An antiabortion group that has said it has proof that Planned Parenthood “sells” fetal tissues for profit released a fourth video Thursday, this one featuring undercover footage of a Planned Parenthood employee discussing the details of fetal parts, and worries about the perception of that process.
The video comes as Planned Parenthood and its opponents battle over the organization’s future in Congress, in the courts and even on the women’s health organization’s own Web site.
The video was recorded in April, according to the Center for Medical Progress, with actors posing as representatives of an out-of-state company that procures fetal parts for researchers. The CMP identifies the Planned Parenthood official as Savita Ginde, vice president and medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. In the video, the group discusses a potential contract for fetal parts.
Ginde, among other things, discusses worries that Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue program will be perceived as “selling fetal parts across states,” and what the consequences would be if “antis got a hold of” information about a specimen procurement program similar to the one proposed by the activists.
The Planned Parenthood affiliate for which Ginde works says that it declined to move forward with the proposal outlined in the footage, in which actors said they represented the company BioMax.
“PPRM determined we would not enter into a contract proposed by BioMax because they did not meet our legal and ethical standards,” Vicki Cowart, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said in an statement e-mailed after the edited video’s release.
“Our legal counsel provided line item edits to their proposed contract where we again clarified that we would strictly adhere to laws,” Cowart said in her statement. “Our staff asked probing questions about their process and didn’t enter into an agreement when those questions weren’t answered.”
The video, Cowart added, is “another misleading and deceptively edited video” from “extremists who entered our facility based on misrepresentations and an elaborate, years-long fraudulent scheme.”
In response, CMP did not deny that the Planned Parenthood affiliate declined to agree to a final contract, but took issue with Cowart’s overall characterization of their exchange. David Daleiden, project lead for the Center for Medical Progress, said in an emailed statement to The Post on Thursday afternoon that the last time they communicated with PPRM was July 7, “as of which time they were still wanting to enter into a contract.”
Daleiden also believes the Planned Parenthood affiliate has “no paper trail” to prove they rejected the contract. “Their VP and Medical Director wanted to sell body parts badly,” he added.
According to the video transcript, Ginde worries that antiabortion advocates would “really run with it and make it really negative.” Ginde discusses potential ways in which the organization could ensure that wasn’t the case — including the importance of coordinating with other affiliates and classifying fetal parts collection programs as “research” and not “business.”
“We have to know who else is doing this,” Ginde says, “because if you have someone in a really anti state who’s going to be doing this for you, they’re probably gonna get caught.”
Planned Parenthood has previously said that its fetal parts donation programs operate in fewer than five states, abide by all laws and require the consent of the woman undergoing the procedure before the fetal parts are donated.
Like the three previous releases from the Center for Medical Progress, the latest video contains accusations of illegal and unethical activity: First, it argues that Planned Parenthood profits from compensation as part of fetal parts donations; and second, that clinics may alter procedures to provide more intact specimens, in violation of established ethical standards for fetal parts collection.
“We have to kind of see the baseline of how things are getting extracted now and see if we can do any work with them to maybe be more gentle,” Ginde says in the video. She adds that the clinic has little control over whether specimens come out intact or not, but adds, “Sometimes, if we get, if someone delivers before we get to see them for a procedure, then we are intact.”
In another portion of the video, the undercover actors are allowed to observe the specimen collection process inside a Planned Parenthood clinic. “Do people do stuff with eyeballs?” Ginde asks the undercover actor. Later, a medical assistant notes that a specimen is “another boy.”
Previous videos have prompted federal and state investigations of any Planned Parenthood-linked wrongdoing in recent weeks, including in Florida, Texas and Louisiana.
“Elected officials need to listen to the public outcry for an immediate moratorium on Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding while the 10 state investigations and 3 Congressional committees determine the full extent of Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby parts,” David Daleiden, project lead for the Center for Medical Progress, said in a statement Thursday.
Planned Parenthood said this week that it wanted the National Institutes of Health to conduct an independent study of fetal parts research, a request Daleiden called “absurd” because “research” can’t be used as a catch-all term. He added: “The biggest problem is bad actors like Planned Parenthood who hold themselves above the law in order to harvest and make money off of aborted fetal brains, hearts and livers.”
Planned Parenthood’s Cowart defended the organization in response to the recent video.
“We have and will always follow all laws, and patients are always our highest priority,” Cowart said Thursday. “The accusations being made in connection to this heavily edited video are false.”
The fourth video comes days after a dispute over CMP’s video stings ended up in the California courts, where a judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing the release of any videos showing officials from StemExpress, a California biomedical company. And while that court order was coming down Tuesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Planned Parenthood was condemning a recent string of alleged hacking attempts targeting the organization’s own Web site.
The videos are largely responsible for reenergizing longtime antiabortion advocates who believe that the government should cut all funding to Planned Parenthood. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) has pledged to bring a vote on the matter to the Senate floor before the August recess.
CMP posted a transcript of a longer version of the conversation online, following the release of the video, and said it was uploading the full version of the conversation to YouTube on Thursday afternoon.