The Center for Medical Progress' fourth attempt to smear Planned Parenthood -- by using deceptively-edited videos to falsely claim clinics are “negotiating a fetal body parts deal” -- once again falls flat, providing no evidence that any laws were broken. Transcript of the full, undoctored footage reveals staff at a Planned Parenthood Colorado affiliate simply discussing legal reimbursements for safe donations, and reveals that the undercover actors admitted they were the “middlemen” who stood to potentially make a profit from selling tissue -- not Planned Parenthood itself.
Anti-Choice Organization Releases Fourth Doctored Video Alleging Planned Parenthood Is “Negotiating A Fetal Body Parts Deal”
The Center For Medical Progress Releases Fourth Video Claiming That Planned Parenthood Officials Are “Negotiating A Fetal Body Parts Deal.” A July 30 video released by The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) claimed that Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, in Denver, CO, was “negotiating a fetal body parts deal, agreeing multiple times to illicit pricing per body part harvested.” According to the organization's press release:
DENVER, July 30--New undercover footage shows Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains' Vice President and Medical Director, Dr. Savita Ginde, negotiating a fetal body parts deal, agreeing multiple times to illicit pricing per body part harvested, and suggesting ways to avoid legal consequences.
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) is a wealthy, multi-state Planned Parenthood affiliate that does over 10,000 abortions per year. PPRM has a contract to supply aborted fetal tissue to Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
When the buyers ask Ginde if “compensation could be specific to the specimen?” Ginde agrees, “Okay.” Later on in the abortion clinic's pathological laboratory, standing over an aborted fetus, Ginde responds to the buyer's suggestion of paying per body part harvested, rather than a standard flat fee for the entire case: “I think a per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.”
The sale or purchase of human fetal tissue is a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $500,000 (42 U.S.C. 289g-2). Federal law also requires that no alteration in the timing or method of abortion be done for the purposes of fetal tissue collection (42 U.S.C. 289g-1). [The Center for Medical Progress, 7/30/15]
But Latest Video Once Again Shows Planned Parenthood Officials Discussing Legal Reimbursements For Fetal Tissue Donations
Latest Video Again Shows Nothing Illegal. Like the three previously released deceptively-edited videos from CMP, the organization's latest undercover video does not include any evidence of illegal activity on the part of Planned Parenthood. Instead, the video once again features strategically-edited conversations that merely show that the organization is being reimbursed for costs associated with the procurement of fetal tissue, which federal law allows. [Media Matters for America, 7/28/15, Media Matters for America, 7/14/15; Media Matters for America, 7/21/15]
Both Planned Parenthood Official And Actor Note That Fees Are For “Processing And Time.” CMP's video features a Planned Parenthood doctor discussing the fetal tissue reimbursement process with an undercover actor. Over the course of the conversation, both the actor and doctor acknowledge that compensation was based on reimbursement of “processing and time,” as allowed under federal law. According to the video (emphasis added):
ACTOR: I think the resistance that I have felt is from people that, yes, they want to do it, but they don't understand that doing it right can be easy. Just with getting the attorneys on board, having, I mean we all know that for example, compensation.
I want to come in and pay you top dollar because I know what you're going to be facing and I want you to be happy. I want to make sure our suppliers are happy, so compensation, okay, your cost is negligent. So it could look like we're paying you for specimens.
ACTOR: So let's talk about it correctly.
ACTOR: We all know that yes, that's what we're doing.
GINDE: So processing and time, and yeah.
ACTOR: Exactly. So yes, I am paying you, but how we're talking about it out there in the public square. [The Center for Medical Progress, 7/30/15]
Video Has Been Deceptively Edited To Leave Out Crucial Context
Undercover Video Includes Cherry-Picked Footage, Is Doctored To Hide Time Stamps. The 11-minute video from the Center for Medical Progress strategically cherry-picks from undercover footage of the organization's actors speaking to Planned Parenthood officials under false pretenses. Like previous videos, the footage was cherry-picked in order to attempt to cast the clinic in a bad light. The short video's initial conversations with the clinic official were also doctored to hide time stamps from view. [The Center for Medical Progress, 7/30/15]
Footage Removed From Short Video: Actor Makes Clear That They Represent The “Middleman” That Might Sell Tissue, Not PPFA: “If We Somehow Misrepresented ... That's On Our Shoulder.” Left out of the edited 11-minute video is an actor from CMP posing as a buyer from a procurement company called Biomax, and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains' (PPRM) Clinical Research Coordinator, who is referred to only as “J.R.”, clearly detailing that PPFA does not “sell” the tissue. Instead, the actor notes that it is procurement companies like Biomax, not the clinics, who potentially profit from tissue. The actor explains that they essentially act as a “middleman” sourcing material from clinics before turning it around and selling it to researchers themselves. The actor goes on to say that if anything else has been conveyed, the process has been “somehow misrepresented” and that they “haven't done our due diligence.” According to the Center for Medical Progress' transcript (emphasis added):
ACTOR: Because technically, we're basically a middleman right? It's one transaction acquiring and sourcing the material from you guys. It's another separate transaction for us to turn around to who ever our client is and sell it to them. If we somehow misrepresented, and we haven't done our due diligence, that's on our shoulder right?
J.R.: Yea, just because we're not sending it to your lab so you can process
ACTOR: It does kind of blur the boundaries huh? Because it's like we're all here together
J.R.: It's just that the transaction takes place in the path lab.
Buyer: Yea, so I think all that stuff when we just sit down, with the attorney's and just drafting our contracts very carefully and consciously and just making sure that everyone's roles and expectations are clear. I think having an idea of who the tech is going to be also goes a long way. Maybe that's an argument that is is better just to have one of our people here- if you guys decided that's something you don't want to do, getting that information quickly, that would be helpful. The expectation would be that there is compensation for that. Those can be separate, so that what we're compensating to you for specimen is very clear and not negotiable. [The Center For Medical Progress, 7/30/15, 7/30/15]
Footage Removed From Short Video: Clinic Researcher Says Planned Parenthood Could “Easily Cut” Research “Because It's So Small” In Their Budget, But Clinic Officials See “The Benefits There Are For Patients.” Left out of the short 11-minute video is a second exchange between the actor from CMP and “J.R.” The full transcript of the exchange reveals “J.R.” explaining to the actor that although Planned Parenthood could “easily cut” research, such as fetal tissue donation, from the clinic's budget, it's important to them because of “the benefits there are for patients” who often “come in and say, can I do something with this medical research?” From CMP's transcript:
Buyer [ACTOR]: Why would she be so open to us coming in- we want to know what drives you? Yea, that because that's what I want to tap into, keeping this productive for both of us, keeping this profitable as this gets older.
Buyer [ACTOR]: We had a fun fifteen minutes.
J.R.: The honeymoon period is over. Yea, what happens after the honeymoon period. For me, I do- my job is primarily research based and everything but the thing is, at PPRM research can be easily cut because it's so small, compared to the other services that we offer. What really keeps research around, is Savita. She really is a champion, and really passionate about keeping it around and helping, she knows the benefits there are for patients, and for PPRM. I think that's also reflective with Biomax and PPRM. There are patients who do come in and say, can I do something with this medical research?
Buyer [ACTOR]: Yes. Just like this young lady was saying.
J.R.: Yea, and she sees that and she's also been on the research side and knows-
J.R.: -how it can be to get specimens, so that's really- I know when we first talked about it, was didn't discuss financials or what- could this go wrong or something, we really focused on the benefits as a whole and everything. So, that's my third person take of it. I don't know how she views it, she might have a different response but that's- I definitely feel that way about it and everything. And she's very supportive of medical research and everything. Like our department? four people total, in all of PPRM. I oversee all research in PPRM and all affiliates and everything, so it's something that could easily be cut budget wise, from a numbers perspective. It's definitely something that she pushes to keep around.