Reminder: Letter to LA Health Dept from Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast denied allegations corroborated in video; Update: Abbott promises to "aggressively investigate"

When the Center for Medical Progress first began releasing videos of its undercover investigations into Planned Parenthood, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal ordered an investigation into its practices in the state. After a query to the regional Planned Parenthood affiliate, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, its president, Melaney Linton, sent a reply to Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals denying any connection to organ harvesting or transfers. PPGC, Linton insisted, had no role in abortions or in brokering tissue:

In your letter dated July 15, you refer to Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. By way of clarity, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Inc. was incorporated in Texas in 1936, and does not offer abortion services. Currently, Planned Parenthood Center for Choice, Inc. (“PPCFC”) provides safe, legal abortion services in the Houston area. PPCFC was incorporated in Texas in 2005 and has a Certificate of Authority to Transact Business in Louisiana. Prior to 2005, PPCFC operated as a department of PPGC. As either a standalone corporation or a division of PPGC, PPCFC has provided abortion services since 1973. PPCFC and PPGC are both non-profit health care provider entities, and affiliates of Planned Parenthood’s national office, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (“PPFA”). PPCFC will lease space in PPGC’s new health center located at 4636 S. Claiborne Avenue, and PPCFC intends to seek a license to provide abortions at that location.

While PPCFC does not have fetal tissue donation programs in Texas currently, it is our understanding that some Planned Parenthood organizations in other states do, and to the best of our knowledge they follow all laws and ethical guidelines.

Linton then offered a Q&A for very specific denials:

2. Question: Do any Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast facilities, or any affiliates, subsidiaries or associates thereof, sell or donate any unborn baby organs or body parts?

Answer: No.

3. Question: Do any Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast facilities, or any affiliates, subsidiaries or associates thereof, contract with companies that assist Planned Parenthood with disposing of, donating, or selling of unborn baby organs or body parts? If so, please describe exactly what these companies do with the unborn baby remains.

Answer: Yes, PPCFC contracts with a company to dispose of its Special Waste from Health Care-Related Facilities, which includes Pathological Waste from PPCFC. …

5. Question: How many clinics operated by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, or any affiliates, subsidiaries or associates thereof, do business with StemExpress, or any other organizations in the business of selling or donating the remains of unborn babies?

Answer: None.

Apparently, Melissa Farrell never got that memo from Linton. Farrell, also identified in a popular networking reference as an employee of PP Gulf Coast in Texas (not PPCFC) in 2014, openly discusses the brokering of human organs and intact cadavers from Planned Parenthood abortions. The undercover video shows Farrell bragging about the income from fetal organ transfers boosting the “revenue stream” of PPGC. “My department contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization,” she says at one point in the video, emphasis mine. Even more tellingly, Farrell assures the investigators posing as buyers that they can control how abortion procedures are used to make sure they can acquire product for this distribution channel:

When researchers need a specific part from the aborted fetus, Farrell says, “We bake that into our contract, and our protocol, that we follow this, so we deviate from our standard in order to do that.”

Even if Farrell works at PPCFC rather PPGC, Linton’s response to Louisiana’s investigation has been exposed as entirely false. Clearly, Planned Parenthood contracts with more than just a waste-disposal company for the “products of conception,” as per PP’s nomenclature. Farrell actively promotes fetal tissue “donation” as part of her contribution to the “bottom line” of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. The official response from PP’s Louisiana director, Melissa Fluornoy, turns out to be just as false; she insisted at the time that “there is no financial benefit in fetal tissue donation for the patient, the health center or Planned Parenthood.”

A source in Jindal’s office says they are taking a very close look at this video as part of their investigation, especially in regard to Linton’s response. There may be more developments to come.

Update: Texas will “aggressively investigate” PPGC’s operations, Gov. Greg Abbott promised a few moments ago:

“The latest video showing Planned Parenthood’s treatment of unborn children in a Houston clinic is repulsive and unconscionable. Selling baby body parts is the furthest thing imaginable from providing women’s healthcare, and this organization’s repeated and systematic disrespect for human life is appalling. The State of Texas is aggressively investigating this matter and must use all available legal remedies to address this depraved conduct.”