In response to Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards’ August 27th letter to Congress in defense of PP, David Daleiden of The Center for Medical Progress has sent a letter of his own, detailing why he believes there is clear evidence to show that Planned Parenthood is illegally profiting from the sale of fetal body parts.
Daleiden addresses the fact that Planned Parenthood Federation of America, “from the top down,” is aware that certain affiliates participate in the sale of fetal tissue for profit. Richards admits in her letter that certain affiliates have participated in fetal tissue donations, but downplays the numbers, just as PP does with its number of annual abortions, saying:
… [O]ur affiliates’ involvement in fetal tissue research is a miniscule part of the work of Planned Parenthood. Despite a deliberate and systematic effort to distort our role, only two of 59 Planned Parenthood affiliates are currently involved with fetal tissue research.
The key word in Richards’ comments is “currently.” She then attempts to diminish PP’s involvement in fetal tissue donation even more by leaping from “affiliate” numbers to “health center” numbers, saying, “Of the hundreds of health centers that are part of the Planned Parenthood network, just 1% are involved with fetal tissue research.” For an organization which claims to be “proud” of offering fetal tissue donation as well as abortion, they certainly try very hard to diminish these services in the public eye.
Daleiden, in his letter, responds to Richards’ claims:
While Richards’ letter goes to great lengths to assert that fetal tissue harvesting is limited to a miniscule number of Planned Parenthood locations, the letter also admits uncertainty: “At this point, we are aware of no additional affiliates beyond those described above that are involved with fetal tissue research over the last five years. We will continue to make our best efforts to make sure our current understanding is comprehensive.” The letter references 11 affiliates total with fetal tissue involvement in the past 5 years—nearly 20% of 59 affiliates—but based on statements from Planned Parenthood representatives to our investigators in September 2013, October 2014, and February 2015, and public statements from TPOs, CMP counts at least 14 Planned Parenthood affiliates that have definitively engaged in fetal tissue harvesting in that time period.
In a previous letter to Congress, sent by Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s senior counsel Roger K. Evans on July 17, Planned Parenthood claimed it had broken no laws by recouping costs involved with “tissue donation” as discussed in CMP’s first video. Evans wrote in his letter:
At one point, Dr. Nucatola stated that the reimbursement of costs for a tissue specimen could be between $30 and $100. This statement by Dr. Nucatola was immediately followed by an explanation that the amount had to be based on the clinic’s costs, which is what the law allows. As Dr. Nucatola explained, “It just has to do with space issues, are you sending someone there who’s going to be doing everything, is there shipping involved, is somebody going to have to take it out. … [I]t’s really just about if anyone were ever to ask them, well what do you do for this $60, how can you justify that? … So it just needs to be justifiable.”
This important passage was also edited out of the video excerpt, making it appear that Dr. Nucatola was discussing impropriety when in fact she was saying the opposite, which is that Planned Parenthood only receives reimbursement for costs associated with humanitarian tissue donation, as the law requires.
But The Center for Medical Progress released its full footage of this conversation on July 14 – three days prior to Evans’ letter – along with a transcript (see p. 4). So while Evans took issue with the “excerpt,” the unedited video version also shows Nucatola saying that the best way for fetal tissue procurement agencies to partner with abortion clinics is to make sure the clinics know there would be little to no effort involved on their part – which leads to the question, “Exactly what ‘costs’ need to be ‘reimbursed’?”:
The way they look at time, is space and staff time. So, you know, it’s a matter of- here’s how we can help, we’re going to take up the least possible space, we’re going to do as much as we can, so it’s not your [the clinic’s] staff time, it’s our [the procurement agency’s] staff time. You know, maybe there is some other, in kind something else that can happen.
In CMP’s video filmed at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, abortionist Dr. Savita Ginde even expresses willingness to be paid per body part or organ – to “see how much we can get out of it.” Does this constitute Richards’ and Evans’ idea of “reimbursement of costs”?
David Daleiden addressed PP’s claims about reimbursement in his letter, referring to a different PP affiliate, but which is applicable in general:
ABR [Advanced Bioscience Resources] handles all dissection, packaging, and shipping of fetal organs and tissues, and so it is unclear for what PPPS could be receiving “reimbursement.” This is especially suspicious given that Ms. [Cecile] Richards [PP’s president and CEO] says the $60 fee is paid “per tissue specimen.” Thus, if ABR harvests a liver and a thymus, a common fetal tissue order, from an 18-week fetus aborted at the San Diego clinic, Planned Parenthood receives a total payment of $120 from that case.
It stretches credulity to believe that ABR’s technician harvesting two organs from a fetus costs Planned Parenthood $120—this is a new revenue stream off of fetal tissue with no real cost to Planned Parenthood, and thus a criminal profit.
Life News reports that in her letter to Congress, PP president Cecile Richards also reveals that, just as The Center for Medical Progress has claimed, there are adjustments being made to abortion procedures in order to harvest certain fetal body parts. Richards wrote:
In performing the selected method, a physician may need to make multiple adjustments to the method as the surgery proceeds. These adjustments are clinical judgments – not a change of method – made by the physician as the abortion proceeds and are always intended to achieve the woman’s desired result as safely as possible…. Our understanding, however, is that even adjustments that facilitate fetal tissue donations rarely occur at our few clinics that offer women this service.
This appears to be an admission of exactly what the CMP videos have shown. In video #1, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, as Life News points out, “was caught admitting how she would discuss which type of aborted baby body parts were needed with other Planned Parenthood staffers and would ‘crush above’ and below the aborted baby’s body to obtain the organs she wanted to sell. That had nothing to do with women’s health and everything to do with making money off of the sales of body parts.”
And in video #2, Dr. Mary Gatter discussed her willingness to address with her clinic’s abortionist the use of a “less crunchy” abortion technique in order to obtain more intact specimens.
Federal law at 42 U.S.C. 289g-1 is written to bar such alterations to abortion procedures. According to Richards, Planned Parenthood relies on their own narrow interpretation of this law to excuse the changes their doctors make to abortion procedures in order to get higher quality specimens. Even if the Planned Parenthood interpretation were correct, such changes to the procedure are clearly in violation of their own guidance and also contrary to the language used in their patient consent form for tissue donation: “I understand there will be no changes to how or when my abortion is done in order to get my blood or the tissue.”
Bottom line: Despite Planned Parenthood’s claim that an independent research firm found CMP’s videos to be unreliable, it seems they may have inadvertently admitted that the videos got it right all along.