Two top officials of the Planned Parenthood Federation in the United States are currently in hot waters over two leaked video footages that show them discussing providing aborted foetal organs for research, and legislators are working up investigations into the issue to determine if Planned Parenthood had violated federal laws on abortion and foetus sales.
Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood , and Dr. Mary Gatter, a medical director at Planned Parenthood were seen in the two videos discussing with buyers how they follow abortion procedures before harvesting foetal organs and how much such tissues are sold for.
For instance, both Nucatola and Gatter are seen in the videos discussing the prices at which they provide aborted foetal tissue for research. Nucatola said it costs between $30 to $100 per procedure, and Gatter said separately it is about $75 and could be as much as $100; both directors however pointed out the prices are to cover abortion procedure costs and not to make profit.
Gatter said the medical team adopts a “less crunchy” technique to harvest foetuses so that the organs and other tissues can be removed intact for use. She mentioned she could ask a surgeon with Planned Parenthood to exercise extra care in this regard. “They’re both totally appropriate techniques, there’s no difference in pain involved,” she said.
Both videos were secretly taken between 2014-2015 by people posing as buyers of foetal tissues.
But Republicans and other anti-abortion groups are not taking this lying down, and the videos and what they mean for the wider public are pitching them against Democrats. They accuse Planned Parenthood of harvesting and selling organs illegally; but the international agency responded it has not done anything wrong and that the videos were edited by opponents for mischievous reasons.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said he saw no indications of wrongdoing in the videos, but that investigators would look into it to determine if Planned Parenthood had broken federal laws. Representative Gerald Connolly disclosed Democrats would not “defend the indefensible” under this case, and that they would not abandon supporting women’s reproductive rights on account of the videos.
And Planned Parenthood’s president Cecile Richards said he was sorry over the grisly terms that both Nucatola and Gatter used in discussing abortions, and said he regrets the “tone and statements” of the directors.
Three congressional committees, including the House Energy and Commerce Committee are setting up a hearing into the matter – and they have mandated Nucatola to appear before the committees. The committee chairman, Rep. Fred Upton, said she must appear to testify, and that she would be subpoenaed if necessary, in what might eventually lead to a hearing. Planned Parenthood assures she is going to appear.
California’s attorney general, a Democrat who intends to run for Senate in 2016, plans to investigate if the people that produced the videos violated reporting or registration procedures, or if they broke any state rules in producing and releasing the videos to the public.