- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A third undercover video sparked new outrage Tuesday by following the money behind the fetal-organ supply chain, starting with Planned Parenthood, and prompting GOP presidential candidates to raise the pressure on the group’s federal and corporate funding.

The video, the latest and most graphic in the Center for Medical Progress’s Human Capital investigation, stoked the uproar in Congress and outraged protesters at national pro-life rallies demanding an end to public subsidies of Planned Parenthood.

The latest video goes behind the doors at a Planned Parenthood affiliate clinic in Denver, where fetal tissue obtained by abortions is then transferred to companies like Stem Express and Advanced Bioscience Resources before being sold to medical research facilities.

Planned Parenthood officials have insisted that their organization is only reimbursed for costs associated with the procurement, transfer and storage of fetal tissue, which is permitted under federal law, while the center’s David Daleiden has accused the organization of illegally profiting from the sale of “baby parts.”

The third video shows a Planned Parenthood official, Dr. Savita Ginde, voicing support for separating fetal organs from the body, saying, “I think a per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.”

Dr. Ginde, the medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Rockies, is also shown working over a dish of fetal parts and discussing their viability with a “buyer” in the clinic’s pathology laboratory.

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, accused those behind the video of entering the lab under “false pretenses” and releasing the edited version for “shock value.”

“It is a profoundly offensive violation of privacy and dignity that anti-abortion extremists entered our laboratory under false pretenses and are now broadcasting video of a part of the process for a safe abortion,” she said in a statement.

Much of the 12-minute video is devoted to an interview with a former StemExpress “procurement technician,” Holly O’Donnell, who says she was hired to “draw blood and dissect dead fetuses and sell the parts to researchers.”

“For whatever we could procure, they would get a certain percentage,” Ms. O’Donnell says in the video. “The main nurse was always trying to make sure we got our specimens. No one else really cared, but the main nurse did because she knew that Planned Parenthood was getting compensated.”

StemExpress, based in Placerville, California, did not release a comment immediately Tuesday, but a receptionist referred news media to the company’s July 16 statement, which states that the firm “prides itself on complying with all laws.”

Meanwhile, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund blasted those behind the undercover videos as “militant anti-abortion extremists.”

“Planned Parenthood offers the opportunity for women to choose to donate fetal tissue for research purposes,” said the group’s clergy advisory board in a Tuesday statement. “Research using fetal tissue saves hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide every year.”

Ms. O’Donnell recalled that she fainted during her first day of training after seeing another technician separate newly aborted fetal tissue.

“I thought I was going to be just drawing blood, not procuring tissue from aborted fetuses,” Ms. O’Donnell says. “The harder and more valuable the tissue, the more money you get. So if you can somehow procure a brain or a heart, you’re going to get more money than just chorionic villi or umbilical cord. That’s basically what it is. So I guess that’s an incentive to try and get the hard stuff.”

An ABR fee schedule shown in the video shows that a “2nd trimester specimen” would cost $340 per specimen, while a “1st trimester specimen” lists for $550. A specimen “cleaning” runs $50. Based in Alameda, California, ABR is a nonprofit corporate entity.

The videos, released a week apart, have prompted House and Senate congressional investigations, along with legislative efforts, to defund Planned Parenthood, which receives roughly a half-billion dollars a year in federal funding.

The latest video drew a reaction from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said a working group chaired by Sen. Joni Ernst, Iowa Republican, would meet in his office Tuesday afternoon to discuss legislation the chamber can take up before leaving for August recess.

“We’ll have a meeting of the minds on the best way to craft a measure to deal with these horrendous videos we’ve all been viewing,” Mr. McConnell said.

Later Tuesday, Ms. Ernst announced a bill had been introduced, and she was joined by about two dozen co-sponsors.

One co-sponsor is Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican and presidential candidate, who is pressing to defund Planned Parenthood. He called Tuesday on former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to return an estimated $10,000 in donations from Planned Parenthood employees and executives.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who previously launched an investigation into his state’s Planned Parenthood affiliate clinics, called Tuesday for companies to “cut all ties” to the nonprofit organization, the nation’s largest reproductive health care and abortion provider.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund swung back with the release of a poll conducted by Hart Research Associates on Planned Parenthood’s behalf showing that 64 percent of voters disagree with Republican efforts to defund the organization.

“Americans continue to support funding for Planned Parenthood despite the debate engendered by the release of these videos,” said Hart Research President Geoff Garin. “Voters respond favorably to Planned Parenthood’s core message about the videos and its policies with regard to fetal tissue donations.”

Critics argue that the questions asked by the Democratic polling firm were worded in such a way as to elicit a positive response on behalf of Planned Parenthood, such as by specifically and repeatedly mentioning the organization’s “cancer screenings and family planning” while saying nothing about the fetal organs trade.

In a statement Tuesday, Planned Parenthood officials said that defunding would jeopardize “basic preventive care,” not abortions, because the Hyde Amendment already bans the use of federal funding for abortion.

Planned Parenthood brought in $1.2 billion in revenue in 2013-14, about half of which came from federal and state funding, primarily through Medicaid reimbursements.

Eight states are investigating the allegations against Planned Parenthood, while California Attorney General Kamala Harris has turned her attention to the pro-life group, which has been accused of wrongdoing by filming doctors without their knowledge and registering a false company with the state.

Mr. Daleiden, project lead for the center, said the group’s work will continue to expose Planned Parenthood and called for a moratorium on the group’s taxpayer funding. He has previously said that the group could release a dozen videos.
The American Life League called on its supporters to flood Congress with phone calls Friday in support of the center’s work.

“The right for David to tell the truth, to speak freely and to report and show the truth is imperiled by the self-interest of Planned Parenthood and its powerful political friends to protect the slaughter of children and the exorbitant amount of money it makes from its illicit practices,” said ALL board member Hugh Brown.

⦁ Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this report.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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