A video purporting to prove Planned Parenthood is aborting fetuses in order to sell their body parts isn’t as horrifying as the careful editing and wordplay would lead you to believe. And yet the truth hiding in the details will still be uncomfortable for many people.
Last year, actors working for the Center for Medical Progress met with Planned Parenthood Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, CBS News reported. In between sips of wine, the doctor talked about fetal hearts, lungs, and livers, and she discussed how to abort a fetus correctly to avoid damaging its organs. The actors pretended to work for a human biologics company. The organization claimed its doctor was discussing donation for research.
It’s gruesome, disturbing dinner conversation to be sure. Though NPR noted that it’s not clear whether the video has been edited to twist the Planned Parenthood doctor’s comments, some have made that exact accusation.
But there are two critical facts that slightly change the context of that gory conversation. Firstly, fetal tissue can be donated with consent from a woman undergoing an abortion, and Planned Parenthood — while receiving partial compensation — doesn’t profit from it. That’s illegal, and organization spokesman Eric Ferrero denied they’ve done any such thing, added Think Progress.
“Patients sometimes want to donate tissue to scientific research that can help lead to medical breakthroughs, such as treatments and cures for serious diseases. Women at Planned Parenthood who have abortions are no different. There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood. In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field.”
Women facing an abortion procedure are given a consent form beforehand, which informs them that if they should choose, their blood and fetal organs can be used to treat and find a cure for a range of diseases — Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and AIDS. The donation is optional. According to Cosmopolitan, the law allows medical facilities to be compensated only for the cost of transporting the donated tissue — not getting the organs in the first place.
The law also forbids Planned Parenthood from aborting a fetus conceived only for the purpose of harvesting its organs, which it vehemently denies. Dr. Nucatola told the actors in that controversial video (and keep in mind she didn’t know she was being filmed) that “Nobody should be ‘selling’ tissue. That’s just not the goal here.”
Medical Progress also tried to tie a profit margin to the organization’s alleged “partial-birth abortions” and organ harvesting — of $86,400. This figure was arrived at with some shady Math based on one day’s procedures multiplied over four clinics and four weeks, Cosmopolitan added.
The fact of the matter is, organ procurement for the purposes of life-saving research has been legally practiced for decades, and Planned Parenthood isn’t doing anything sinister, Ferrero added.
“(The video) falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research. Similar false accusations have been put forth by opponents of abortion services for decades. These groups have been widely discredited, and their claims fall apart on closer examination, just as they do in this case.”
No one can argue that the details behind fetal tissue donation are horrifying. And this video is just one in a series the activists are planning to expose Planned Parenthood’s practices. But as Cosmopolitan pointed out in its review of the accusations, they have little evidence backing up their claims.
Check out the full video here.
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