Planned Parenthood’s new fetal tissue policy a ‘stunt,’ an ‘admission of guilt’: Pro-life groups react
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life leaders have responded to Planned Parenthood's announcement today that its affiliates will no longer receive money for procuring the body parts of aborted babies for scientific experiments, calling it little more than a last-ditch effort to avoid prosecution and retain massive funding from U.S. taxpayers.
"For three months, Planned Parenthood has tried to pass off its baby-parts-for-money scheme as totally legitimate," said the man most responsible for exposing that practice, David Daleiden, the lead investigator at the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). "Today, Planned Parenthood’s latest PR stunt of so-called 'policy' change is an admission of guilt."
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has been dogged by a series of undercover videos showing her organization's high-ranking officials detailing a potentially felonious side industry of trafficking in fetal organs.
"Cecile Richards just doesn't get it," Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, told LifeSiteNews. "What has horrified people - and prompted nationwide protests - isn't that Planned Parenthood might profit from the sale of fetal tissue, but that they are harvesting body parts from human beings they've killed - and joking about it."
Schiedler, who helped organize two national days of protest based on the videos' revelations, said he believes "Planned Parenthood is clearly worried they may lose their massive taxpayer subsidy -- nothing else would prompt them to give up the profits from selling aborted baby body parts."
Legal experts say that Richards' letter, addressed to the National Institutes of Health and copied to HHS "Secretary Sylvia Matthews [sic] Burwell," skirts the issue that its longstanding policies may have broken numerous federal laws. For decades, it has been against the law to make a profit from the "donation" of human organs. The law allows organizations only to be reimbursed for the actual expenses of storing and transferring the tissue.
“Ms. Richards never once explains how Planned Parenthood calculated the costs of procuring fetal remains in order to sell them, because she can’t,” said Kellie Fiedorek, a litigation counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). “The price-per-specimen approach she admitted to in her August letter to Congress is a profit-driven system, pure and simple. The American people have a right to get to the bottom of Planned Parenthood’s disturbing activities and to demand that not one more penny of their tax dollars goes to fund them.”
After the announced "policy change," Congressman Diane Black, R-TN, said, "Doctor Mary Gatter will have to find another way to get her Lamborghini." Dr. Gatter, the president of Planned Parenthood's for-profit Medical Directors’ Council, was caught on the second CMP video haggling over the price of aborted babies' organs. When asked how much money she hoped to receive, she joked, "I want a Lomborghini."
Fiedorek says the "policy change" - which Daleiden has said is too vague to assess - only deals with one of several felonies of which the abortion provider stands accused. “Today’s announcement does nothing to address whether Planned Parenthood continues to alter abortions to obtain intact body parts, nor does it address Planned Parenthood’s widespread fraudulent billing practices, documented failures to report the sexual abuse of girls who undergo abortions, and the sexualizing of children,” she said.
No change in future policy can undo past crimes, others pointed out.
"Planned Parenthood says it's going to stop breaking federal law, and it wants us to applaud it for that instead of investigate it," said Lila Rose of Live Action, where Daleiden got his start as an investigator.
The policy change also ignores Planned Parenthood's other ongoing, brutal practices. "Planned Parenthood’s announcement doesn’t change the fact that it will continue the barbaric practice of dismembering and harvesting the body parts of children it aborts, that its abortionists will continue putting mothers at risk by illegally altering the abortion procedure to obtain more intact organs, and that it will continue these practices while being subsidized by the taxpayers with half a billion dollars each year," Rose said.
Pro-life advocates, from the national to the local level, demand that investigations continue and, if warranted, prosecutions follow.
"State and federal authorities must continue to investigate Planned Parenthood for crimes committed in the course of their fetal tissue selling scheme," Scheidler told LifeSiteNews.
Paula Westwood, the executive director of the Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, agreed that "full investigation must continue into all Planned Parenthood affiliates and other abortion facilities, which may have engaged in this criminal activity and potentially lied about not doing so."
Congressional Republicans show no signs of backing off multiple national inquests on the issues raised by CMP, regardless of today's announcement.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, whose House Judiciary Committee is investigating allegations that Planned Parenthood procures human organs with the illegal partial birth abortion procedure, said his committee's efforts will continue.
"This announcement by Planned Parenthood does not change the focus of the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practice of procuring fetal tissue as it relates to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act and the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act," he said. "Furthermore, Planned Parenthood’s recent announcement certainly does not excuse the horrific practices brought to light in the videos released by the Center for Medical Progress.”
And, government shutdown or not, efforts will continue to deprive the nation's leading abortion provider of all public revenues.
"Rest assured, this development does not change my conviction that Planned Parenthood should not be subsidized by American taxpayers.” said Congresswoman Black, “Cecile Richards’ letter is right about one thing: the fight against Planned Parenthood is not just about its use of fetal tissue. It is about how we treat a human life and how we ensure that the conscience rights of American taxpayers are respected. This is a fight we must continue.”