Right-wing media are seizing on deceptively edited videos purporting to show that Planned Parenthood profits from the illegal sale of fetal tissue to justify comparing the organization to Nazis, invoking the deadly human experimentation of notorious Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele. In reality, the full, unedited versions of the videos debunk the allegations. Many groups, including Planned Parenthood, donate fetal tissue to support medical research such as the development of treatments for diseases, and such donations are legal with consent from the donor. It's also legal for providers to accept payment “for reasonable expenses” with “informed consent,” but Planned Parenthood does not profit from tissue donations -- Legal reimbursement helps offset the costs associated with donations.
Anti-Choice Group Released Second Deceptively Edited Video Purporting To Show Planned Parenthood Officials “Haggling Over Payments” For “Baby Parts”
Center For Medical Progress Releases Deceptively Edited Videos Purporting To Show Planned Parenthood Officials Discussing Prices For The Sale Of Fetal Tissue. In a video released on July 21, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) claimed to have recorded a Planned Parenthood official “haggling over” prices for fetal tissue donations and offering to change procedure techniques “to get more intact fetuses.” A previous CMP video purported to show another Planned Parenthood official discussing prices for the sale of fetal tissue. Both videos have been deceptively edited. The full, unedited footage debunks CMP's claims, showing the Planned Parenthood officials explaining that any change in procedure is done pursuant to medical advice without additional risk to the patient, and that the compensation being discussed was about legal reimbursement for costs associated with tissue donation. [Media Matters, 7/21/15; 7/14/15]
Conservative Media Seize On Edited Video To Compare Planned Parenthood To Nazis
Limbaugh Compares Tissue Donation For Scientific Research To Notorious Nazi Doctor's Deadly Human Experimentation. On the July 15 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh invoked notorious Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele, who specialized in deadly human experimentation on prisoners in concentration camps, to claim that fetal tissue donations have not contributed to medical research. Limbaugh said, “We have a procedure called abortion and now people have found another way to make money off of it and to cover it up it's being calledscientific research. Medicine. It's insulting because that's not at all what is going on.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 7/15/15]
Red State: “Planned Parenthood Is As Evil As The Nazis.” Red State's Steve Berman wrote “abortion is as evil as genocide. Planned Parenthood is as evil as the Nazis in the way they defend it”:
Abortion is as evil as genocide. Planned Parenthood is as evil as the Nazis in the way they defend it. And the picture at the top of this post features Dr. Josef Mengele, who experimented on Jewish twins, dwarfs and other children “in the name of science” along with Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, who donates body parts of aborted babies “for medical research.”
The experiments Mengele did were perfectly legal under German law, because the Jews he used were subhuman. The babies Richards uses for her medical research are perfectly legal as long as Planned Parenthood makes no profit, because the unborn are subhuman. [Red State, 7/21/15]
Erick Erickson: “Cecile Richards Is The Closest We Have Come In America To Josef Mengele.” On July 21, Fox News contributor Erick Erickson compared Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards to notorious Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele:
Resolved: Cecile Richards is the closest we have come in America to Josef Mengele.
-- Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 22, 2015
Limbaugh Equated Fetal Tissue Donation For Medical Research To Nazi Germany. On The July 21 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh equated the medical services of Planned Parenthood to Nazi Germany:
LIMBAUGH: They're advocating pregnant women to go and have their babies' body parts harvested
We as a country went to war to stop another country that was in effect doing things like this. It was World War II and it was Adolf Hitler and the Germans. We have not become that. We may have pockets of our perverted, sick culture that have become that. But it's not who we are. It's not who the majority of the country is. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 7/21/15]
Fox's Sean Hannity: Planned Parenthood Officials Sound Like “High Ranking Official[s] In The Nazi Regime.” On the July 16 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, Hannity argued that the conversations with Planned Parenthood officials in CMP's videos sound like “the things you'd expect to hear from a high-ranking official in the Nazi regime.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 7/16/15]
The Blaze Likens Planned Parenthood To A “For-Profit Concentration Camp.” Glenn Beck's news website, The Blaze, likened Planned Parenthood to a “for-profit concentration camp,” writing “the similarities between the Nazis and the abortion industry run even deeper, as the former were also known to chop their victims up and sell parts of them for profit”:
But I suppose our perpetual “shock” at Planned Parenthood is kind of like the viewer who watches a documentary about Auschwitz and comes away calling it “eye opening.” In one sense it is, but in another, it ought not be. This was a place where Nazis murdered human beings in bulk. That's why the concentration camps existed, to exterminate people. What do you think it's going to look like? Once you understand what they did, how can you be additionally shocked by the peripheral details? They gassed women and children and burned their naked bodies like heaps of garbage. Why would you be “shocked” to find out that, in the meantime, they also tormented and starved them?
And that's how it is with abortion clinics. Each one is a for-profit concentration camp, and together it took them less than half a century to murder 50 million human beings. In fact, the similarities between the Nazis and the abortion industry run even deeper, as the former were also known to chop their victims up and sell parts of them for profit. [The Blaze, 7/14/15]
The Donation Of Fetal Tissue And Reimbursement Are Legal With Consent Of Donor
Federal Law Allows For Donations Of Fetal Tissue With Consent. Federal law regarding the use of human fetal tissue does not prohibit the use of donated materials. [Title 42 U.S. Code § 289g-2, Accessed 7/22/15]
Health And Human Services Independent Review Board: Providers May Accept Payment “For Reasonable Expenses” With “Informed Consent.” The set of standards outlined by the Health And Human Services Independent Review Board guidebook, the industry standard for medical research, explains that payment for fetal tissue may be obtained “for reasonable expenses occasioned by the actual retrieval, storage, preparation, and transportation of the tissues” (emphasis added):
Prohibiting Payments and Other Inducements
· Payments and other forms of remuneration and compensation associated with the procurement of fetal tissue should be prohibited, except payment for reasonable expenses occasioned by the actual retrieval, storage, preparation, and transportation of the tissues.
· Potential recipients of such tissues, as well as research and health care participants, should be properly informed about the source of the tissues in question.
· The decision and consent to abort must precede discussion of the possible use of the fetal tissue and any request for such consent that might be required for that use.
· Fetal tissue from induced abortions should not be used in medical research without the prior consent of the pregnant woman. Her decision to donate fetal remains is sufficient for the use of tissue, unless the father objects (except in cases of incest or rape).
· Consent should be obtained in compliance with state law and with the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. [Health and Human Services Institutional Review Board Guidebook, Accessed 7/22/15]
Planned Parenthood Does Not Profit From Fetal Tissue Donations
FactCheck.org: Planned Parenthood Does Not Profit From Fetal Tissue Donations. FactCheck.org explained that CMP's videos were deceptively edited to claim that Planned Parenthood profits from abortion, but the full version actually shows the Planned Parenthood official “repeatedly saying its clinics want to cover their costs, not make money, when donating fetal tissue from abortions for scientific research.” FactCheck also explains that according to “biorepository” experts, the fees discussed in the video would not generate “a profit at that price” -- it'd just offset some of the costs associated with the process:
We also asked experts in the use of human tissue for research about the potential for profit. Sherilyn J. Sawyer, the director of Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital's “biorepository,” told us that “there's no way there's a profit at that price.” She continued in an email:
Sawyer, July 20: In reality, $30-100 probably constitutes a loss for [Planned Parenthood]. The costs associated with collection, processing, storage, and inventory and records management for specimens are very high. Most hospitals will provide tissue blocks from surgical procedures (ones no longer needed for clinical purposes, and without identity) for research, and cost recover for their time and effort in the range of $100-500 per case/block. In the realm of tissues for research $30-100 is completely reasonable and normal fee.
Jim Vaught, president of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories and formerly the deputy director of the National Cancer Institute's Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research, told us in an email that "$30 to $100 per sample is a reasonable charge for clinical operations to recover their costs for providing tissue." In fact, he said, the costs to a clinic are often much higher, but most operations that provide this kind of tissue have “no intention of fully recovering [their] costs, much less making a profit.”
Carolyn Compton, the chief medical and science officer of Arizona State University's National Biomarkers Development Alliance and a former director of biorepositories and biospecimen research at the National Cancer Institute, agreed that this was “a modest price tag for cost recovery.” Compton told us in an email: " 'Profit' is out of the question, in my mind. I would say that whoever opined about 'profit' knows very little about the effort and expense involved in providing human biospecimens for research purposes." [FactCheck.org, 7/21/15]
Fetal Tissue Donation Supports Medical Research, Treatments For Diseases, And Is Not Unique To Planned Parenthood
New York Times: Fetal Tissue Donations Are Supplied By Many University Clinics For Medical Research. The New York Times editorial board explained that Planned Parenthood is only one of many groups that support medical research that includes developing treatments for diseases, through the donation of fetal tissue:
Researchers use fetal tissue to study and develop treatments for diseases and conditions like H.I.V., hepatitis, congenital heart defects, retinal degeneration and Parkinson's. Last year, the National Institutes of Health gave $76 million in grants for fetal tissue research. Planned Parenthood is certainly not the only collector of fetal tissue -- clinics associated with universities also supply tissue for research. [The New York Times, 7/22/15]