UPDATED Thursday, July 16, 2015 at 2:43 p.m. ET:
The president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Cecile Richards, apologized Thursday for the “tone and statements” made by a staff member in a hidden camera video released by an anti-abortion group. However, she said her group “stands behind our work to help women and families donate tissue for medical research when they wish to.” See what she had to say in the video below:
A transcript of Richards’ remarks in the video follows:
Hello. I’m Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Planned Parenthood provides a full range of health care services to millions of women, men, and young people every year, including cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and abortion. And we provide much more than health services – we support millions of people as they build their futures and pursue their goals.
Recently, an organization that opposes safe and legal abortion used secretly recorded, heavily edited videos to make outrageous claims about programs that help women donate fetal tissue for medical research.
I want to be really clear: The allegation that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation is not true. Our donation programs – like any other high-quality health care providers – follow all laws and ethical guidelines. Over our 100-year history, we have continually engaged leading medical experts to shape our practices, policies, and high standards – and always will.
Our top priority is the compassionate care that we provide. In the video, one of our staff members speaks in a way that does not reflect that compassion. This is unacceptable, and I personally apologize for the staff member’s tone and statements.
As always, if there is any aspect of our work that can be strengthened, we want to know about it, and we take swift action to address it.
Planned Parenthood stands behind our work to help women and families donate tissue for medical research when they wish to. It is always their decision.
I thank those women and families who have chosen tissue donation at some point in their lives. Your commitment to lifesaving research, developing treatments for diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, is important and compassionate, and it should be respected – not attacked.
We know the real agenda of organizations behind videos like this, and they have never been concerned with protecting the health and safety of women. Their mission is to ban abortion completely and cut women off from care at Planned Parenthood and other health centers.
We will never let that happen.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America has denounced a secretly recorded video that purported to show one of its senior administrators discussing the sale of fetal organs obtained from controversial partial abortion procedures, saying the video was deceptively edited to create the appearance of impropriety. Shown above, the video is titled “Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts.”
Eric Ferrero, Planned Parenthood’s vice president of communications, condemned the video from the conservative, anti-abortion group the Center for Medical Progress, based in Irvine, California. He said in an email statement that the video was edited to make it appear as if Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical research, was discussing the sale of fetal parts from the controversial partial abortion procedure.
“These outrageous claims are flat-out untrue, but that doesn’t matter to politicians with a longstanding political agenda to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood,” Ferrero said Wednesday in an email statement.
“Women and families who make the decision to donate fetal tissue for lifesaving scientific research should be honored, not attacked and demeaned,” he continued. “Our medical practices and guidelines in this area are clear, and we do this important work just like other high-quality health care providers — with full, appropriate consent from patients, under the highest ethical and legal standards, and with no financial benefit for the patient or Planned Parenthood.”
Ferrero continued his statement, writing that Nucatola was speaking about standard reimbursement fees for costs associated with tissue donation programs, “which every health care provider has and which the federal law provides for.”
Indeed, the videos come at a time when the nation is gearing up for another presidential election in 2016, and Planned Parenthood appears to be a favorite target of conservatives.
— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) July 15, 2015
I believe that if Republicans stand strong for life, we can finally put Democrats on the defensive for their pro-abortion record. (1/3)
— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 15, 2015
They’re the ones with a record of supporting partial-birth abortion by keeping taxpayer dollars flowing to Planned Parenthood. (2/3)
— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 15, 2015
Congress must feel the pressure. Will you sign your “Defund Planned Parenthood” petition now? https://t.co/HLIpBk3Y9s
— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 15, 2015
Some Planned Parenthood affiliates, he explained, have programs for women and families who want to donate tissue to leading research institutions that will use it to help find treatment and cures for diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease, he said.
The Center for Medical Progress recorded the video that surfaced Tuesday, showing Dr. Nucatola ostensibly discussing the sale of fetal tissue on July 25, 2014 over a wine luncheon at a bustling Los Angeles eatery. Two actors posed as workers at a human biologics company.
She can be heard discussing in graphic detail how to abort a fetus and save its organs for medical research. She also discusses costs related to the process, between $30 and $100.
The Center for Medical Progress claims that the organization was in violation of 42 U.S.C. 289g-2, a federal law regulating the use and sale of fetal tissue.
“I’d say a lot of people want liver,” she says in the video when asked about the process. “And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps. The kind of rate-limiting step of the procedure is calvarium. Calvarium—the head—is basically the biggest part.”
There are two versions of the video posted on YouTube, including an eight-minute, 51-second version and a “full” version that is two hours and 42 minutes. The longer unedited video shows Dr. Nucatola discussing reimbursement costs for legal donation processes during missing footage in the middle.
From Media Matters:
The unedited video reveals the full context for Nucatola’s cost comments. Right after the video jumps forward, Nucatola specifically references exact “shipping” and other associated costs which could legally be reimbursed, before discussing affiliates’ general “bottom line” attempts to “break even”…
PPFA Official [Dr. Nucatola] Repeatedly Referred To “Tissue Donation,” Not Sale, In Unedited Transcript. Dr. Nucatola repeatedly refers to “tissue donation” during the conversation…
David Daleiden, who ran the project for the Center for Medical Progress, says in a statement that the video is part of an ongoing effort to prevent Planned Parenthood from profiting from the sale of aborted fetal parts.
“Planned Parenthood’s criminal conspiracy to make money off of aborted baby parts reaches to the very highest levels of their organization,” Daleiden says in a statement released along with the video.
The allegation that Planned Parenthood is illegally selling the organs of fetuses is not new among anti-abortion advocates, according to The Washington Post. But a federal probe found no evidence of wrongdoing.
The controversy gained national attention in 2000, after the publication of an undercover investigation by a Texas-based antiabortion group, Life Dynamics, which was also involved in Tuesday’s video release.
The investigation’s conclusion, that a Kansas clinic affiliated with Planned Parenthood was participating in a scheme to profit from the sale of fetal tissues, prompted a 20/20 hidden camera investigation on the subject, and a hearing of the Subcommittee on Health and Environment in the House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post said Tuesday that as politicians responded to the video, a bill to increase funding for breast cancer research was pulled from the House floor after abortion critics linked it to Planned Parenthood.
The Breast Cancer Awareness Commemorative Coin Act would have raised as much as $4.75 million in research funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure—an organization that has a longstanding alliance with Planned Parenthood to fund preventative cancer screenings. The bill was expected to pass easily, but House Republican leaders pulled it from consideration after the conservative group Heritage Action objected.
During the 2012 presidential election, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation also came under fire for cutting funds to Planned Parenthood after the family planning group suffered scrutiny from Republican lawmakers over how it provides abortion services. Komen quickly reversed course and restored the grants.
The video is the first in the Center for Medical Progress’ Human Capital series, a nearly 3-year-long investigative journalism study of Planned Parenthood’s illegal trafficking of aborted fetal parts, according to Daleiden.
“Elected officials must listen to the public outcry for Planned Parenthood to be held accountable to the law and for our tax dollars to stop underwriting this barbaric abortion business,” Daleiden continued.
However, according to Ferrero,“The person leading this campaign used to be a senior staff member at Live Action, which for seven years has made false claims that have been widely discredited by journalists and independent organizations; Forbes Magazine noted that their claims about Planned Parenthood ‘fall apart upon close inspection.”
Watch footage of the longer video here:
VIDEO SOURCE: YouTube