Planned Parenthood, the nation’s biggest abortion business player, often – well, always – takes criticism from conservatives, those who are pro-life and family organizations, when it’s in the news.
But the newest controversy, where one executive describes how Planned Parenthood sells the body parts of aborted unborn children and uses partial-birth abortions to harvest intact parts has even members of the left, those who traditionally support the abortion business, recoiling.
The scandal was revealed in the following video:
It was released by the Center for Medical Progress, and reveals Deborah Nucatola of Planned Parenthood at a business lunch with a man and a woman posing as buyers from a human biologics company.
As head of Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Medical Services division, Nucatola has overseen medical practice at all Planned Parenthood clinics since 2009. She also trains new abortion doctors and performs abortions herself at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles up to 24 weeks.
The full, unedited video, from which the shorter version was taken, is here:
Arit John, writing in Bloomberg, noted that there have been many criticisms of the production of the video itself.
“But even if the legal accusations don’t hold up, Nucatola discusses how she and other providers potentially change the way they perform abortions when they have the needs of the research community in mind,” John wrote. “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact,’ she says in the video.
“That has caused some doubts, even among people who support abortion rights,” John wrote.
At the New York Times, Northwestern University professor Laurie Zoloth described it as “terribly disturbing because the physician seems to be engaged in a transaction in which the goal is to extract tissue to meet the needs of a company, rather than being focused on the core purpose of her clinic, which is to provide a safe medical procedure.”
Zoloth continued, “The doctor seems extraordinarily cavalier … Having this discussion over a meal, while drinking what appears to be wine, takes this further from the realm of professional clinical medicine and into the realm of business.”
She said, “The specter of cutting up and using hearts and lungs and legs from aborted fetuses disturbs even supporters who are pro-choice. The physician seems in the video to be unaware of this basic moral problem.”
John wrote that the release raises a lot of questions.
“Is Planned Parenthood illegally profiting off the sale of fetal body parts? According to the full video, probably not. Are Planned Parenthood officials violating medical ethics rules by changing the way they perform abortions to preserve body parts for research? Unclear. And, is this enough to launch a concerted effort on the right to defund Planned Parenthood and hurt its efforts across the country? Possibly. After all, it was a series of similar undercover videos that prompted Congress’ most recent failed attempt to block taxpayer funds to Planned Parenthood.”
Already, members of Congress are working on an investigation of Planned Parenthood, several governors have targeted the abortion business for reviews in their own states, and one bill funding a donor to Planned Parenthood was withdrawn in the U.S. House.
Planned Parenthood has released several statements saying that the “claims are flat-out untrue.”
The statement from spokesman Eric Ferrero then attacked politicians, to whom Planned Parenthood in indebted each year for hundreds of millions of dollars in public funding.
The truth of the situation, he said, “doesn’t matter to politicians with a longstanding political agenda to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood.”
Some of the GOP candidates for president also blasted the video, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry noting they already defunded the organization in their states.
At the Chicago Tribune, Red Huppke, who admits supporting Planned Parenthood and abortion, said the organization needs to speak up.
He cited the statements by Nucatola, who said, “I’d say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps.
“So then you’re just kind of cognizant of where you put your graspers, you try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that, you know, we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
Wrote Huppke, “To the average person, it’s horrifying to watch someone discuss the procedure in such a cavalier manner. In parts, Nucatola comes off as a monster. In a world where controversial videos spread like a contagion on social media, embedding images in people’s minds, perception can render facts irrelevant. Regardless of the source or the manner in which the recording was obtained, this video will affirm many of the worst fears of Planned Parenthood’s critics and sway others who weren’t sure quite where they stand.”
Huppke continued, “I fully support women’s reproductive rights and believe Planned Parenthood – which provides far more than just abortion services – is a good organization that helps women across the country. I also understand the passionate opposition to abortion and respect the fact that, for many, abortion is inherently immoral and the use of tissue from an aborted fetus, regardless of what good might come of it, is the continuation of an immoral act.
“The Center for Medical Progress and other anti-abortion activists are, of course, doing all they can to make this video seem as macabre and damning as possible. They’re making allegations that don’t stand up to scrutiny, but the truth is that the video shows a pragmatism that many, even those who support a woman’s right to choose, will find discomforting.”
Eugene Scott at CNN wrote that GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson considered the video “shocking” and the organization’s behavior “sordid.”
And Kyle Wingfield at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said, “The video casts doubt on that part about the ‘highest ethical and legal standards’ being in place. In the video, Nucatola is heard talking about avoiding the ‘perception’ Planned Parenthood clinics were making money.”
He quoted, “Some might do it for free. (Others) want to come to a number that it doesn’t look like they’re making money. They want to come to a number that looks like it is a reasonable number for the effort that is allotted on their part.”
He then cited Nucatola’s comments about dollars and cents.
“That’s not exactly calculating or reimbursing actual costs, or ensuring any charge for the organs is strictly a break-even amount. One would think that an organization as large and scrutinized as Planned Parenthood would have protocols for its clinics to use in setting these kinds of prices, to ensure there’s no room for confusion. But the concern, as relayed by Nucatola, seems to be only making the price ‘reasonable’ so no one asks questions. The federal law banning fetal-tissue sales refers to ‘valuable consideration,’ so a legal question would be whether there’s enough margin between the (apparently un-calculated) cost the clinic incurs and the ‘reasonable’ price it charges to qualify as ‘valuable consideration.'”
Those who are pro-life were unrestrained.
Commentator Michelle Malkin wrote, “Hannibal Lecter ain’t got nothing on the profit-maximizing abortion ghoul caught on tape hawking aborted baby parts as she swilled wine and nibbled on a gourmet salad.”
She continued, “Hollywood couldn’t conjure monsters this chillingly, banally evil. Nucatola exulted at how fetal livers have become tres chic: ‘A LOT of people’ want them. She then spoke of the new hot trends in body-parts trafficking as if she were raving about the latest craze for crop tops or artisanal cheese. ‘I was like wow,’ she gushed to her potential clients about the market for unborn baby hearts, ‘I didn’t even know!'”
The far left Media Matters described the video as “deceptive,” explaining Nucatola said, “No affiliate should be doing anything that’s not like, reasonable and customary. This is not – nobody should be ‘selling’ tissue. That’s just not the goal here.”
And Kevin Drum at Mother Jones said the “sting” was “yet another right-wing nothingburger.”
“So there’s basically nothing here. … if you think abortion is wrong, you’re certainly not going to be happy about the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses.”
At the Hill, a report noted that Planned Parenthood was responding on Wednesday by now attacking the group that released the video.
The report said Planned Parenthood Action Fund released 11 pages of attack points against the founder of the video group.
That the video was having impact, however, was indisputable.
The Washington Examiner said Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., teared up on the House floor Tuesday. “Are we going to look the other way while babies are brutally killed and organs harvested for profit?'”
A public relations firm working on behalf of the abortionists said the “tissue donation” actually were “humanitarian undertakings that hold the potential to cure disease, save lives and ameliorate suffering.”
Already, GOP House leaders say they have told the committees who oversee such activity to investigate Planned Parenthood.
If Planned Parenthood is working to “monetize an unborn child,” said House Speaker John Boehner, “we must all act.”
A family group, the Washington-based Family Research Council, said an investigation certainly is needed.
“Trafficking in human body parts is something you would expect to hear coming from some rogue nation, not a taxpayer funded organization in the United States. Selling baby body parts not only reveals a disregard for the law, it shows a total disregard for human dignity,” said FRC President Tony Perkins.
“Planned Parenthood has been repeatedly caught on video engaging in unethical and possibly illegal activity. It is time for Congress to end taxpayer involvement in this immoral enterprise.”
He continued, “Family Research Council commends U.S. Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich.; Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Tim Murphy, R-Pa.; and Joe Pitts, R-Pa., for their work to make this investigation possible. We also thank Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., for working with the relevant committees to make this investigation possible.”