Society and Culture

Planned Parenthood Video: The Controversy Continues

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Planned Parenthood is an organization with a mission to promote a healthy sexual lifestyle and family planning. But recent news of a few controversial videos surfacing may be changing some people’s opinions toward the organization. In the more widely viewed video, Center for Medical Progress–an advocacy group that claims to report on medical ethics–had two undercover actors pose as representatives of a human biologics company and went to lunch with Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services. Nucatola was secretly recorded and what she said during the video has led to serious arguments about both the video’s validity and Planned Parenthood’s actions.

The Center for Medical Progress released the video early last week and called it the first in its “Human Capital” series, “a nearly 3-year-long investigative journalism study of Planned Parenthood’s illegal trafficking of aborted fetal parts.” There were two versions of the video posted on YouTube, an eight-minute version and a “full” version that is close to three hours. The Center for Medical Progress says the video was shot on July 25, 2014 in a California restaurant. David Daleiden, who led the undercover project, said, “Planned Parenthood’s criminal conspiracy to make money off of aborted baby parts reaches to the very highest levels of their organization” in a written statement.

Throughout the video Dr. Nucatola makes shocking statements such as,

We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.

In another part of the video she states, “Every provider has had patients who want to donate their tissue, and they absolutely want to accommodate them. They just want to do it in a way that is not perceived as ‘This clinic is selling tissue. This clinic is making money off of this.'” She did not specifically say the price for the purchase of tissue, but many have questioned if the organization was trying to make a profit.

The Center for Medical Progress also posted an advertisement from a big purchaser of aborted fetal tissue that was posted in Planned Parenthood clinics. The advertisement features words such as “financial profitable,” “financial profits,” “financial benefit to your clinic,” and “fiscal growth of your own clinic.”

Planned Parenthood issued a response statement denying having done anything wrong and accused the Center for Medical Progress of releasing a video that was heavily edited in order to twist its meaning. It also denied that any money was made from selling aborted baby parts. “There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood,” Spokesman Eric Ferrero said. “In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field.”

The video has been met with many horrified reactions–including from the government. The sale or purchase of human body parts, including fetal tissue, is a federal felony that can land someone in prison for ten years. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has called on the state’s Department of Health and Hospitals to conduct an investigation of this incident which he refers to as an “alleged evil and illegal activity.”

There are two sides to every story and Planned Parenthood has stated that Nucatola was not talking about the illegal sale of fetal body parts but instead the legal donation of organs to biomedical research laboratories that use the body parts to save lives. There have also been allegations that the video has ties to James O’Keefe, a well-known video fraudster. According to a statement made by Planned Parenthood today, there are new videos surfacing that the organization once again claims are very heavily edited. However, Planned Parenthood’s reputation is still certainly reeling, and it remains to be seen how it will deal with the continued controversy.

Taelor Bentley
Taelor is a member of the Hampton University Class of 2017 and was a Law Street Media Fellow for the Summer of 2015. Contact Taelor at



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