Note: Family Planning in NZ is affiliated with Planned Parenthood.
Stuff co.nz 15 July 2015
A US anti-abortion group has released an undercover video of an official at the family planning group Planned Parenthood discussing in graphic detail how to abort a foetus to preserve its organs for medical research – and also the costs associated with sharing that tissue with scientists.
Over a lunch at a Los Angeles restaurant, two anti-abortion activists posing as employees from a biotech firm met with Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical research. Armed with cameras, the activists recorded Nucatola talking about Planned Parenthood’s work donating fetal tissue to researchers and pressed her on whether the clinics were charging for the organs.
The Center for Medical Progress, which recorded and edited the video, says the footage proves that Planned Parenthood is breaking US law by selling fetal organs. But the video does not show Nucatola explicitly talking about selling organs. The Planned Parenthood official says the organisation is “very, very sensitive” about being perceived as illegally profiting from organ sales and charges only for the cost, for instance, of shipping the tissue.
The video, filmed by a group called the Center for Medical Progress, threatens to reignite a long-standing debate over the use of fetal tissue harvested through abortions, and could add fuel to efforts seeking to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
In a statement, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood said the video misrepresents the organisation ‘s work. Planned Parenthood clinics, with a patient’s permission, may sometimes donate fetal tissue for use in stem-cell research, said the spokesperson, who added that the group’s affiliates, which operate independently, do not profit from these donations.
“At several of our health centres, 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,” spokesman Eric Ferrero said. “In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centres , are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field.”