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Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Youtube
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Video: Cecile Richards apologizes for ‘tone’ but insists organ harvesting is ‘compassionate’

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WASHINGTON, D.C., July 16, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has responded to allegations that her abortion empire illegally harvests and sells fetal organs in a video released today.

Two days after an explosive video shows Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood's director of medical services, blithely discussing the prices of fetal body parts over lunch, her employer has hired a PR firm and released nearly a dozen pages of talking points to the media.

Now, Richards takes to the camera to address one of the charges of wrongdoing.

In the message, which lasts a little over two minutes, she called the Center for Medical Progress “an organization that opposes safe-and-legal abortion” and that has made “outrageous claims.”

“I want to be really clear,” she says. “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.”

Federal law prevents offices from earning a profit off of such sales, branding it as a felony punishable by years of jail time and a $500,000 fine.

She takes pains to distance herself from Dr. Nucatola, whose tone she brands “unacceptable.”

“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 says. "As always, if there's ever any aspect of our work that can be strengthened, we want to know about it, and take swift action to address it.”

The video caught Richards at a Planned Parenthood gala in March calling Dr. Nucatola “amazing.”

Richards concludes by claiming the video is merely a grand scheme to attack an innocent health care provider.

“We know the real agenda of organizations behind videos like this, and they have never been concerned with protecting the health and safety of women. Their mission is to ban abortion completely and cut women off from care at Planned Parenthood and other health centers.”

“We will never let that happen,” she vows.

Her statement, and all Planned Parenthood statements to date, ignore a second allegation of illegal activity: That Dr. Nucatola appears to describe using the partial birth abortion method to avoid crushing the unborn child's head.

Partial birth abortion has been a federal felony since 2003.

The response comes as the House of Representatives and multiple states have launched investigations into the nation's largest abortion provider.

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Richards' statement reads in full:

Hello. I’m Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Planned Parenthood provides a full range of health care services to millions of women, men, and young people every year, including cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and abortion. And we provide much more than health services – we support millions of people as they build their futures and pursue their goals.

Recently, an organization that opposes safe and legal abortion used secretly recorded, heavily edited videos to make outrageous claims about programs that help women donate fetal tissue for medical research.

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. Over our 100-year history, we have continually engaged leading medical experts to shape our practices, policies, and high standards – and always will.

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.

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.

Planned Parenthood stands behind our work to help women and families donate tissue for medical research when they wish to. It is always their decision.  

I thank those women and families who have chosen tissue donation at some point in their lives.  Your commitment to life-saving research, developing treatments for diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, is important and compassionate, and it should be respected – not attacked.

We know the real agenda of organizations behind videos like this, and they have never been concerned with protecting the health and safety of women. Their mission is to ban abortion completely and cut women off from care at Planned Parenthood and other health centers.

We will never let that happen.

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