October 4, 2022

Planned Parenthood to stop receiving payments for foetal tissue

The US reproductive health organisation Planned Parenthood has announced that it will no longer accept any form of reimbursement for supplying foetal tissue.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood   

The US reproductive health organisation Planned Parenthood has announced that it will no longer accept any form of reimbursement for supplying foetal tissue.

The announcement was made in an open letter on Tuesday sent by Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards to National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis S. Collins.

“Planned Parenthood’s policies on fetal tissue donation already exceed the legal requirements,” Ms. Richards wrote. “Now we’re going even further in order to take away any basis for attacking Planned Parenthood to advance an anti-abortion political agenda.”

Planned Parenthood has been subject to intense scrutiny in recent months, following the release of a series of videos by the Center for Medical Progress, a cover for undercover journalists. It was alleged that the videos showed Planned Parenthood had broken US law on the sale of foetal tissue. A series of congressional enquiries into the organization’s practices have since been announced.

Planned Parenthood claims the new measures are unnecessary but will pre-empt criticism by anti-abortion lobbyists.

This new policy “pulls the rug out from under these false attacks and shows beyond a shadow of a doubt what the attention and support of Planned Parenthood is for women who want to make these important donations to life-saving research,” said Planned Parenthood vice-president Dawn Laguens.

Professor Arthur Caplan, director of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Department of Population Health, said Planned Parenthood’s move was strategically wise.

“The fees are being used to promote the canard that Planned Parenthood is killing babies for profit. They are not,” Caplan wrote in an email to the Associated Press. “But deciding not to accept reimbursement for any processing or handling would effectively end the lying about what PP is and has been doing.”

The organization’s critics are far from convinced. David Deleiden of the Center for Medical Progress depicted Planned Parenthood’s shift as “an admission of guilt”.

“If the money Planned Parenthood has been receiving for baby body parts were truly legitimate ‘reimbursement,’ why cancel it?” he asked.

University of Notre Dame law professor O Carter Snead, a bioethicist, agreed. “Planned Parenthood’s decision is clearly an effort at damage control – to preserve its carefully cultivated (and ferociously defended) image as merely a women’s health care organization,” he said in an email to the Associated Press. “Nothing Planned Parenthood has done today will change its role as the world’s leading abortion provider.”

Planned Parenthood to stop receiving payments for foetal tissue
Xavier Symons
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