Analysis

Daleiden: Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue sales aren’t legally defensible

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David Daleiden, the man behind undercover videos which have resulted in Planned Parenthood being defunded in several states, said in a recent interview of Planned Parenthood’s business model for fetal tissue sale: “There’s no way that model is legally defensible.”

The Center for Medical Progress’s series of undercover footage documented Planned Parenthood officials negotiating prices for the body parts of babies they aborted. Daleiden, who described his expertise as “hands-on immersion” in “regenerative medicine and stem cell science,” told the Washington Examiner:

… [I]n terms of the for-profit sale of fetal tissue, it’s very clearly the business model Planned Parenthood was using at most of their affiliates.

In that model, where you have an outside procurement company sending harvesting technicians into the clinics to do all the work of fetal tissue collection, for Planned Parenthood it’s free. There’s no cost to Planned Parenthood to do that, and yet they’re still getting paid per fetal organ by these companies. There’s no way that model is legally defensible.

“These companies” Daleiden is referring to include StemExpress, Planned Parenthood’s procurement company which cut ties with the abortion giant soon after the release of CMP’s videos. As Live Action News previously reported, former StemExpress procurement technician Holly O’Donnell shared grisly details about being instructed at a California Planned Parenthood to cut into the face of an aborted baby boy – who still had a heartbeat – to harvest an intact brain.

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Daleiden told the Examiner that at the time CMP put out the first video, it had been 15 years since the last time the trafficking of aborted fetal tissue had been in the news. He was referring to a shocking investigation conducted by Life Dynamics, a pro-life organization in Denton, Texas, in 1997. Life Dynamics president Mark Crutcher, in his analysis of that investigation, noted that the process of selling aborted babies is not actually illegal in itself – and a loophole in the law allows abortion facilities like Planned Parenthood to easily cook the books when it comes to “reimbursement” for fetal organs:

On the surface, this is not illegal. In fact, this process is used in all sorts of medical clinics across the country for medical research. The loophole is that site fees and retrieval reimbursement amounts are unregulated. The law requires that such payments be reasonable and reflect the actual cost of securing the parts; but there are no state or federal laws which establish guidelines or set limits regarding these payments, and no one is appointed to oversee the system.

In 1999, after Crutcher’s investigation, the United States General Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report on the sale of aborted baby body parts and estimated that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) had awarded approximately $17 million for 103 research grants using human fetal tissue that year. The GAO report stated that principal investigators who responded to the GAO survey acquired 12,116 human fetal tissue samples in fiscal years 1997 through 1999 for use in NIH- sponsored research.

And what did the GAO find when investigating the costs of acquiring this human fetal tissue? That the costs were “generally low.”

The GAO noted in their report that more than four-fifths of the researchers who received tissue from abortion facilities paid no fee. “The fees per sample of human fetal tissue from health clinics ranged from $2 to $75, with an average of $22,” they wrote:

In fiscal year 1999, 49 percent of the principal investigators in our survey received human fetal tissue without paying an acquisition fee. Among those who did pay an acquisition fee, the average fee per sample was $80 in fiscal year 1999. The median number of tissue samples received by principal investigators in fiscal year 1999 was 26.

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Sixteen years later, this stands in stark contrast to what we see in CMP’s videos where high ranking officials haggle over the costs of baby parts, with one Planned Parenthood medical director, Dr. Mary Gatter (pictured), joking about wanting “a Lamborghini” before negotiating a price of $150.00 per specimen.

When the Examiner asked Daleiden about certain state investigations that have found no lawbreaking on the part of Planned Parenthood, he responded by explaining that “even the contractors themselves, StemExpress and other companies, make it clear the payments are on a per specimen basis and Planned Parenthood only gets the payments if the specimen is a high enough quality so it meets the specifications.”

Daleiden also pointed out that, with regard to the truth of his claims, Planned Parenthood has never accused him of saying anything that wasn’t true:

It’s interesting that the lawsuit Planned Parenthood filed kind of threw everything but the kitchen sink at me, but the one thing they did not sue for is defamation. They are upset by the way we went about doing it, but they are not claiming in a legal sense that we said anything that was untrue.

Recently indicted by a Houston grand jury for, of all things, allegedly offering to purchase fetal organs in the course of his undercover investigations, Daleiden defends his actions by pointing out that undercover stings are commonly used by investigative journalists:

For the public at large, undercover work, I think most people realize, is a key part of both journalism and law enforcement and most people really don’t find that controversial.

The CMP founder said that his work has made him a target and admitted receiving death threats and other threats of bodily harm. But he reiterated that CMP’s focus remains “on investigative journalism with a focus on bioethical issues that impact human dignity in a significant way.” Of the upcoming Congressional hearings into Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted baby body parts, Daleiden said that he was pleased. “I was hoping for maybe just one congressional investigation after we released the videos … it turns out there were five,” he said.

Earlier this month, the chair of a U.S. House investigative panel announced that subpoenas have been issued to StemExpress and two other agencies in order to obtain documents regarding the possible sale of aborted baby body parts. According to Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) who chairs the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, the first hearing will be held on Wednesday, March 2, 2016.

Although Daleiden hinted that CMP may have other investigations in the works, he said that right now he remains focused on exposing Planned Parenthood grisly baby parts operation and noted that, “there’s still plenty of unreleased footage” to be seen.

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