On Tuesday, an anti-abortion group released an undercover video of Planned Parenthood's Senior Director of Medical Research, Deborah Nucatola, discussing how to preserve an aborted fetus' organs for medical research and the costs that come with shipping the organs to scientists, according to The Washington Post. Two anti-abortion activists met with Nucatola over lunch at a restaurant in Los Angeles and pressed her on whether Planned Parenthood clinics were charging for the organs, which is illegal. Nucatola says Planned Parenthood is "very, very sensitive" about its work with fetal tissue being perceived as illegal, and thus it charges only for the costs of shipping the tissue, according to the Washington Post. The whole video has created quite the uproar in the anti-choice community, and people are questioning Nucatola's past. So, who is Planned Parenthood's Deborah Nucatola? She is a doctor who has worked with Planned Parenthood for 10 years.
Nucatola attended medical school at the State University of New York's Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine, according to her LinkedIn page. She graduated in 1998 and did her residency from 2002 to 2004 in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California, according to U.S. News & World Report. She started working for Planned Parenthood in 2005, according to the International Business Times. She worked as a medical director for three years before she was promoted to associate medical director. In 2009, she was promoted to senior director. Aside from her work information, there is little publicly available info about Nucatola. After the video was released, she deleted her Twitter, according to the IB Times.
In 2011, she wrote a column for The Hill in response to allegations that Planned Parenthood, as a clinic that relies heavily on government funding, did not put the health and safety of its patients first. Nucatola refuted the claims, writing that the organization's standards "rival those of any top-tier national health care organization," and that's "why one in five women trusts Planned Parenthood to provide her with care at some point in her life." Nucatola seems passionate about her work for the organization in the column:
It is this special relationship with so many women that has allowed Planned Parenthood to do more than any other organization in the United States to help lower the rate of unintended pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion. That is the Planned Parenthood I know.
And that's the same passion that anti-abortion activists are trying to prosecute her for. Though Planned Parenthood is trying to respond to the video's purported "proof" that it sells fetal tissue illegally by releasing information on how the process actually works, the organization and its important work have been dealt a real setback.
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