National pro-life leaders were quick to respond with distrust to Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards’s statement Tuesday that her abortion business would no longer accept payments for the body parts of aborted babies.
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life and author of Abolishing Abortion cautioned against relying on promises from Planned Parenthood.
“You can’t practice vice virtuously,” he said in a statement sent to Breitbart News.
“One thing we have learned over the last four decades about the abortion industry is that – as an industry – it neither desires nor is capable of reform,” Pavone continued. “Today’s announcement by Planned Parenthood is meaningless and does not settle any controversy. Nor does it answer any of the questions that the ongoing investigations into Planned Parenthood’s actions have raised.”
In a letter to the National Institutes of Health, Richards defiantly said “patently false claims” were being waged against Planned Parenthood, and she referred to the undercover investigative videos of pro-life group Center for Medical Progress as “fodder to advance their extreme political agenda.”
“Given the atrocities Planned Parenthood commits against children, it cannot be trusted to suddenly begin mending its ways,” Pavone said. “We do not rely on their words; we rely on the evidence that the investigations will continue to uncover – and so should the American people.”
Eric Scheidler, executive director of Pro-Life Action League, has organized a series of protests against Planned Parenthood across the nation under the name #ProtestPP. On Saturday, Scheidler’s organization arranged protests in all 50 states, with a projected 20,000 total number of activists participating.
Scheidler also held a protest in Chicago just hours after Richards’s announcement that Planned Parenthood would no longer accept payment for fetal tissue. Richards was a speaker at a Chicago Ideas Week event titled, “Leading Under Pressure.”
“The story is definitely getting out there,” Scheidler said, assessing the work of the pro-life movement. “We have more to do in disseminating the videos and educating the public about Planned Parenthood, but the story is having an impact on public response and awareness of what it means just to protest Cecile Richards’s talk today.”
Asked about Richards’s announcement that her abortion business will no longer receive cash for fetal tissue, Scheidler replies:
She doesn’t get it. The big horror here isn’t that they were making some money on this deal. It’s that they were killing innocent, tiny, precious human beings, then slicing them up and selling the parts, or distributing the parts, or giving away the parts. It’s not the exchange of cash from hand to hand; it’s the wanton, callous destruction of human life. When you’re innocent, when your conscience is clear, and when you have nothing to fear from the law, you keep to what you’re doing. Cecile Richards came to Chicago today to talk about leadership – that’s not what a leader does. A leader doesn’t bail out. This doesn’t sound like the behavior of someone who has nothing to fear from the law or from public opinion.
Scheidler said that Planned Parenthood deserves to be investigated regardless of Richards’s announcement.
“They stand accused of violating the federal ban on partial birth abortion, the medical ethics around changing the abortion procedure solely in order to profit from it, and violating the federal law that bans profiting from the sale of fetal tissue,” he said. “Those are serious offenses and Planned Parenthood is still in hot water.”
“But, we have serious reasons to doubt that Planned Parenthood is going to do what they say they’re going to do,” he warned. “We know that they’re liars. They’ve defrauded state governments over Medicaid reimbursements, we know they’ve skirted parental notification laws with minors. Planned Parenthood is dishonest, and we can’t trust Cecile Richards, no matter what she has said today.”
Similarly, Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser says Planned Parenthood’s announcement deserves no trust.
“Today’s announcement is a smokescreen by Planned Parenthood to veil the most important issues under public discussion,” Dannenfelser said in a statement sent to Breitbart News. “They destroy growing children in the womb, strategically crush their tiny bodies to extract livers, eyes, hearts, and brains, alter abortion procedures to increase their organ harvest, and even allow infants to be born alive, while frequently misleading women regarding the benefit of fetal tissue donation.”
“Those horrors are unchanged and the congressional and state investigations into Planned Parenthood’s gruesome practices should not stop,” she added. “We are encouraged by the commitments from the House and Senate leaders to use reconciliation to stop taxpayer funding of this abortion business. Those funds would be put to better use at comprehensive health care clinics that provide true women’s health care and do not provide abortion on-demand.”
David Daleiden, director of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP)—the group that produced the shocking videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s activities—referred to the abortion business’s statement as a “PR stunt.”
“For three months, Planned Parenthood has tried to pass off its baby-parts-for-money scheme as totally legitimate,” he said. “Today, Planned Parenthood’s latest PR stunt of so-called ‘policy’ change is an admission of guilt.”
If the money Planned Parenthood has been receiving for baby body parts were truly legitimate “reimbursement,” why cancel it? This proves what CMP has been saying all along—Planned Parenthood incurs no actual costs, and the payments for harvested fetal parts have always been an extra profit margin.
Without releasing the text of the alleged new “policy” and the exact model from their Washington affiliate, Planned Parenthood’s stunt today tells us nothing. This only raises more serious questions about what Planned Parenthood leadership has been allowing its clinics to do with money and baby parts, and intensifies the need for Congress to pursue full auditing and oversight of Planned Parenthood’s unaccountable criminal enterprise of baby parts trafficking.
“Planned Parenthood has been caught with their bloody hands in the cash register,” Operation Rescue president and CMP board member Troy Newman responded to Richards’s announcement. “They are now trying to back-track their criminal conduct while attacking the investigators.”
“The CMP videos exposed the fact that every cent Planned Parenthood received in so-called ‘reimbursement’ was in fact profit,” Newman continued. “It is now abundantly clear that Planned Parenthood has been violating federal law that prohibits the profiting from fetal cadavers. Now more than ever, we must press for full scale prosecutions, and jail for all the abortionists involved.”