Planned Parenthood: The Enemy of both Life and Choice

I’ve been waiting to comment on the recent drama surrounding Planned Parenthood until more information became available, but with the release of the fifth video this week, there’s not a lot more that can be said. The Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the group behind these videos, says it has released less than half of the videos the organization has in its possession, and in fact some of them may never see the light of day given that a LA County Superior Court Judge and a Federal Judge who bundled $230,000 for President Obama’s last campaign have both issued temporary restraining orders against releasing videos involving certain Planned Parenthood business partners, based on the time-honored legal standard of: “you can’t do that because it might make the people I support look bad.”

These orders have not, though, prevented the group from releasing footage of Planned Parenthood staff themselves. Perhaps there’s worse footage waiting in the wings, but it seems as though any additional footage can only confirm what we already know from these first five releases.

And what, precisely, is that? In the interests of full disclosure, I’ll note here that I haven’t gotten through the several hours of unedited footage yet. I tend to be Boehner-esque in my lack of control over my lacrimal glands, so watching things like this make me start bawling, not to mention turning my stomach and just being flat out horrifying. I also have young kids at home, including a 9 month old baby, so my already-weak stomach is considerably more so when violence against small children is involved. What I have seen is incredibly difficult to watch, and would be even without a baby of my own at home. Watching it while thinking of her sleeping upstairs is next to impossible. So I haven’t watched everything. But what I have watched thus far is bad enough.

Here’s how bad . . .

Murder

Planned Parenthood’s staff and senior leadership are committing, condoning, and covering up the murder of live infants. One of the most chilling quotes from the whole series thus far comes from CMP video #4 (I say “one of” because it’s hard to pick between several strong contenders for that distinction). The clip features Dr. Savita Ginde, VP and Medical Director for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM), one of the group’s largest affiliates which operates clinics in four states. She says, among other things, “Sometimes, if we get, if someone delivers before we get to see them for a procedure, then we are intact.”

Got that? Some of Planned Parenthood’s “intact specimens” are born alive before Planned Parenthood can get to them.

This is on top of CMP video #2, in which Dr. Mary Gatter, President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Medical Directors’ Council, discusses the fact that use of a feticide – digoxin – to stop the heart and begin the procedure would render the organs nonviable for research. Logically then, this means that when they are chopped up for parts, they’re still alive and able to feel every bit of it. It also means that when they’re not chopped up for parts, they’re not dead when they’re delivered intact.

Further, CMP spokesperson David Daleiden notes in an interview with CNN that one of the restraining orders his group has been slapped with regards video footage of StemExpress (which contracts with Planned Parenthood to remove and deliver fetal organs for research) discussing the fact that they sometimes receive intact bodies from Planned Parenthood. Again, the descriptions provided by Planned Parenthood indicate that the babies in these scenarios are not killed in utero before being born . . .

. . . or, in some cases, partially born. The very first video, with Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) Senior Director of Medical Services Dr. Deborah Nucatola, shows her describing a partial birth abortion as a mechanism for ensuring that donated organs are intact once the procedure is complete. Performing a partial birth abortion has been a federal crime in the United States, punishable by up to two years in prison, since 2003. The Supreme Court has ruled that the ban does not apply when death has already been administered via the use of a feticidal agent. But remember that bit from CMP video #2? In these instances, no feticidal agent is used because it renders the organs unviable.

That means Planned Parenthood is both performing illegal partial-birth abortions, and allowing babies to die after they’re born so they can be used as “intact specimens.”

Let’s be perfectly clear. When we’re talking about “aborting” a baby after it has been born alive, we are fully into Kermit Gosnell territory. Gosnell, you may remember (unless you get your information by way of the “all the news that fits the narrative” crowd at the New York Times, in which case right now you’re probably thinking, “Kermit who?”), was the abortionist convicted of three counts of first degree murder for what amounts to an error in geography – scissoring the spines of babies after they’d been removed from the uterus, rather than before.

This is the world we live in. These are the wages of a belief that life begins when you bring your baby home from the hospital.

It is a world in which, even if you believe that life begins at birth, Planned Parenthood is in the business of murder.

Child Abuse

Planned Parenthood’s staff and senior leadership are committing, condoning, and covering up child abuse and neglect. I’m not just talking about the many, many incidents in which Planned Parenthood has protected its primary revenue stream by covering up the rape and/or statutory rape of minor girls. I’m talking about the fact that federal law defines child abuse as “intentionally or knowingly causing death or serious bodily injury to a child.” It’s one of the aggravating conditions that makes those guilty of federal first degree murder eligible for the death penalty.

Again, if you believe a child is a person from the time it is born alive, and if – as established above – Planned Parenthood has unambiguously violated this law by allowing children born alive to die so that they can be shipped off as “intact specimens,” then Planned Parenthood is unambiguously guilty of not just covering up child abuse, but committing the act themselves.

Again, this is true even if you believe that life begins at birth.

Human Trafficking

Planned Parenthood’s staff and senior leadership are committing, condoning, and covering up human trafficking. The U.S. Department of State has a simple diagram that makes it easy to define human trafficking.

Human Trafficking is:

trafficking

If one condition from each category is met, the result is trafficking. For adults, victim consent is irrelevant if one of the Means is employed. For children consent is irrelevant with or without the Means category.

Remember that Planned Parenthood has already admitted its patients sometimes give birth before the organization can get to them, and also that the organization sometimes delivers – or at least partially delivers – live children before chopping them up and/or shipping them off. That means it meets the “Process” test in the above chart for Receiving, and possibly for Transferring or Transportation as well. The fact that it does so by the “Means” of deceit and deception is clearly evident in the videos, which feature leaders in the organization discussing mechanisms for subverting or getting around such pesky little details as the U.S. Criminal Code. The “Goal,” of course, is usually violence, as the children in question are most often taken apart piece by piece. For those lucky enough to be provided as “intact specimens,” they are involuntarily serving as test subjects at the research labs who receive them.

That’s pretty much a textbook example of human trafficking, according to the State Department’s definition.

This is true even if you believe that life begins at birth.

Profiting from Fetal Organ Donation

Planned Parenthood’s staff and senior leadership are trading in organs for profit. Let’s begin by noting that donation of fetal organs for medical research is completely legal. However, according to federal law, it is “unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration,” though the law does state that a provider may exact “reasonable payments associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue.”

In CMP’s early videos, the organization did a good job of trying to blur this line and argue that it was only recovering its costs. Earlier footage showed staff carefully talking around the issue, asserting repeatedly that none of this was for profit (while nevertheless making ghoulish jokes like “I want a Lamborghini.”) The implication is obvious, but there’s no smoking gun. Until the most recent video, that is.

In CMP video #5, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Research Director Melissa Farrell boasts several times about her contributions to the organization. Those contributions, as Farrell states them, are simply incompatible with the law. She describes the importance of her role within PPGC, in that, “I think everyone realizes especially because my department contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization,” and, “In terms of areas that I can contribute to the organization both locally and nationally is diversification of the revenue stream.”

If you are adding new “revenue streams” to your organization, and “contributing to its bottom line,” you are, by definition, doing more than just recovering your costs. What Farrell describes is unambiguously illegal.

A recent interview between ABC’s George Stephanopaulous and Cecile Richards, the director of PPFA, featured the following exchange:

STEPHANOPOULOS: But [charging research institutes for the fetal materials PP provides] does improve the finances of the clinic, doesn’t it?

RICHARDS: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.

Richards and Farrell can’t both be telling the truth, so you can choose to believe the senior executive who has every incentive to lie to protect her organization (and who, in fact, has a history of doing so), or you can choose to believe the department head who has every incentive to tell the truth about what she does to people she sees as potential business partners.

It’s not much of a contest, really.

This is true even if you believe that life begins at birth.

Violation of Informed Consent

Now we move from Planned Parenthood’s crimes against children . . . excuse me, against “fetuses” . . . to the organization’s crimes against its own patients, the pregnant women who come to them for help. First off, Planned Parenthood’s staff and senior leadership are committing, condoning, and covering up violations of informed consent laws.

Remember, earlier we noted that donating fetal tissue for research purposes is completely legal if it is not done for profit. Federal law, though, lays out very strict instructions as to how the process must work in order to remain legal. In part, the law reads:

(b) Informed consent of donor

(1) In general
In research carried out under subsection (a) of this section, human fetal tissue may be used only if the woman providing the tissue makes a statement, made in writing and signed by the woman, declaring that—

(A) the woman donates the fetal tissue for use in research described in subsection (a) of this section;

(B) the donation is made without any restriction regarding the identity of individuals who may be the recipients of transplantations of the tissue; and

(C) the woman has not been informed of the identity of any such individuals.

(2) Additional statement
In research carried out under subsection (a) of this section, human fetal tissue may be used only if the attending physician with respect to obtaining the tissue from the woman involved makes a statement, made in writing and signed by the physician, declaring that—

(A) in the case of tissue obtained pursuant to an induced abortion—

(i) the consent of the woman for the abortion was obtained prior to requesting or obtaining consent for a donation of the tissue for use in such research;

(ii) no alteration of the timing, method, or procedures used to terminate the pregnancy was made solely for the purposes of obtaining the tissue; and

(iii) the abortion was performed in accordance with applicable State law;

Let’s piece together the relevant bits here:

“In research carried out under subsection (a) of this section, human fetal tissue may be used only if the woman providing the tissue makes a statement, made in writing and signed by the woman, declaring that . . . the woman donates the fetal tissue for use in research described in subsection (a) of this section. . . .”

and

“. . . In research carried out under subsection (a) of this section, human fetal tissue may be used only if the attending physician with respect to obtaining the tissue from the woman involved makes a statement, made in writing and signed by the physician, declaring that . . . no alteration of the timing, method, or procedures used to terminate the pregnancy was made solely for the purposes of obtaining the tissue.”

So the law makes two requirements in these excerpted sections: First, the patient must consent in writing to the tissue donation. Second, the procedure cannot be altered solely for to obtain research samples.

Here is the consent form used by Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. Note two of the statements a patient must initial:

(1) “I agree to give my blood and/or the tissue from the abortion as a gift to be used for education, research, or treatment.”

and

(2) “I understand there will be no changes to how or when my abortion is done in order to get my blood or the tissue.”

Here’s the problem. Dr. Nucatola in CMP video #1 and Dr. Grutter in CMP video #2, both explicitly describe ways in which procedures are changed in order to more effectively obtain the blood or tissue to be donated.

So the consent form signed by patients explicitly acknowledges that the procedure will not be altered to facilitate organ donation, yet doctors who actually perform the procedures are on record stating that they do in fact alter those procedures in order to facilitate organ donation.

That means Planned Parenthood is operating on patients without their full and informed consent. In changing their procedures to put the interests of its business partners ahead of the interests of its patients, Planned Parenthood is not only violating federal law, it is betraying its patients.

This is true even if you believe that life begins at birth.

Medical Battery

So Planned Parenthood is expressly and admittedly performing procedures to which its patients have not consented. There’s a name for that. Planned Parenthood’s staff and senior leadership are committing, condoning, and covering up Medical Battery.

Simple battery is defined in US common law by three features:

1. Unlawful application of force

2. to the person of another

3. resulting in either bodily injury or an offensive touching

Medical Battery is simply when this occurs in a medical context. The most common form of medical battery is performing a non-emergency medical procedure without the patient’s consent. Often, this can – for example – take the form of failing to honor a “do not resuscitate” order.

Here, as detailed above, it takes the form of illegally altering an abortion procedure in order to obtain viable organs without the patient’s informed consent. According to Dr. Farrell in the most recent video, “some of our doctors have projects and they’re collecting the specimens, so they do it in a way that they can get the best specimens.” This constitutes a clear conflict of interest on the part of these doctors, on top of the violations of federal law and of the patient’s consent.

No wonder the organization takes such extreme positions as opposing a ban on abortions after 20 weeks except when the mother’s life is endangered, and opposing a ban on partial birth abortion – both measures favored by clear majorities of Americans. Such measures would “eliminate revenue streams” and cut into their “bottom line”!

In short, Planned Parenthood has revealed itself to be nothing short of an organized criminal conspiracy. You can get much of this from the edited-down videos released by CMP. However, unlike when CBS used fraudulent sources to paint President George W. Bush as a draft dodger, or when NBC deceptively edited dispatcher recordings to make George Zimmerman (who shot and killed Trayvon Martin) look like a racist, or when Jon Stewart’s Daily Show edited clips together to frame a Christian leader as an anti-gay bigot, CMP has released a great deal of its full, unedited footage.

Here is the organization’s YouTube channel. Note that of the five videos released by the organization thus far, the raw footage has been made available in three of the four undercover investigative pieces. Video #3 was an on-air interview, not an undercover video, so the raw footage is less important for the sake of context. The raw footage for the most recent Video #5 has not yet been posted by the group. As of this writing, the organization’s website currently features placeholder text for when they actually do so.

Still, what’s already out there is enough to reveal the widely-propagated claim that the organization is relying only on “heavily edited videos” as a bald-faced lie.

A Word to Pro-Choicers

Many – if not most – of you who are reading this consider yourselves “pro-life.” I’d like to speak, just for a moment, to the rest of you . . . and in particular to those who consider themselves staunchly “pro-choice” . . . those for whom a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body is paramount and inviolable.

If you identify as pro-choice, and you read nothing else here, READ THIS!!

First, you are obviously someone for whom a woman’s right to control her own body is a primary value. That being the case, please consider that Planned Parenthood repeatedly and intentionally violated that right, every single time one of its physicians changed a procedure with the intent to preserve the viability of a fetal organ rather than to preserve the safety of the patient.

Every one of those patients is a victim of medical battery. Every one of them had her right to full and informed consent violated.

Every one of them was denied her right to choose.

This is the sort of thing you can ignore, but you can’t un-know. This is the sort of thing that should be profoundly disturbing regardless of your political opinion on the legality of abortion.

This is the sort of thing that should have pro-lifers and pro-choicers on the same side, offering full-throated condemnation of Planned Parenthood. Because the organization has repeatedly and intentionally violated the core values at the heart of both groups.

Let’s be clear: If you know what Planned Parenthood did here, and if you still defend the organization, then by definition you are not pro-choice. You are pro-abortion. Period and full stop.

This is on All of Us

These videos are not about people who pursue an abortion or people who support the right of others to do the same (some of whom – in both cases – may be reading this article). They are about an unscrupulous and criminal provider of abortions.

Make no mistake: If you excuse or turn a blind eye to the actions of Planned Parenthood after knowing that this information is out there, you are excusing murder, child abuse and neglect, human trafficking, medical battery, and violation of informed consent.

If you are an American taxpayer, you are financing murder, child abuse and neglect, human trafficking, medical battery, and violation of informed consent.

If, like the Democratic leadership in Congress (and like my two Democratic senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine) you gloss over it, ignore it, minimize it, or excuse it because you’re afraid it will impact the political debate over abortion, you are putting politics ahead of the principles you claim to hold.

If, like the Republican leadership in Congress, you avoid the issue because you’re afraid it will impact some other political concern of yours, you are doing the same.

If you are someone who has received an abortion at the hands of Planned Parenthood or one of its affiliates, you are quite possibly a victim of medical battery and the violation of your right to informed consent.

An Unusually Apt Comparison

According to most interpretations of Godwin’s Law, the one who invokes Nazis in an Internet debate is supposed to immediately lose the argument. But let’s be honest, even in this age of cynicism and hyperbole, every once in a very long while, some comparisons are apt.

Consider this: The most full-throated defenders of Planned Parenthood have argued that fetal tissue provided by the organization has gone to potentially life-saving research in vaccinations and pharmaceuticals, and have excused the organization – and attacked those who exposed it – on those grounds.

Now consider the Ravensbruck concentration camp, where experiments were performed to test the effectiveness of sulfa drugs.

Consider the immunizations for malaria, typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, yellow fever, and hepatitis that were developed and tested at Dachau, Buchenwald, and others.

Consider the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele at Auschwitz, who experimented on his subjects “in order to determine how different races withstood various contagious diseases.”

Planned Parenthood and its defenders feel their cause is a noble one with the potential to save lives; Mengele and his colleagues felt the same.

But someone who argues that an unborn-but-viable infant is not a human being, but that its organs are suitable for “human experiments,” is rationalizing just like Josef Mengele. Someone who looks at a baby born alive because Planned Parenthood couldn’t kill it fast enough, and sees an “intact specimen” suitable for delivery to a research facility, is thinking just like Josef Mengele. Someone who rips a tiny human into pieces while it’s still alive because killing it first would render its organs unviable for medical research (and financial profit!) is acting just like Josef Mengele.

Not only is there no difference in kind, there’s not even a difference in degree! They’re exactly the same.

As a professional communicator, I can’t help but be awed by Planned Parenthood’s extremely effective marketing strategy of conflating its own brand name with the legality of abortion itself . . . of arguing that, as the organization goes, so goes the “right to choose.” But it’s simply not true. It’s undoubtedly true that Planned Parenthood provides some useful services (though not as many as they would have you believe), but others provide those services as well, without such horrific side effects. No, Planned Parenthood is not the great American defender of a woman’s right to choose.

Planned Parenthood is America’s Auschwitz.

This is true even if you believe that life begins at birth.

And we are all supporting it, implicitly or explicitly. Each and every one of us bears this shame: me, you, all of us . . . just as every German who legitimized, supported, and fought for Hitler’s Third Reich bore a piece of the responsibility for its atrocities, whether or not they were Nazis themselves.

So the question becomes, what am I . . . what are you . . . what are we . . . going to do about it?

I don’t know the answer, but I know that David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress have provided a remarkably clear, and astonishingly effective, way forward. Whether you’re pro-life or truly pro-choice, we all owe him a debt of thanks for that.

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