Anti-abortion activists have amped up their campaign attacking Planned Parenthood ahead of a planned Senate vote to end federal funding to the reproductive health organization. The group called Center for Medical Progress released its fourth video overall — and second this week — purporting to show that Planned Parenthood is illegally profiting off of procuring tissues from aborted fetuses for researchers.
In Thursday’s video, a doctor said to be associated with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains appears to discuss the pricing structure and legal classifications the affiliate prefers in its procurement of tissues for researchers, as well as the abortion protocols it follows to see to it certain tissues remain intact. The video released Tuesday features a woman who says she is a former worker for a tissue procurement company, in which she suggests Planned Parenthood nurses had profit motives in how they asked her to procure specimens.
Both videos contain graphic images of what appeared to be fetal specimens being examined by Planned Parenthood employees for the actors posing as tissue buyers.
Since Center for Medical Progress began releasing the videos, said to have been filmed over a three-year period, lawmakers have launched state and federal investigations into Planned Parenthood’s procurement operations. Planned Parenthood, while apologizing for the tone taken by some of its employees in the videos, says its affiliates have behaved appropriately in their participation in tissue donation programs and that researchers are only charged for the extra costs incurred by tissue procurement, as is permissible under federal law.
In the Thursday video, the alleged Planned Parenthood employee, said to be Dr. Savita Ginde, appears to tell actors posing as buyers that she prefers the transaction to be classified as “research” as it “gives us a little bit of an overhang over the whole thing.”
Planned Parenthood has also accused the Center for Medical Progress of heavily editing the videos, and indeed fuller cuts of footage or transcripts of the videos have revealed the officials making statements in line with the law and Planned Parenthood official policy.
For instance, the initial 11-minute video posted Thursday does not include Ginde’s response when the actor asks her whether providers would “adjust the technique” in order to better the chances that they could procure an intact specimen.
“No,” Ginde said, according to a fuller transcript provided to TPM by a representative of Center for Medical Progress (full transcript below). “Because we’re not — it’s not like we do inductions or anything where we would have an intact delivery of any type.”
Elsewhere in the transcript Ginde suggests she would be willing to instruct providers to “maybe be more gentle” and make “some tweaks” to the abortion procedure, “if it wasn’t a major deal.”
Nevertheless, the organization is under heavy fire from multiple angles. In addition to a Senate vote expected later this week or early next week on a bill to defund Planned Parenthood — an effort that is not likely to to overcome a Democratic filibuster — some Republicans are now suggesting they would being willing to shut down the government over the issue. Eighteen House Republicans, all male, signed a letter vowing to block any spending legislation that includes funding for Planned Parenthood.
Hackers have also repeatedly targeted the Planned Parenthood website, most recently taking down the national website Wednesday.
In a Wednesday Washington Post op-ed, Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards defended the organization.
“These extremists created a fake business, made apparently misleading corporate filings and then used false government identifications to gain access to Planned Parenthood’s medical and research staff with the agenda of secretly filming without consent — then heavily edited the footage to make false and absurd assertions about our standards and services,” she wrote.
“They spent three years doing everything they could — not to uncover wrongdoing, but rather to create it. They failed.”