- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 30, 2015

A California judge’s order blocking temporarily the release of some undercover footage targeting Planned Parenthood failed to slow down the pro-life group behind the searing and increasingly graphic videos targeting the family planning and abortion giant.

Shortly after a restraining order was issued on some secretly filmed footage, a fourth video was released Thursday that suggests Planned Parenthood officials are well aware of federal prohibitions on buying and selling fetal parts and are taking steps to avoid looking like they are “you know, selling fetal parts across states.”

Putting tissue procurement under the umbrella of “research” offers legal protection, Dr. Savita Ginde, vice president and medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said in the latest video from anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress (CMP).

Thursday’s video also offered more footage of medical technicians “cracking” a fetal skull and picking through fetal remains to locate human eyeballs, kidneys, stomach and other body parts in search of a leg.

At one point, medical officials sort over the remains of several fetuses of around 12 weeks of age and conclude that one of them was “another boy,” a line that has gone viral on social media in the hours since.

“No one can see this video and deny the basic humanity of this innocent baby boy,” Rep. Joseph R. Pitts, Pennsylvania Republican, said Thursday.

“Seeing the limbs, the little organs of a dead child is shocking enough, but to see doctors callously trying to salvage as many parts as ‘someone would want’ to ‘see how much we can get out of it’ is even more disturbing,” said Mr. Pitts, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health, which is participating in an investigation into Planned Parenthood as a result of the videos.

Outrage is building on both sides of the abortion issue: Pro-life groups, who conducted rallies around the nation this week, want political leaders to investigate and defund Planned Parenthood.

“The chirpy nonchalance with which these Planned Parenthood executives talk about dismembering and pricing unborn children is both sickening and deplorable,” Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, said Thursday.

Supporters of Planned Parenthood are also out in force, denouncing the videos as edited and illegal, and calling efforts at defunding the group an attack on women’s health.

Fundraising for Planned Parenthood has “spiked” since the videos were released, Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told The Huffington Post on Thursday.

The momentum started by the videos is likely to continue as maybe eight more videos are yet to be released.

“I’m sad to say, Dana, the videos get worse,” David Daleiden, project leader for the CMP, told host Dana Loesch on her TheBlaze TV program Wednesday.

Mr. Daleiden said he and others conceived of their video project after seeing “sort of a renaissance in the whole practice” of biotech companies partnering with Planned Parenthood “to harvest the parts and sell them,” he added.

In Thursday’s video, some footage of which had been seen in a previous video, Dr. Ginde — who thought she was talking with fetal tissue buyers with a biotech firm — is shown agreeing that pricing per body part is better than a flat fee.

She discusses how putting the activity “under the ‘research’ gives us a little bit of an overhang over the whole thing” and implies that the Colorado organization’s lawyer, Kevin Paul, can help the affiliate address laws governing fetal tissue collections and distribution.

“He’s got it figured out that he knows that even if, because we talked to him in the beginning, you know, we were like, ‘We don’t want to get called on,’ you know, ‘selling fetal parts across states,’” she said.

When the buyers ask, “And you feel confident that they’re building those layers [of protection]?” Dr. Ginde says, “I’m confident that our legal [staff] will make sure we’re not put in that situation.”

The April 7, 2015, conversation with Dr. Ginde includes discussions of availability of “over 14s,” referring to unborn babies in the second trimester, and the average daily delivery of “intact specimens,” referring to fetuses that are not aborted in pieces or “war-torn,” as one Planned Parenthood official called it.

They further discuss strategy for doing fetal tissue procurement “correctly” — agreeing that doing things in “the research vein” is better than as a “business venture” — and there was a need for Planned Parenthood clinics to be aware of each other’s activities.

“If you have someone in a really anti-[abortion] state who’s going to be doing this for you, they’re probably going to get caught,” Dr. Ginde noted.

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains has a contract to supply fetal tissue to Colorado State University, the video said.

Meanwhile, in California, StemExpress, the bioservice firm that transfers fetal tissue from abortions performed at Planned Parenthood to medical researchers, won a restraining order Tuesday against the CMP blocking the release of footage showing three StemExpress employees.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joanne B. O’Donnell’s order Tuesday said nothing about the footage from the CMP’s undercover interviews with Planned Parenthood officials, and thus had no effect on Thursday’s video release.

An Aug. 19 hearing has been set on whether to allow the release of StemExpress footage, which shows three employees at the Bistro 33 restaurant at a May 22 dinner in El Dorado Hills, according to the order.

In a statement, StemExpress said that it sought the order “on the grounds that CMP and Daleiden violated California’s anti-wiretapping law under Penal Code 632 (Invasion of Privacy Act). The court granted our [temporary restraining order] and will consider our request for a preliminary injunction next month.”

“We will continue to pursue all available legal remedies against CMP and [David] Daleiden,” said the Placerville, California-based company’s statement.

The injunction may heighten interest in the StemExpress footage, said CMP’s attorney, Katie Short, legal director of Life Legal Defense Foundation.

“People who don’t have anything to hide don’t go to court to stop journalists from reporting the truth,” she said. “As has been more than apparent from the videos that have been released, including the latest one, StemExpress and Planned Parenthood have plenty to hide.”

A video released Monday features a former StemExpress employee, Holly O’Donnell, who said she was hired to “draw blood and dissect dead fetuses and sell the parts to researchers.”

She said employees at StemExpress, a for-profit company, tried to maximize the financial benefit of each fetus by obtaining the most profitable organs.

“The harder and more valuable the tissue, the more money you get,” Ms. O’Donnell said. “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.”

StemExpress is “attempting to use meritless litigation to cover-up this illegal baby parts trade, suppress free speech, and silence the citizen press reporting on issues of burning concern to the American public,” said the CMP statement.

“They are not succeeding — their initial petition was rejected by the court, and their second petition was eviscerated to a narrow and contingent order about an alleged recording pending CMP’s opportunity to respond,” the group said.

Currently, 10 states and several congressional committees are investigating Planned Parenthood, and the Senate is planning a vote next week on a bill to defund it and redirect its millions of dollars to community health centers and hospitals to serve women’s health care needs.

It is a federal felony to engage in the sale or purchase of human fetal tissue, although such tissue may be donated with proper consent, and shipping and handling expenses may be reimbursed.

Planned Parenthood and its defenders have claimed that the company does not make a profit from organ sales and note that the videos even show its officials stressing this, even as they haggle over how much can be charged for “shipping and handling.” The latest video may moot even that defense by showing someone trying to get around the very category “sales” in order to skirt laws and/or avoid scrutiny.

Federal law also forbids alterations in the timing or method of abortion to obtain the fetal tissue — something Planned Parenthood officials appear to be discussing doing in earlier videos.

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