Planned Parenthood responds: Nucatola's just talking about reimbursements!; Update: Jindal orders LA probe, halt to PP license; Update: Unedited 3-hour video added

It took a few hours for Planned Parenthood to respond to the Center for Medical Progress exposé earlier today. LifeNews reports that their VP for communications wants everyone to know there’s no real story here. This is just business as usual. Trust them:

The abortion giant released a statement from a top official defending Nucatola and its practice of selling body parts of aborted babies, which it calls “tissue.” Here is the Planned Parenthood press release:

Statement from Eric Ferraro, Vice President of Communications, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“In health care, patients sometimes want to donate tissue to scientific research that can help lead to medical breakthroughs, treatments and cures for serious diseases. Women at Planned Parenthood who have abortions are no different. At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider does — with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards. There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or Planned Parenthood. In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field.

“A well-funded group established for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood’s mission and services has promoted a heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research. Similar false accusations have been put forth by opponents of abortion services for decades. These groups have been widely discredited and their claims fall apart on closer examination, just as they do in this case.”

There are multiple problems in this response, but LifeNews points out the most obvious:

However, federal law prohibits the sale of body parts of aborted babies. In fact, the sale or purchase of human fetal tissue a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 (42 U.S.C. 289g-2).

It’s not illegal to donate tissue, but the sale of it is definitely illegal. The costs to which Ferraro alludes would not apply in abortions, since that is a paid-for procedure by the mother. Transportation costs would almost certainly not apply on a body-part basis either, especially with the wide disparities of price noted by PP’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola in the video.

The context of the video was clearly not reimbursement for transportation of random tissue. Nucatola talks extensively about the demand for specific body parts in relation to price. “A lot of people want liver,” Nucatola states, and then explains how they train their staff to perform these abortions so that PP clinics can harvest organs to meet specific demand, and then make the sale. At one point, Nucatola even talks about body parts being on a “menu.”

Besides, if this was all business as usual, why does Nucatola discuss the strategic policies of the corporate office to have the affiliates front these sales? The reporter posing as a buyer asks Nucatola why he can’t just coordinate the sales with the national office. “We have a Litigation and Law Department which just really doesn’t want us to be the middle people for this issue right now,” and that their lawyers consider it “too touchy” for the national office. “But I will tell you that behind these closed doors,” Nucatola explains further, “these conversations are happening with the affiliates.”

There is no possible context for these remarks to be about “reimbursements” or “transportation costs.” This is about illegal trafficking in aborted babies, and what Nucatola describes is an organized strategy to cover it up. Congress should demand an immediate investigation into this practice.

Update: Well, if the media wanted to ignore this, that may not be possible for much longer. A release by e-mail from Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana will escalate the story to the presidential race:

Today, Governor Jindal announced he is directing the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals to launch an investigation into Planned Parenthood after reports surfaced alleging some Planned Parenthood affiliates are using partial birth abortions to sell fetal body parts.

A video surfaced showing a Planned Parenthood Federation of America senior director describing how some Planned Parenthood employees are actively engaging in illegal partial birth abortion procedures and attempting to conduct these abortions so that they leave body parts intact so that they can later be sold on the open market.

Governor Jindal said, “Today’s video of a Planned Parenthood official discussing the systematic harvesting and trafficking of human body parts is shocking and gruesome.  This same organization is seeking to open an abortion clinic in New Orleans.  I have instructed Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals to conduct an immediate investigation into this alleged evil and illegal activity and to not issue any licenses until this investigation is complete.  I am also asking the FBI to assist DHH in investigating this alleged criminal activity by this organization.”

Good luck on getting the FBI to assist the probe, Governor Jindal. This makes the media silence even more unsustainable, and don’t expect Jindal to let this go during the campaign, either.

Update: I never got around to this hypocrisy:

They tell mothers that it’s just a “clump of cells” being removed, but then sell them as human organs to the highest bidders. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

Update: Part of Planned Parenthood’s gripe is that the Center for Medical Progress published “a heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape.” News organizations do this all the time, of course, but if you want to see the whole almost-3-hour lunch, CMP has it available for viewing: