Undercover Video of Planned Parenthood Create Controversy Over Fetal Tissues

By: Jason Tran

An anti-abortion group, The Center for Medical Progress, released an undercover video documenting how Planned Parenthood preserves aborted fetuses’ organs and tissues, Tuesday, July 14.

In the released video, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services, eats lunch with two undercover activists who pose as potential buyers from a human biological company. The controversy, raised from the video, is if Planned Parenthood is profiting from preserving certain aborted fetus organs. When asked about the price, Dr. Nucatola estimates that she receives around $30-$100 per specimen. From the video, Planned Parenthood looks like they are selling organs and issues, rather than donating. Planned Parenthood later responded to the negative accusation, saying that they do not financially benefit from donating organs, and the money received is a reimbursement of the transportation costs.

Activist claim that Planned Parenthood violates medical ethics by prioritizing the preservation of organs over the patient’s safety. The ulterior motive raises the question of conflict of interests. In the video, Dr. Nucatola explains how they alter procedures because there is a different endgame when preserving certain organs; “So then you’re just kind of cognizant of where you put your graspers, you try to intentionally go above and below the thorax.” The nonchalant emotion of Dr. Nucatola while talking about a serious issue tick anti-abortion activists in a negative way. In response to the accusation, Eric Ferrero, Vice-President of Communications at Planned Parenthood, stated, “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.”

House Republican strongly oppose of Planned Parenthood’s practices regarding the undercover video. Jeb Bush, Senator Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Rick Perry, and Governor Scott Walker–Republican presidential candidate–publicly denounced Planned Parenthood, using this opportunity to address abortion issues. Governor Walker cut Planned Parenthood’s funding in Wisconsin stating that it is “particularly important these days in the light of what we’ve seen on video.”

Planned Parenthood recently sent a letter to Congress saying that the undercover recorded video is an act of illegal harassment towards women and doctors for numerous years. They claimed that the activist group used heavy editing to strengthen the anti-abortion movement and cut Planned Parenthood’s health care for women.