Wednesday night on All In, MSNBC's Chris Hayes invited Planned Parenthood executive vice president Dawn Laguens to the program to discuss the series of videos released by The Center for Medical Progress which appear to show the trafficking of fetal body parts. Seemingly not too concerned with this, Hayes wondered if there was “some sense” that the “reproductive health” organization has “been infiltrated. I mean, are there security concerns?”
He added that there are legitimate worries about “the security of the people who work for” Planned Parenthood. Hayes mentioned that organization was hacked and noted the “security concerns” for the organization.
Earlier in the segment, Laguens denied allegations that Planned Parenthood sells fetal body parts, instead highlighting many of the other services that the organization provides. Hayes quickly excused the allegations as well:
This is the – the criminal charge that's being made against you and the charge that Planned Parenthood is responding to, I think, with some documentation is, it is illegal to sell tissue like that. It is legal to essentially charge a kind of servicing fee for it. After an abortion has happened, the tissue can be donated legally and can help in scientific research, and that is the process being captured on the videos.
Laguens agreed with the assessment. She then went on to bash pro-life groups: “As you know, we have faced a decades long attack from these militant anti-abortion extremists. This is an old play that they're calling here. They go in, hide who they are, what they're trying to do.”
The relevant portion of the transcript is below.
July 29, 2015
CHRIS HAYES: Planned Parenthood says the videos have been heavily edited and the claims are flat-out untrue, that while the organization helps patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, there is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood. Joining me now is Dawn Laguens, she’s the executive vice president of Planned Parenthood. Let's start with the most aggressive allegation that's made, which is that Planned Parenthood is engaging in the illegal practice of selling fetal tissue. Is that true?
DAWN LAGUENS, Planned Parenthood: Well, Chris, thank you for having me, and I just have to say, thank you for covering those two other important stories. Especially what's going on in Cincinnati and that tragic situation. A lot of people forget that Planned Parenthood is, for 99 years, America's largest reproductive health organization, providing health care to 2.5 million men and women a year in our health centers. That's birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing, abortion. And we give education to over a million young people in terms of sex education and teen pregnancy prevention. And 6 million people a month come to our website. So I think the American people know who Planned Parenthood is and that we are not selling body parts.
HAYES: Okay, so that's key though, that you are saying you are not engaging in the illegal practice of selling fetal tissue, right? This is the – the criminal charge that's being made against you and the charge that Planned Parenthood is responding to, I think, with some documentation is, it is illegal to sell tissue like that. It is legal to essentially charge a kind of servicing fee for it. After an abortion has happened, the tissue can be donated legally and can help in scientific research and that is the process being captured on the videos. Is that correct?
LAGUENS: That's right. In a couple states in the country, we have programs where women are able to donate and it is their decision, let me say, women are able to donate fetal tissue to research. And that is exactly what is captured on those videotapes. As you know, we have faced a decades long attack from these militant anti-abortion extremists. This is an old play that they're calling here. They go in, hide who they are, what they're trying to do. This time –
HAYES: Let me ask you this. Are you concerned about the security of the people that work for you? I mean this is, they're saying there is nine more videos first of all. Second of all, you were hacked today. There was a DDOS attack on your website that brought it down. But is there some sense that you've been infiltrated? I mean, are there security concerns?
LAGUENS: Well, we take the health and safety and security of our patients and our employees as our top priority. So I can guarantee you, we are doing everything to make sure that everyone is protected. This was a sophisticated operation where they had a phony company. They had phony identities. They had phony tax and other filings. So this was something that we are very concerned about. Of course, these are people associated with Operation Rescue, one of the most violent, militant anti-abortion organizations in the country, responsible for the murder of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas and for clinic bombings. So we take this very, very seriously as all Americans should.