April 13, 2024

Planned Parenthood in media crisis

Revelations about its foetal tissue sales have opened it to attacks from politicians.

Much to its chagrin, Planned Parenthood is still in the headlines of American newspapers over allegations that it is profiting from the sale of foetal tissue.

The Center for Medical Progress, a organisation of pro-life undercover investigative journalists, has released new videos of discussions with PP executives. In one of the latest ones, a woman who used to collect foetal tissue from PP affiliates describes her distress when her supervisor instructed her to cut through the face of the fetus in order to get the brain. ““She gave me the scissors and told me that I had to cut down the middle of the face. I can’t even describe what that feels like,” she said.

The CMP’s videos have become a political flashpoint, with potential Republican candidates, both state and Federal, declaring that they will strip PP of its US$528 million in Federal funding. “I think future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave them a chance to live,” said Florida Senator Marco Rubio said at the first debate for Republican presidential hopefuls.

Planned Parenthood is marshalling its formidable lobbying powers to counterstrike. PP Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens told The Hill that the videos were filmed illegally. “I absolutely do believe that they have violated laws in terms of how they secured these videos,” she said. “But the fraud is also in how they have presented them and in the editing.”

An editorial in the respected New England Journal of Medicine strongly defended the embattled group, saying that it follows “all applicable laws and ethical guidelines”. “We thank the women who made the choice to help improve the human condition through their tissue donation; we applaud the people who make this work possible and those who use these materials to advance human health. We are outraged by those who debase these women, this work, and Planned Parenthood by distorting the facts for political ends.”

Another article by bioethicist R. Alta Charo began defiantly with the sentence: “We have a duty to use fetal tissue for research and therapy.” She goes on to argue that: “Any discussion of the ethics of fetal tissue research must begin with its unimpeachable claim to have saved the lives and health of millions of people.” 

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