Concerned Women for America (CWA) has covered the undercover investigation and subsequent congressional investigation into the “fetal tissue procurement” of Planned Parenthood under the guise of “donating tissue” for medical research.
To dispense with the flowery language — strong evidence suggests that Planned Parenthood sold baby parts for profit.
At CWA, we summarized the original undercover videos, reported on Planned Parenthood’s response to the video, covered a hearing of the Select Panel, updated you on the progress of the investigation on the anniversary of the first video’s release, and applauded the continuation of funding for the Select Panel.
At the conclusion of their investigation in early 2017, the panel released a 470-page report outlying their findings in detail. The report included details on 13 criminal referrals that the Investigative Panel made to the relevant prosecuting organizations. The investigation unrecovered an entire industry with multiple business models involving partnerships between abortion clinics, middlemen, and research facilities. The obstinacy on the part of Planned Parenthood, biotech tissue companies, and research entities is astounding as they continued to resist investigation and deny fault.
The panel concluded in recommendations regarding possible administrative, legislative, and judicial action that could be taken towards remedying the many problems in the current fetal tissue procurement industry. These recommendations would be a good start towards ensuring more ethical research and procedures. This investigation has been an important piece in exposing the corruption of Planned Parenthood and the entire tissue procurement business. It has been an effort to expose the works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11). Now we must let Christ’s redeeming life shine and build a culture where experimentation on aborted baby body parts becomes unthinkable — no matter the profit margin.
Troubling Immoral and Possibly Criminal Actions by Abortion Clinics, Tissue Procurement Companies, and/or Research Entities:
Incompliance with Investigation:
Most of the entities asked for documentation during the investigation did not fully comply with congressional requests. There were also instances of possible document destruction.
Failing to Obtain Informed Consent:
The consent forms used the powerful motivator of a promise for cures of diseases, but there has been no such cure for diseases deceptively listed on consent forms. Consent was also obtained from staff that had self-interest in ensuring the woman said “yes.” In addition to these misleading consent forms, other cases involved no consent form at all, or an improperly combined consent form amended to the abortion consent.
There was a lack of paperwork and official approval from Institutional Review Boards, which are meant to oversee scientific research. The national office of Planned Parenthood is also envisioned as an oversight check on their affiliates, but they admit to not regulating whether a particular affiliate profits from tissue sale because, “We can’t stop them. We only have carrots and sticks.”1
Patient Privacy laws are in place to protect patient data from outside entities, but Planned Parenthood disclosed health information to biotech companies. An employee of the tissue procurement company got to look through patient records to target patients at stages of their pregnancy that would be advantageous to them.
Profiting from Selling Parts:
Though PPFA and tissue companies claim that there was no profit involved, the accounting practices to prove that there was only “recouping of costs” were particularly shady and included both the clinic and tissue procurement company claiming the same expenses — the use of what a PPFA employee said was “back of the envelope” cost accounting — and the refusal of PPFA to turn over relevant financial documents. One document provided, which showed a net loss for tissue “donation,” was flawed due to an absence of primary sourced accounting records, attorney fees, and inflated shipping charges.
Taxpayer University Funding Indirectly Supporting Late-Term Abortion and Tissue Procurement:
Especially in the case of the University of New Mexico and the University of Colorado, third-trimester abortions are performed by sitting faculty members of these public institutions.
Partial-Birth Abortion and Neglect of Born-Alive Infants:
In order to obtain whole baby parts and organs, there is evidence that abortionists use partial-birth abortion — an illegal procedure — or they allow the child to come out still alive, and then neglect to give the child the medical care to which it is legally entitled. In these cases, the abortionists do not poison the fetus with digoxin before extraction, as this would poison tissue samples, thus increasing the chances of being born-alive.
Changing Abortion Procedures:
There is evidence that doctor’s use a different abortion procedure in order to obtain baby parts for research, which is not legal. A Planned Parenthood executive acknowledged changing procedures in violation of Planned Parenthood’s own policy, apparently unenforced, to certify in writing that procedures are not being altered.
Medicaid and Tax Fraud:
Planned Parenthood has overbilled 132.4 million in Medicaid and has also violated the Hyde Amendment by billing for costs sometimes associated with abortions not allowed under Hyde. Another incident involved tax evasion in California.
Misleading Rhetoric Regarding the Need for Aborted Fetal Tissue:
Both on consent forms and to the general public, universities and other entities have been claiming that fetal tissue is a necessary component to vital and prolific scientific research projects. In reality, projects involving fetal tissue are rare, and in many cases (26 out of 34 successful NIH grants) could use alternatives other than aborted tissue. The remaining cases could use miscarried fetal tissue or need to be analyzed for their effectiveness. Claims that fetal tissue is necessary for vaccine production, Zika research, or clinical trials ignore the real ineffectiveness or irrelevance of fetal tissue in these cases. Non-fetal tissue studies have been receiving over two times the papers and citations than studies that involved fetal tissue.
A Summary of The Recommendations of the Select Panel
- Ensure real, informed consent, and clarify laws to ensure woman’s safety (presumably in reference to changed abortion procedures in order to get tissue).
- Increase oversight of consent forms, review boards, patient privacy laws, and the care of born-alive infants (including establishing HHS protocols for born-alive infants).
- Prosecute those who have profited from fetal tissue sale and those who do not follow the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.
- Enact the 20-week abortion ban and redirect funds from Planned Parenthood to non-abortion-providing health centers.
- Allow states their own jurisdiction over who received Medicaid and Title X funding. Some states opt to refuse such funding to abortion providers.
- Prohibit federal funding of research that involves aborted fetal tissue, and an increase in programs allowing for tissue from miscarried and stillborn babies. Also, better classify projects regarding their need for fetal tissue, establish further guidelines regarding human fetal tissue research, and looking into adult human tissue alternatives.
Chaney Mullins serves as Special Projects Writer for Concerned Women for America.
1) Planned Parenthood admitted this in a Center for Medical Progress videotape produced to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, as noted on page 305 of the full panel’s report.