pathology reports from abortions to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, as required by law.” Currently, “state officials at the health department have no idea how long Planned Parenthood was out of compliance” with the law.

Polling from neutral sources shows that, when Americans hear about the videos released from the Center for Medical Progress, or when they watch these disturbing videos with their own eyes, as I hope each of you has done, they are greatly concerned with Planned Parenthood’s actions. Even when Americans are given Planned Parenthood’s excuse – that they “are engaging in the entirely appropriate activity of allowing women to voluntarily donate fetal tissue for medical research,” the majority of polled Americans believe that “Planned Parenthood is acting inappropriately.” Neutral polling also demonstrates that more Americans believe PP should not be receiving government funding, due to how they deal with aborted babies.

        In addition to completing a thorough investigation and review of the evidence, it is also imperative that Congress immediately stop funding Planned Parenthood with taxpayer dollars. The over half a billion dollars Planned Parenthood receives annually would be put to far better use at local hospitals and clinics that provide more comprehensive health services to women and aren’t involved in such abuses. It is unconscionable that taxpayers are still being forced to fund the chief provider of abortions in America, despite the vast body of evidence proving their continual abuses and illicit activities. For example, on September 3, Alliance Defending Freedom released a 13-page summary report detailing how Planned Parenthood sends sexually abused minor girls back to their abusers – after performing an abortion, and without reporting the abuse as required by law. Multiple cover-ups – not isolated incidents – of sexually abused minors in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Ohio are in the report. In every case, ADF explains how affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America did secret abortions, and sent innocent victims, young girls, back into the arms of their sexual abusers.

Planned Parenthood must be investigated and defunded because they continually commit serious violations of federal law and HHS regulations, including:

  1. 42 U.S. Code § 289g–2: Planned Parenthood sells fetal organs at a profit. Through its own admission, it does nothing to deserve payment.

  2. 42 U.S. Code § 289g–1 (b)(2)(A)(ii) and IRB Guidebook Chapter VI., “Separating Abortion From Research”: Planned Parenthood modifies the abortion procedure, and endangers women for the stated purpose of harvesting fetal organs.

  3. 18 U.S. Code § 1531: Planned Parenthood is likely performing illegal partial-birth abortions, according to the words of a top PPFA executive.

  4. IRB Guidebook Chapter VI., “Separating Abortion From Research”: Planned Parenthood abortionists admit that they are aware that a particular baby will be sold for his or her parts while the abortion is being performed, a violation of HHS regulations.

  5. 1 U.S.C. § 8(b): About 10 percent of babies in their second trimester at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains are born before the abortion has been performed. These babies are likely left to die or purposely killed outside the womb – just as the baby boy in San Diego was.

We urge you to further review the myriad of abuses committed at Planned Parenthood clinics around the nation and take action on behalf of American taxpayers, women and children.

Please do not give up on the one million Americans Live Action represents through our supporters, or the tens of millions of pro-life Americans, who want to see women cared for and children protected. Planned Parenthood must be called to account for their violations of law – perhaps most horrifyingly, their almost-certain violation of the federal Born-Alive Infant Protection Act. As these born-alive babies are persons under federal law, they are deserving of real legal protections – something Planned Parenthood undoubtedly fails to give them.

Lila Rose
Live Action

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