Editor's Note: Updates to this story are located below.
Planned Parenthood thinks it can put a price on a baby: $30 to $100 per part.
An undercover investigative video released July 14 appeared to show a Planned Parenthood executive confess that her taxpayer-funded organization sells the body parts of aborted babies by using the partial-birth abortion procedure to ensure the baby parts stay intact. Pro-life leaders challenged the abortion giant after the Center for Medical Progress, a citizen journalist group focused on medical ethics, caught the scene on camera.
In the video, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services, met with investigators posing as buyers and representatives from a “Fetal Tissue Procurement Company” for lunch on July 25, 2014.
“Every provider has had patients who want to donate their tissue and they absolutely want to accommodate them,” she began. “They just want to do it in a way that is not perceived as, ‘This clinic is selling tissue, this clinic is making money off of this.’”
“A lot of people are looking for hearts these days,” she told the actors, before saying lungs and livers were also in demand. The price? $30 to $100 “per specimen.”
The video presented a “tissue order form” by stemexpress.com “a multi-million dollar company” that offers “clinical specimens” to “biomedical researchers.” The site offers 40 different “organs and tissues” from unborn babies as old as 20 weeks. That means a baby – from the nose to the eyes and ears – is worth $1200 to $4,000 to Planned Parenthood. (And that’s without counting the “fetal blood” “fluids” and “nerves” also up for grabs).
Nucatola explained how it’s important to know what body part is wanted to sell beforehand, to “know where they’re putting their forceps.”
“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 said.
Next, she described how partial-birth abortion procedures help keep the baby parts intact to sell.
“And with the calvarium [the baby’s head], in general, some people will actually try to change the presentation so that it’s not vertex,” she continues. “So if you do it starting from the breech presentation, there’s dilation that happens as the case goes on, and often, the last step, you can evacuate an intact calvarium at the end.”
Before the end of the luncheon, Nucatola exposed the abortion giant’s national office’s concern about liability.
“At the national office, we have a Litigation and Law Department which just really doesn’t want us to be the middle people for this issue right now,” she said. “But I will tell you that behind closed doors these conversations are happening with the affiliates.”
At the end of the video, a separate clip showed Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards supporting Nucatola. After an investigator commended Nucatola’s help with “fetal tissue collection,” Richards responded with an, “She’s amazing.”
According to the Center for Medical Progress, Nucatola has supervised medical practice at all Planned Parenthood locations since 2009. Her duties include training new abortion doctors and performing abortions herself up to 24 weeks.
Planned Parenthood received more than $528 million in taxpayer funding during the fiscal year 2013—2014. That amounted to more than $1.4 million per day, through government grants, contracts and Medicaid reimbursements.
The video is the first in a series for the Center for Medical Progress’ called, “Human Capital,” a “nearly 3-year-long investigative journalism study of Planned Parenthood’s illegal trafficking of aborted fetal parts.”
In his reaction, the Center’s project leader, David Daleiden, stressed that, “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.”
The Pro-Life Reaction
Other leaders in the pro-life movement rushed to denounce Planned Parenthood after the video publication.
In a press release, the National Director of Priests for Life, Fr. Frank Pavone reacted to the video's findings. “This violates both the law and the most basic sense of human decency," he said.
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, called the footage “truly horrific.”
“The buying and selling of baby body parts is indefensible and the straw that will break the camel's back” she said in a statement. “Planned Parenthood is a gross money-maker and care nothing for the women, and children, they harm in the process."
Live Action's Lila Rose also commented on Planned Parenthood’s “trafficking of baby parts for profit.”
“The exploitation of human life, the cover-up, and the black market profiteering by America’s largest abortion chain is not only egregious and heartbreaking, but exposes how the abortion giant is corrupt to the core,” she said.
After watching the video, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser commented that the footage “reveals the dark side of humanity” like the case of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell.
Gosnell's trial, in which witnesses described baby abortion survivors “swimming" in toilets “to get out,” attracted a scant 12 – 15 reporters. Only after 56 days, multiple letters from members of the House of Representatives and a public outcry, did all three broadcast networks report on Gosnell. Will the news media be as hesitant to report on this?
“The moment when the destruction of a human being becomes just business as usual is a moment we must address,” according to Dannenfelser. Planned Parenthood providers, she said, “are wheeling and dealing with tiny hearts, livers, lungs, and even heads, of the children their practitioners destroy during late term abortion procedures.”
“This is an eye-opening, stomach-churning moment,” she concluded. “We are a better nation than this.”
UPDATE — Planned Parenthood Responds:
Planned Parenthood's Vice President of Communications, Eric Ferrero, released a statement in response to the "heavily edited, secretly recorded" footage that "falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research" (the Center for Medical Progress shared the full two-and-a-half hour video as well as the edited version with the public).
"At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider does — with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards," he wrote. "There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or Planned Parenthood."
UPDATE — Center for Medical Progress Responds to Planned Parenthood Statement:
CMP's David Daleiden released a statement Tuesday afternoon defending his organization's video against Planned Parenthood's accusations. In it, he shared an "advertisement to Planned Parenthood clinics from StemExpress, LLC, one of the major purchasers of Planned Parenthood’s aborted fetal tissue."
"This flyer advertises 4 different times the financial benefit that Planned Parenthood clinics can receive from supplying fetal tissue, with the words: 'Financially Profitable,' 'Financial Profits,' 'financial benefit to your clinic,' 'fiscal growth of your own clinic,'" he wrote. "The advertisement carries an endorsement from Planned Parenthood Medical Director Dr. Dorothy Furgerson."
"None of this is standard across the mainstream medical field," he concluded, "but it is standard across Planned Parenthood’s insular and unaccountable abortion field."
UPDATE — Planned Parenthood Responds Again
In the video, “Deborah Nucatela was speculating on the range of reimbursement that patients can receive after stating they wish to donate any tissue after a procedure,” Planned Parenthood said in a second statement, according to The Hill.