This week an undercover video featuring a conversation with Planned Parenthood's Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, struck the Internet. The video was part of a sting operation and was quickly spread over social media after it was released. The video showed Dr. Nucatola at a lunch meeting with "actors" who were posing as an institution seeking organ donations. Of course, the video was very heavily edited to make it seem that Nucatola was confessing (gasp!) to selling organs from aborted fetuses for profit. Right. Anyway, many of the angry villagers in Pro-Life Town were shocked and sickened by Nucatola's tone as she discussed these medical matters with the actors. On Thursday, Planned Parenthood issued an apology for Nucatola. I have one word about this apology: Why?
As one would expect, social media was ablaze with your standard bombastic, fear-mongering rhetoric from people who actually believe that Planned Parenthood illegally sells organs and tissues. And some politicians — who presumably know better but are looking for any chance to go after Planned Parenthood (because who doesn't have 2016 ambitions these days?) — have launched investigations into Planned Parenthood clinics. I just don't see why these anti-choice advocates should be handed an apology when they created a lie that has produced an utterly unwarranted mess.
The topic of the brief apology issued by Planned Parenthood's president, Cecile Richards, was Nucatola's supposedly too-casual tone:
Our top priority is the compassionate care that we provide. In the video, one of our staff members speaks in a way that does not reflect that compassion. This is unacceptable, and I personally apologize for the staff member's tone and statements.
From where I sit as a pro-choice supporter of Planned Parenthood, I really don't think they have anything to apologize for. Planned Parenthood is, once again, put in a position where they need to spend a great deal of time responding to slanderous claims from a severely biased and incendiary group. The people who made the video know the content has been edited into a lie, Planned Parenthood knows it's a lie, any media consumer with an ounce of critical sensibilities knew it was a lie from the get-go, and yet Planned Parenthood feels like they have to say so.
Yes, Planned Parenthood should (and does) aim for compassion in their efforts... with patients, right? Exactly how was Nucatola supposed to show compassion towards people she thought were approaching her because they needed organs or tissues, and were ostensibly open to procuring them from Planned Parenthood? The group in the video was discussing a medical issue, specifically the harvesting (that's what the medical word is for getting donated organs — sorry, pro-lifers) of fetal organs for medical research. It's a pretty cut-and-dry topic, one that any seasoned medical industry professional should be able to have without needing their hand held. In essence, I don't think this was a situation where "compassion" should have been expected, or even would have made sense.
I suspect that if Dr. Nucatola had been in a clinic with a woman who was about to have an abortion procedure, she would have been gentle and empathetic, as has been my own experience with Planned Parenthood. Based on the video in question, nobody has any reason to think that Nucatola, or any of Planned Parenthood's staff members or volunteers lack compassion in their practice with their clients. What we saw was a seasoned doctor and abortion provider have a frank business conversation with other (fake) medical professionals.
I've watched the undercover video several times, and all I can see is Nucatola using medical terminology to discuss legal and routine medical procedures with other presumed medical professionals. Why should anyone be sorry for that?
The way I see it, pro-lifers will be upset about anything and everything Planned Parenthood does, regardless of the legitimacy, legality, and helpfulness of Planned Parenthood's actions. Even if Nucatola had shed a couple of tears, they'd find something else to go up in arms about. It's what they do. Validating their slander with an apology seems entirely unnecessary, not to mention is undeserved. Honestly I hope the mea culpa was purely for PR reasons, and not because Planned Parenthood actually thinks Nucatola did anything wrong.
So, Planned Parenthood, I know you probably had no choice but to apologize for something in the midst of this trumped up anti-abortion nightmare, but you help one in five women who visit your clinics over their lifetimes, you provide affordable, safe, and efficient health care to millions of women and men every year, and you are strong advocates for women's rights. What on earth do you have to be sorry for?
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