Analysis

Planned Parenthood announces halt on accepting ‘reimbursements’ for fetal body parts

Today, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards announced in a letter to the National Institutes of Health that the abortion giant plans to stop accepting ‘reimbursement’ from the sales of aborted fetal body parts – a decision which Richards says is an effort to take away the “smokescreen” of the “extremists” behind the Center for Medical Progress videos. But while claims of “smokescreens” may win points with supporters, the facts just don’t add up.

Caught on tape by CMP, Planned Parenthood executives described how to strategically “crush” babies to obtain certain fetal organs – a breaking of federal law. They also describe how their ‘reimbursement’ isn’t really reimbursement at all – it’s profit worth haggling over – also a violation of federal law. Planned Parenthood’s decision today, in reality, does nothing to negate the evidence of illegal activity by a taxpayer-funded organization that has been mired in various scandals for years.

The Wall Street Journal reports on Richards’ letter:

“The real goal of these extremists has nothing to do with our fetal tissue donation compliance process but is instead to ban abortion in the U.S. and block women from getting any health care from Planned Parenthood,” Ms. Richards wrote. “Today, we’re taking their smokescreen away.”

Richards admits that certain affiliates have indeed been accepting money for fetal body parts – including California, which was the state primarily in focus in the CMP videos. California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is pro-choice, had no intention of investigating Planned Parenthood affiliates in her state – however, she announced her plans to investigate the Center for Medical Progress:

Fetal tissue has been provided by affiliates in California and Washington state, and the Washington clinics haven’t been taking any money for it, she said. The Oregon affiliate has been providing placental tissue for reimbursement. Planned Parenthood didn’t disclose the amount it will forgo with its new policy.

But according to Richards, the organization’s decision doesn’t mean that women can’t still donate their aborted children:

Under federal law, the tissue can be sent directly to university research centers or to third parties that process it and provide the material to researchers, but it is illegal to profit from tissue. Planned Parenthood has said it only procures fetal tissue for research, not transplantation, and it only recovers reasonable costs.

In her letter, Ms. Richards said the decision to forgo reimbursement shouldn’t be interpreted as a suggestion that other clinics should follow suit or that the law is weak, according to the letter to the NIH. She also said the organization will continue to give women the option to donate fetal tissue.

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And in a statement that will cause many a pro-life eyebrow to be raised, Richards claims the decision “is first and foremost about preserving the ability of our patients to donate tissue, and to expose our opponents’ false charges about this limited but important work.”

But even Planned Parenthood’s supporters in Congress, who like the idea, hit on what this decision is most likely about:

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D., Md.), a Planned Parenthood supporter, said the new policy “makes total sense. Even though the law allows for reasonable expenses, this change eliminates any remaining argument by opponents and demonstrates how critical this type of research is for millions of Americans.”

It appears from Ms. Richards’ letter that the hope is that investigations of the organization will cease, despite the video evidence – now in the hands of Congress – showing the clear breaking of federal law, which warrants action:

It is unclear whether the decision to stop accepting reimbursement will appease Republicans who have said they are investigating if any laws were broken. Their questioning has probed issues other than fetal tissue donation, including funding the organization provides overseas and money Planned Parenthood has spent on lobbying, travel, parties, and other activities.

Planned Parenthood said they didn’t have an exact dollar figure of how much procuring tissue without getting reimbursed will cost them or the two affiliates.

Prior to this, Planned Parenthood’s senior counsel Roger Evans stated that participating affiliates received $30 – $100 per specimen.

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