Planned Parenthood has made “two key admissions” about its fetal tissue program, according to the Center for Medical Progress, the organization behind a series of undercover videos depicting Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal organs.
The Center for Medical Progress has sent an open letter to Congress in response to a Planned Parenthood-commissioned report claiming the undercover videos released by the organization did not accurately portray conversations with their executives about the sale of fetal organs.
“While denying any wrongdoing, Planned Parenthood leadership has admitted to Congress and to the public their knowledge and support of the fetal tissue supply programs in operation at multiple Planned Parenthood affiliates,” the Center for Medical Progress’s David Daleiden, who led the project, wrote in the letter.
Daleiden added that “CMP’s video and document evidence of Planned Parenthood’s involvement in illegal profiteering on fetal tissue, illegal abortions, and violations of patient autonomy and human dignity reach to the highest levels of Planned Parenthood’s national organization”:
[T]here are two key admissions in Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards’ letter to Congress of August 27 that the investigating Committees should focus on particularly. First, Richards admits that multiple Planned Parenthood affiliates have recently received payments of $45 to $60 ‘per tissue specimen’ from various Tissue Procurement Organizations (TPOs). Second, Richard admits that abortion procedure ‘adjustments to facilitate fetal tissue donations’ may occur at Planned Parenthood facilities. We believe these two admissions, of payments for specimens of fetal tissue and changes to abortion procedures in order to get better specimens, constitute prima facie evidence of the three points CMP has raised all along: 1) That Planned Parenthood sells aborted fetal tissue, 2) That Planned Parenthood changes the abortion procedure in order to get saleable tissue, and 3) That there is knowledge and approval of these practices from the top of the organization on down.
In the Aug. 27 letter to Congress about the results of a Planned Parenthood-commissioned study of the videos, Planned Parenthood’s chief executive, Cecile Richards, wrote that “Planned Parenthood is proud to have a role in fetal tissue research.”
Richards also claims that only 1 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics “are involved with fetal tissue research,” and it is a “miniscule” part of their overall operations. Planned Parenthood has denied taking any illegal actions.
Richards wrote that “federal law restricts the reimbursement that Planned Parenthood can receive when it facilitates a fetal tissue donation”:
The California affiliate receives a modest reimbursement of $60 per tissue specimen from the TPO, and the Washington affiliate receives no reimbursement. The four other affiliates whose programs ended after the release of the videos received lesser but comparable amounts. The affiliate working with the research laboratory received no reimbursement. The others received reimbursements from TPOs ranging from $45 to $55 per tissue specimen. In every case, the affiliates report that these amounts were intended to recover only their costs, as allowed under the federal law and our guidance.
According to Richards, there are “few” methods of abortion, and “adjustments” to the procedure “that facilitate fetal tissue donations rarely occur at our few clinics that offer women this service.”
Richards called Daleiden an “anti-abortion extremist” whose organization “spent nearly three years infiltrating our affiliates and trying to entrap our staff into potentially illegal conduct, including the results of a forensic analysis of the doctored videos.”
Daleiden said in a statement:
The Planned Parenthood report contains multiple erroneous statements and conclusions, yet by its own words finds no ‘substantive video manipulation’ and ‘no evidence of audio manipulation.’ CMP’s investigative video recordings are high-quality and reproducible evidence that can be provided to law enforcement and official investigators in original recording format.
At this point, it is impossible to characterize the extent to which CMP’s undisclosed edits and cuts distort the meaning of the encounters the videos purport to document. However, the manipulation of the videos does mean they have no evidentiary value in a legal context and cannot be relied upon for any official inquiries unless supplemented by CMP’s original material and forensic authentication that this material is supplied in unaltered form. The videos also lack credibility as journalistic products.
In a statement last week, Daleiden said that the omission of “bathroom breaks and waiting periods” does not negate “the hours of dialogue with top-level Planned Parenthood executives eager to manipulate abortion procedures to get high-quality baby parts for financially profitable sale.”
Many media outlets failed to disclose that the firm Planned Parenthood hired to conduct the analysis, Fusion GPS, has ties to the Democratic Party, including President Obama’s 2012 campaign.