WASHINGTON — An anti-abortion group says a second undercover video proves that Planned Parenthood is selling the body parts of aborted fetuses, a practice that is illegal and that the group denies doing.
The Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, released both edited and unedited videos last week of a Planned Parenthood executive discussing money related to aborted fetus organs and tissues.
A second edited video surfaced Tuesday featuring Mary Gatter, president of the group’s medical director council, discussing money with an actor posing as a representative from a biotech company. The group later posted what they said was an unedited version to YouTube.
“Let me just figure out what others are getting,” Gatter said, “and if this is in the ballpark, then it’s fine, if it’s still low, then we can bump it up. I want a Lamborghini.”
Gatter tells the actor that she would have a discussion with the surgeon about performing the abortion in a way that best preserves the organs and other body parts.
Planned Parenthood said Tuesday they could not confirm the authenticity of the second video, said Eric Ferrero, Planned Parenthood vice president of Communications.
“Nobody can tell exactly what was discussed because of the extremely heavy editing, the agenda of the activists who produced it, and the fact that the original footage has not been made available,” the statement said. “What we see on this tape is a woman who says “we’re not in it for the money,” and that any money must be related to reimbursement for costs.”
New York University bioethicist Art Caplan previously told CNN altering the abortion procedure in a way to preserve body parts is against medical ethics.
“In abortion the primary goal is to give the safest abortion possible,” he said. “Your sole concern has to be the mother and her health.”
In a previous statement after the first video’s release, Planned Parenthood denied that they sell organs. Officials said money was discussed in relation to transportation costs for donating organs.
“I want to be really clear: The allegation that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation is not true. Our donation programs — like any other high-quality health care providers — follow all laws and ethical guidelines,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.
Last week, Richards apologized for the previous medical official’s tone in the video.
“Our top priority is the compassionate care that we provide. In the video, one of our staff members speaks in a way that does not reflect that compassion. This is unacceptable, and I personally apologize for the staff member’s tone and statements,” she said in a video. “As always, if there is any aspect of our work that can be strengthened, we want to know about it, and we take swift action to address it.”
Since the first video’s release, conservative elected officials have slammed its contents and called for congressional hearings on the incident, including House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Several governors are conducting investigations into Planned Parenthood in their own states after seeing the video. And various Republican presidential candidates have spoken out against Planned Parenthood, with some promising to defund the organization if elected.
“GOP leaders, including most of the ’16 field, are tripping over themselves to attack PP because they think that’s how to win elections,” Richards tweeted last week.
Richards said decreasing the group’s government funding would keep millions from breast exams, sexually transmitted infection exams and sex education.
Following calls to defund Planned Parenthood, CREDO, a social change organization affiliated with CREDO Mobile that funds progressive causes, launched a campaign to defend the group.
“Democrats have to push back now. They need to go on the record in support of Planned Parenthood’s work and speak out to discredit these orchestrated attacks. And they must block any attempts to undermine or defund Planned Parenthood in Congress,” said Heidi Hess, Campaign Manager for CREDO, Planned Parenthood’s largest corporate sponsor.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Read told CNN on Tuesday that fetal tissue research has been critically important for biomedical research.
“These politically motivated videos raise some questions but nothing I’ve seen indicates Planned Parenthood violated federal laws. These edited videos should not take away from the important work Planned Parenthood does on behalf of women,” he said. “All organizations need to abide by the law and if they don’t then it should be looked into right now.”