Two judges have suppressed, for now, what could be evidence of criminal activity because of the “privacy” concerns of abortion-business interests, but a legal analyst says their work to conceal information all could be undone by Congress.
The issue is the series of videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, which sent undercover representatives to interview Planned Parenthood executives and others connected with the abortion industry.
Their target was to find out about the industry’s trade in the body parts of unborn infants. Five videos already made public have revealed Planned Parenthood executives callously talking about what they would get – one infamously stated “I want a Lamborghini” – for allowing a company to collect and sell body parts.
But two interests – the commercial StemExpress which operates in the industry and the National Abortion Federation which represents abortion businesses – both went to court to ask that any videos including their own statements be suppressed.
Two judges agreed, and hearings are set later this month to continue arguments over the issue.
But in a commentary published by the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal, legal experts say that may not make any difference.
Hans von Spakovsky, an authority on a wide range of issues including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform, and Elizabeth Slattery, who writes about the rule of law, the role of courts, civil rights and equal protection, both are in the foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.
“[An] action that one or both of these congressional committees [investigating Planned Parenthood] should consider taking is immediately to request or subpoena all of the remaining videos from CMP that have not yet been released.
“The actions of StemExpress and NAF, who are allies of Planned Parenthood, reveal the tactics that these abortion providers and organ buyers intend to use to prevent or delay the release of these videos: seeking out sympathetic judges who will prevent the further release of videos that severely damage the image of the abortion industry and reveal in gory detail their inner workings.”
The commentary continued, “No federal or state judge has the authority to prevent a congressional committee from holding a hearing at which witnesses – like representatives of CMP – testify about their experiences or where the committee presents evidence it has obtained such as the undercover videos, which could also be posted on the committee’s website.
“Such action by Congress may be the only way to ensure that litigation tactics do not prevent the public from seeing the rest of the evidence of Planned Parenthood’s possible violations of federal law, and its hideous practices and procedures.”
They also point out that Judge William Orrick, one of the judges granting the abortion industry protection, “along with his wife was a major campaign finance bundler for and contributor to Obama, raising at least $200,000 for Obama’s campaign and contributing over $30,000 to committees supporting Obama.”
The other judge granting abortionists protection was Joanne B. O’Donnell, in the California state-court system, who ruled in the StemExpress request.
“StemExpress’s desire to avoid further ridicule, criticism or scandal for its nefarious involvement in the gruesome harvesting and sale of aborted babies’ body parts does not outweigh the public’s interest in seeing these videos any more than it would if this were a CBS ’60 Minutes’ undercover sting,” the commentary said.
“The same can be said of NAF, particularly given the information already available. … And these restraining orders may violate the stern prohibition against prior restraint of free speech outlined by U.S. Supreme Court precedent,” it said.
Although it hasn’t reached the level of subpoena yet, Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, already has requested of CMP “all video footage in CMP’s possession relating to the provision, acquisition, preparation, transportation and sale of fetal tissue … by PPFA, Planned Parenthood affiliates and associated clinics, intermediary businesses, end-users, as well as any other individuals, entities and organizations involved in these processes.”
The Family Research Council noted, “Congress may be going away – but the Planned Parenthood issue isn’t. When the Senate breaks for August recess this Friday, the political pressure cooker will only get hotter back home when members hear from unhappy voters firsthand. Even moderate Republicans like Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, seemed to acknowledge that Congress had a lot more work to do to protect the integrity of taxpayer dollars – and human beings.”
The Senate this week had a majority voting to defund Planned Parenthood, but failed to reach the 60-vote procedural hurdle. That isn’t the end, Cornyn has said.
“That vote, Cornyn insisted, ‘isn’t the end of it. This will be the beginning.’ Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who has a long track record of fighting the abortion industry’s corruption, agreed. ‘This almost certainly becomes part of any final decision about how to move forward on funding. There will be a larger discussion on this,'” FRC reported.
“When even MSNBC is calling for taxpayer alternatives to Cecile Richards’s [Planned Parenthood] group, you know the organization is in trouble. MSNBC morning host Joe Scarborough got visibly frustrated when Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., claimed that defunding Planned Parenthood would increase the abortion rate,” the report said.
He said, “I think there are a lot of people who believe in a woman’s right to choose who wouldn’t support federal funding for Planned Parenthood. They aren’t the only people that can hand out birth control.”
FRC also pointed out Sen. Harry Reid’s audacious claim that 39 million women get health care from Planned Parenthood, even though the organization says it saw only 2.7 million in 2013.
“The abortion industry and its supporters may traffic in a lot of things, but the truth is not one of them,” FRC said.
When CMP released its fifth video, WND reported another Planned Parenthood executive was caught discussing the prices for the bodies of unborn babies, noting that “it’s all just a matter of line items” for “intact fetal cadavers” or dissections from them.
Under federal law, it’s illegal to buy or sell body parts of the unborn.
It was Melissa Farrell, of the Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast, one of the biggest Planned Parenthood affiliates in the country, who said, “If we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, we can make it part of the budget that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this. It’s all just a matter of line items.”
Troy Newman, of the abortion-fighting Operation Rescue and who is on the board for CMP, said, “The admission that Planned Parenthood abortionists manipulate procedures in order to better harvest organs or even intact late-term fetal cadavers for human experimentation purposes conjures images of H.G. Wells’ Dr. Moreau. It is all clearly illegal.
“Are ethical standards adhered to during these private experiments? Given Planned Parenthood’s propensity for unethical, above-the-law arrogance, it is doubtful.”
See the video:
Farrell openly discusses how the research department at Planned Parenthood contributes to the “revenue stream” of the abortion business, and says deviating from standard protocols can be considered.
“Anything that we integrate into that procedure, without having you cover the procedural cost, is going to be higher. Right. So anything of a higher gestational age there’s more opportunity for complication. There’s more administrative time involved. Sometimes the procedures are long, so then anything that we piggyback onto that for collection purposes obviously, would have to reflect the additional time, cost, administrative burden.” she said.
CMP spokesman David Daleiden said, “This is now the fifth member of Planned Parenthood leadership discussing payments for aborted baby parts without any connection to actual costs of so-called tissue ‘donation.’ Planned Parenthood’s system-wide conspiracy to evade the law and make money off of aborted fetal tissue is now undeniable.”
It was in an interview with CNN that Daleiden give his view as to why StemExpress was so concerned about it’s statements becoming public.
He said, in an interview during which the CNN reporter was combative, that his StemExpress, which partners with Planned Parenthood to dissect unborn babies and remove the most valuable body parts, is trying to suppress “a specific video recording of a meeting with their top leadership where their leadership admitted they sometimes get fully intact fetuses shipped to their lab from the abortion clinics.”
“That,” he said, “could be prima facie evidence of born-alive infants. That’s why they’re trying to suppress that and they’re very scared of it.”
See the interview:
To date, the video investigation has resulted in at least eight states beginning investigations of Planned Parenthood. Several congressional committees are doing the same, and on Monday the Senate narrowly failed to approve a ban on federal money for Planned Parenthood, which promises to keep the fight looming in Washington.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said the videos were just too much.
“I am very troubled by the callous behavior of Planned Parenthood staff in (the) recently released videos,” he explained, “which casually discuss the sale, possibly for profit, of fetal tissue after an abortion. Until these allegations have been answered and resolved, I do not believe that taxpayer money should be used to fund this organization.”
From statements by Planned Parenthood officials that ranged from “I want a Lamborghini” to discussion about how to salvage certain saleable parts by crushing surrounding parts, the videos are self-explanatory.
An old story
WND also has reported that as horrific as the videos appear, they should surprise no one, since such practices have been documented for nearly two decades already.
One price list uncovered by a pro-life organization dated June 1998 shows that the price per specimen from a second trimester abortion is $90 fresh and $130 frozen.
Mark Crutcher, whose Life Dynamics organization was a ground-breaker in investigating the abortion behemoth that gets some $500 million annually from U.S. taxpayers, worked on that investigation.
His group reported back in February 2000 how the baby parts market works: “A baby parts ‘wholesaler’ enters into a financial agreement with an abortion clinic in which the wholesaler pays a monthly ‘site fee’ to the clinic. For this payment, the wholesaler is allowed to place a retrieval agent inside the clinic where he or she is given access to the corpses of children killed there and a workspace to harvest their parts.”
He continued: “The buyer – usually a researcher working for a medical school, pharmaceutical company, bio-tech company or government agency – supplies the wholesaler with a list of the baby parts wanted. … when such orders are received … they are faxed to the retrieval agent at the clinic who harvests the requested parts and ships them to the buyer.”
The documentation was provided at that time to Life Dynamics by a worker who left Comprehensive Health for Women, a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Overland Park, Kansas.
Among the documents was a “Fee-for-Services” Schedule A, effective June 1998, which outlined a charge of $220 per specimen for first-trimester aspiration abortions and $260 if the baby parts were frozen.
Crutcher’s report, citing Planned Parenthood’s own paperwork, found that one agent sold during February 1996 alone 47 livers, 11 liver fragments, seven brains, 21 eyes, eight thymuses, 23 legs, 14 pancreases, 14 lungs, six arms and one kidney-adrenal gland.
He also sold three orders of blood from the unborn child. The retrieval agent “harvested all of the parts,” the report said, explaining that “in order for the blood of an aborted child to be sold, the dead baby had to be brought to him intact.”
The “specimens,” the report said, would have generated up to about $25,000 in revenue for one month from one retrieval agent at one Planned Parenthood business.
Crutcher reported that the tissue logs reveal that one baby is often chopped up and sold to many buyers.
For example, babies taken from donors 113968 and 114189 were both killed late in their second trimester and cut into nine pieces. By applying the price list, buyers would have been invoiced between $3,510 and $5,070 for these parts, he said.