A video secretly recorded by an anti-abortion activist group has put Planned Parenthood on the defense. In a video posted online Thursday, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards apologized for an executive who was recorded discussing fetal tissue donations for medical research, saying her comments and tone did not reflect the "compassion" of the organization. But Richards also strongly objected to the allegation levied against Planned Parenthood — that the center profited off fetal tissue and organs — and blasted the group behind the covert video.
On behalf of Nucatola and Planned Parenthood, President Richards apologized for the comments but insisted the claim the women's health center was in the business of selling fetal body parts and profited off the donations was false. Planned Parenthood has since said they are sometimes compensated for the shipping of the donations, though that should not be perceived as any kind of revenue or profit. Richards attacked the group behind the video, saying its agenda is clear.
We know the real agenda of organizations behind videos like this, and they have never been concerned with protecting the health and safety of women. Their mission is to ban abortion completely and to cut women off from care at Planned Parenthood and other health centers, and we will never let that happen.
In the heavily edited video shot by the Center for Medical Progress and posted on conservative news site Breitbart, Planned Parenthood's Senior Director of Medical Services Deborah Nucatola eats lunch at a California restaurant with two activists pretending to be potential buyers for a human biologics company. Nucatola discusses what body parts are in demand and how to prevent the tissue from being damaged during an abortion. She also acknowledges Planned Parenthood is compensated anywhere from $30 to $100 for the donations but says the organization doesn't profit from the procedure.
Conservatives have used the video as a means to attack the women's health center, which is the largest abortion provider in the country. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and other Republican presidential candidates slammed Planned Parenthood, with some vowing to defund the organization if elected president. But Dems came to the center's defense, with California Rep. Scott Peters saying the the issue had a "Benghazi feel to it."
Frankly, the accusations laid before Planned Parenthood are ridiculous, and the claim the organization is "selling baby parts" grossly mischaracterizes the mission and intent of the women's health center. In the days since the poorly shot video, Richards has defended the organization she heads, tweeting, "Spreading false information is an age-old strategy of people hell-bent on denying women care & shaming them for exercising their rights." Here's to standing with Planned Parenthood.
Image: Planned Parenthood/YouTube