PP cleared; Abbot, Merritt charged
A Texas grand jury clears Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast of wrongdoing in an investigation launched last year under Gov. Abbott. The grand jury instead indicted two anti-abortion activists involved with covert videos about fetal tissue procurement. The activists, Daleiden and Merritt, have been charged with tampering with a governmental record. Daleiden has also been charged with violating a prohibition on the sale of human organs.
Planned Parenthood formally endorses Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Presidential race. It is the organization’s first endorsement during a presidential primary.
Stops charging for fetal tissue program
Planned Parenthood announces it will stop accepting reimbursements for fetal tissue donations used for medical research. Richards says the move is to debunk GOP attacks:
In order to completely debunk the disingenuous argument that our opponents have been using – and to reveal the true political purpose of these attacks – our Federation has decided, going forward, that any Planned Parenthood health center that is involved in donating tissue after an abortion for medical research will follow the model already in place at one of our two affiliates currently facilitating donations for fetal tissue research…Going forward, all of our health centers will follow the same policy, even if it means they will not recover reimbursements permitted by the 1993 law…[This decision is meant] to take away any basis for attacking Planned Parenthood to advance an anti-abortion political agenda.
House Oversight Committee hearing
U.S. congressional Republicans challenge Planned Parenthood’s eligibility for federal funds, while Richards states that defunding it would restrict women’s access to care and disproportionately hurt low-income patients. Chairman Chaffetz:
As far as I can tell … this is an organization that doesn’t need federal subsidy
Richards also admits, in an exchange with Love that Planned Parenthood does not provide mammograms.
We do not have mammogram machines at our health centers. And we’ve never stated that we did. As I think has been — was mentioned earlier, for women who go for a breast exam, just as I got for my annual, you get a breast exam, and if you need a mammogram, you’re referred to a radiological clinic, and that’s what we do at Planned Parenthood.
Eighth video release
CMP releases a two-minute-long video comprising segments from previous videos as well as a new section featuring StemExpress CEO Dyer. As she pays the lunch check, Dyer appears to be laughing about how lab recipients of the aborted babies go into shock when they open a box to find an “intact case” (intact aborted body):
Oh, yeah, if you have intact cases, which we’ve done a lot, we sometimes ship those back to our lab in its entirety. Tell the lab it’s coming; they’ll open the box and go, ‘Oh, my God.
She says lab technicians “freak out, and have meltdowns” when receiving whole heads. She says that sometimes the samples are destroyed:
…Because it’s just, and the procurement for us, I mean it can go really sideways, depending on the facility, and then our samples are destroyed, and we’re like, ‘Really?’ This was all so much work, and then just to have them be destroyed is awful. I mean we have researchers wait forever, and they want certain things, you know, perfectly done, so we started bringing them back even to manage it from a procurement expert standpoint.
And that clinics have poor hygene:
I’ve seen staph come out of clinics. I’ve seen all sorts of things come out of clinics…
Fifth video released
The Center for Medical Progress releases a fifth video, reportedly filmed in April at a Planned Parenthood facility in Texas. The video shows a woman identified as Melissa Farrell, director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, discusses changing abortion procedures based on the requirements of the fetal tissue buyers.
And we’ve had studies in which the company, or in the case of the investigator, has a specific need for a certain portion of the products of conception and we bake that into our contract, and our protocol, that we follow this. So we deviate from our standard in order to do that. If we alter our process and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, then we can make it part of the budget, that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this. I mean, it’s all just a matter of line items.
The video also shows the “buyers” sifting through fetal tissue and pulling out lungs and intestines.
The footage released today doesn’t show Planned Parenthood staff engaged in any wrongdoing or agreeing to violate any legal or medical standards,” Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said in a six-paragraph statement. Instead, the latest tape shows an extremely offensive intrusion and lack of respect for women, with footage of medical tissue in a lab. These extremists show a total lack of compassion and dignity for women’s most personal medical decisions.
Court issues restraining order
The Los Angeles Superior Court issues a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Center for Medical Progress from releasing any video of three high-ranking StemExpress officials. Planned Parenthood provides StemExpress with fetal tissue. Center for Medical Progress leader:
StemExpress was using meritless litigation to cover up an illegal baby parts trade. The Center for Medical Progress follows all applicable laws in the course of our investigative journalism work.
A spokesman for StemExpress is:
grateful its rights have been vindicated in a court of law.
Companies deny ties, donations
Some corporations on a list of Planned Parenthood ‘sponsors’ claim they have not made donations to the organization. A page with a list of corporate sponsors on the Washington, DC chapter’s website is removed after demands by Coca-Cola, Xerox and Ford Motor Company. A Ford Motor Company spokeswoman denies that the corporation is a donor and claims that Ford has not matched employee contributions since 2005.
Third video released
The Center for Medical Progress releases third video. One Planned Parenthood official in the video discusses price per organ.
I think a per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.
A phlebotomist discusses compensation arrangements:
For whatever we could procure, (Planned Parenthood) would get a certain percentage. The main nurse was always trying to make sure we got our specimens. No one else really cared, but the main nurse did because she knew that Planned Parenthood was getting compensated.
Defund Planned Parenthood bill
As a result of the disclosures in videos about the donation fo fetal tissue from abortions, Senator Paul introduces legislation that Majority Leader McConnell aims to vote on that halts federal funding to Planned Parenthood. The organizations receives about $500 million annually in federal funding, although that money cannot be used for abortions. Spokesperson for McConnell:
The leader is working with his members to address this horrific issue and intends to have a vote before we leave for a five-week summer recess
California Investigates videomakers
California Attorney General Harris announces a review of two undercover videos made by the Center for Medical Progress to discredit Planned Parenthood. The investigation is made at the request of four Democratic Congressmen. Harris’ office regulates charitable organizations and will use its authority to determine whether any violations were made by the Center in its creation of the videos.
We will carefully review the allegations raised in your letter to determine whether there were any violations of California law.
Defends Planned Parenthood
Clinton defends Planned Parenthood, which has faced recent criticism for a video made by anti-abortion activists that alleges the group’s clinics are illegally selling tissue from aborted fetuses for profit, a charge the group denies. Clinton condemns the recent backlash as another effort to chip away at a woman’s right to a legal abortion. She calls the video footage, which shows an official from the group discussing the price of providing fetal parts, the latest effort of a years-long “concerted attack” against “a woman’s right to choose.”
Planned Parenthood has apologized for the insensitivity of the employee who was taped. And they will continue to answer questions for Congress and others.
Negotiates baby parts prices
A second video release by Center for Medical Progress shows Planned Parenthood senior medical advisor, Dr. Gatter, negotiating the sale of baby body parts with actors playing entrepreneurs from a biotech start-up. At one point Gatter says she’d like to Gatter:
What would you expect for intact tissue?
Well, you know in negotiations the person who throws out the figure first is at a loss, right? So…
I was going to say $50.
Later she says wants to be compensated with a Lamborghini.
Calls for Planned Parenthood investigation
Boehner seeks to investigate Planned Parenthood’s alleged sale of organs from aborted fetuses.
At my request our committees have begun looking at some of the gruesome practices embraced by Planned Parenthood. I am also demanding that the President denounce and stop these practices. If you’ve seen this video I don’t have to tell you how sickening it is. So rest assured we are going to get to the bottom of this…It’s disgusting.
Apologizes for ‘tone and statements’
Planned Parenthood releases a statement on the undercover video:
In health care, patients sometimes want to donate tissue to scientific research that can help lead to medical breakthroughs, such as treatments and cures for serious diseases. Women at Planned Parenthood who have abortions are no different. At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider does — with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards. There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood. In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field…A well funded group established for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood’s mission and services has promoted a heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research.
The organization also releases a video apology by Richards:
Our top priority is the compassionate care we provide. In the video one of our staff member speaks in a way that does not reflect that compassion. This is unacceptable and I personally apologize for the staff members tone and statements…We know the real agenda of organizations behind video like that, and they have never been concerned of protecting the health and safety of women. Their mission is to ban abortion completely…and we will never let that happen.
Texas $1.4 million fraud settlement
The organization agrees to settle a billing fraud claim made against it by the State of Texas.
Investigators determined that Planned Parenthood falsified material information in patients’ medical records in order to support fraudulent reimbursement claims.
However, Planned Parenthood’s spokesperson denies the fraud allegations and says the organization agreed to settle for practical reasons.
Continuing this litigation in the hostile environment for women’s health would have ensured a lengthy and costly process that would have distracted our energies and required us to share the private medical information of thousands of women.