In a letter that asserts “patently false claims” are being waged against her abortion business to promote an “extreme political agenda,” Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards says that her organization will stop accepting payments for the organs of unborn babies.
Under investigation by several congressional committees following the release of videos exposing her organization’s apparent practice of selling the body parts of aborted babies, Richards wrote to Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
Over the last two months, opponents of safe and legal abortion have turned patently false claims about our role in fetal tissue donation into fodder to advance their extreme political agenda – including votes in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate that would have blocked Planned Parenthood from receiving federal reimbursements for providing cancer screenings and other preventive care. I am pleased to report that those efforts, which would have jeopardized millions of people’s access to health care, have failed thus far. But this isn’t just about Planned Parenthood, and it isn’t over. These false claims are being used to advance politically motivated legislation in Congress and in state legislatures across the country to deny women access to basic health care and to impose medically unnecessary restrictions on safe and legal abortion. The American public overwhelmingly opposes this political agenda…
As I have stated repeatedly, the accusations leveled against Planned Parenthood are categorically false. Planned Parenthood adheres to the highest legal, medical, and ethical standards. The outrageous claims that have been made against Planned Parenthood, which have been widely discredited and debunked, are the worst kind of political interference in women’s health. The real goal of these extremists has nothing to do with our fetal tissue donation compliance process but is instead to ban abortion in the U.S. and block women from getting any health care from Planned Parenthood. Today, we’re taking their smokescreen away and pushing forward with our important work on behalf of millions of women, men, and young people…
I want to be completely clear about two things: First, Planned Parenthood’s policies on fetal tissue donation already exceed the legal requirements. Now we’re going even further in order to take away any basis for attacking Planned Parenthood to advance an anti-abortion political agenda. And, second, our decision not to take any reimbursement for expenses should not be interpreted as a suggestion that anyone else should not take reimbursement or that the law in this area isn’t strong. Our decision is first and foremost about preserving the ability of our patients to donate tissue, and to expose our opponents’ false charges about this limited but important work.
National pro-life leaders, however, say Richards’ letter changes nothing.
President of Students for Life of America Kristan Hawkins tells Breitbart News: “Just because Planned Parenthood is supposedly stopping the exchange of money for the body parts of babies they abort, it does not lessen the criminal charges they are possibly facing.”
“The Center for Medical Progress videos clearly show top-level Planned Parenthood executives discussing taking money – more than what a reimbursement would allow and essentially double-dipping on abortion procedures – in exchange for baby parts,” Hawkins continues. “Planned Parenthood is essentially admitting guilt to accepting money for baby livers, eyes, brains, and other organs, which fetch a nice price and have bolstered the bottom line for affiliates who engage in the practice.”
Hawkins observes that Abby Johnson, a former Texas Planned Parenthood director testified that the Houston abortion facility took in over $120,000 a month in the sale of baby parts.
“This is criminal behavior and needs to be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she adds.
Rep. Diane Black, author of the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, said in a statement sent to Breitbart News, “It is curious that, while Planned Parenthood officials maintain there has been no wrongdoing, they still find it necessary to change their policy following the recent undercover videos.”
Clearly, this was a decision motivated by optics rather than the organization’s conscience. If Planned Parenthood truly wanted to confront its growing scandal, it would stop aborting more than 327,000 innocent lives each year and fully commit to true women’s health care. In light of this news, I suppose Doctor Mary Gatter will have to find another way to get her Lamborghini, but rest assured – this development does not change my conviction that Planned Parenthood should not be subsidized by American taxpayers.
“Cecile Richards’ letter is right about one thing: the fight against Planned Parenthood is not just about its use of fetal tissue,” Black added. “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.”
Richards is slated to give a talk titled “Leading Under Pressure” Tuesday afternoon in Chicago as part of “Chicago Ideas Week.”