The Physics Police

The Physics Police

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Planned Parenthood doesn't sell fetal tissue

First, a warning. This is not a typical lighthearted post exposing innumeracy in the media. This is the debunking of a shock-video about abortions.

A group of citizen journalists who call themselves "The Center for Medical Progress" have put out a video in which they claim Planned Parenthood uses partial-birth abortions to sell baby parts.

The video shows undercover footage of Deborah Nucatola, the Senior Director of Medical Services for Planned Parenthood, discussing how fetal tissue is procured and donated for research. There's nothing unethical or illegal about that.

Mothers give informed consent for this use just as some people donate their bodies to science in the event of death. Some people put organ donor stickers on their driver's license. Some people visit the blood bank regularly.

The video uses out-of-context editing to imply Planned Parenthood is making money from donated fetal tissue. In the full video Deborah Nucatola explains how Planned Parenthood receive compensation for the extra cost of handling and shipping samples. She later explains how this compensation allows them to give patients the option without impacting the bottom line.

The video attempts to confuse illegal "partial-birth abortions" with breech (feet-first) abortion which are in no way illegal. She clearly says the calvarium (head) is evacuated (removed) intact, which is not the case for partial-birth abortions. In the full video she explains how fetal demise is chemically induced before delivery.

The video claims the sale or purchase of human fetal tissue is a federal felony citing 42 U.S.C. 289g-2 which only applies to fetal tissue used "for the purpose of transplantation".

The video claims buying or selling human body parts is a federal felony citing 42 U.S. Code § 274e which also applies only to human organs used "for use in human transplantation".

This blatant misinterpretation of the law shows gross negligence on the part of the filmmakers and suggests intentional deception.

Planned Parenthood respects mothers who make the difficult decision to abort a pregnancy. Once the decision is made, one can only hope some good may come of it. If not for oneself, then for others. For some, knowing that the cell lines derived from their aborted fetal tissue may help cure disease, even if this possibility is remote, provides a small but desperate comfort. They should not be denied this comfort.

Abortions are horrible. This thinly-veiled pro-life slander of Planned Parenthood is even more so for its callous disregard for the suffering of would-be mothers.

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