Cecile Richards Claims Planned Parenthood Only Covered Its Costs, Dr. Gatter Says PP Didn’t ‘Do Anything’

Cecile Richards

In an appearance on ABC News‘ This Week with George Stephanopoulos Sunday, Planned Parenthood’s President, Cecile Richards, claimed her organization never profited from the sale of fetal organs. Instead, she claimed PP only charged to cover its own costs.

That explanation is directly at odds with statements made in undercover video by a doctor who works for Planned Parenthood.

George Stephanopoulos pressed Richards hard on the issue of charging for fetal organs, noting that it is a violation of federal law to do so. Richards interrupted the question saying, “It’s not a fee. It’s not a fee. It’s actually just the cost of transmitting this material to research institute.”

Richard’s denial matches with statements Planned Parenthood has made earlier. Eric Ferrero, PP’s Vice President of Communications, posted a statement on the group’s website which read, “There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood.  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.” Both statements seem designed to indicate Planned Parenthood stayed within the law which allows them to charge for costs associated with tissue donation but not to profit from it.

However, in the second undercover video released by the Center for Medical Progress, Dr. Mary Gatter described the actual process of tissue collection at Planned Parenthood’s high volume clinic in Los Angeles, where she worked before moving to their Pasadena clinic. PPLA had a for-profit corporate partner called Novogenix which wanted fetal organs. According to Dr. Gatter, Novogenix would send its own staff to PPLA to collect and retrieve the tissue it needed. Dr. Gatter actually describes the logistics of the process twice in the video. The second time she explains, “So it was logistically very easy for us, we didn’t have to do anything.” [Emphasis in original]

Cecile Richards was adamant her organization made zero profit from the donation of these harvested organs. And VP Ferrero’s statement indicates they only charge to cover “actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue.” However, Dr. Gatter’s description makes it clear — at least, at facilities in her Los Angeles location — Planned Parenthood did not incur any such costs. All of the work of collection and transport was performed by outside staff. And yet, Dr. Gatter also makes clear PPLA was charging Novogenix a per specimen fee. The question remains: If the fee wasn’t to cover costs, since there were none, what was it for?

Dr. Gatter’s description is not the only reason to think PP was making a profit from selling fetal organs. In an earlier video released by CMP, Dr. Nucatola offered this contradictory explanation, “They just want to break even. And if they can do a little better than break even, and do so in a way that seems reasonable, they’re happy to do that.” In the same video, Dr. Nucatola says the cost for fetal organs can be anywhere from $30 to $100 per specimen. If some or any of that is profit, then Planned Parenthood has violated the law.

The following clip contrasts the claims made on ABC News’ This Week by Cecile Richards with the description of the actual process as described by Dr. Gatter: