Democratic presidential contenders will not say whether they support congressional investigations of Planned Parenthood in the wake of a new video showing a former fetal procurement technician saying that abortion clinics benefit from organ sales.
The non-profit Center for Medical Progress released the first of a multi-part documentary series on YouTube featuring Holly O’Donnell, a 24-year-old former procurement technician at the fetal tissue company StemExpress.
"I thought I was going to be just drawing blood, not procuring tissue from aborted fetuses," O’Donnell says. "They partner with Planned Parenthood and they get part of the money because we pay them to use part of the facilities, and they get paid from it. They do get some kind of financial benefit."
The video purports to show a pay sheet from Advance Bioscience Resources available showing the prices of aborted fetuses. A first trimester baby costs $550, while second trimesters go for $340.
"It’s basically human trafficking of fetal tissues," O’Donnell says.
O’Donnell’s testimony was featured amid footage shot from inside a clinic as Planned Parenthood doctors pick apart an aborted baby to harvest its organs and discuss financial arrangements. Dr. Savita Ginde, vice president and medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, tells the undercover journalists that she prefers selling the "specimens" piece by piece, rather than as a whole body, in order to maximize profits.
"I think a per item thing works a little better just because we can see how much we can get out of it," Ginde says.
The video also captures Dr. Katharine Shaheen, medical director of Planned Parenthood Southwest, describing the abortionist’s relationship with Advance Bioscience Resources to undercover videographers.
"They’re doing the big collection for government level collections," she says.
Vicki Cowart, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, was one of three Planned Parenthood officials to max out her donation to Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign. Clinton received the most Planned Parenthood cash of any candidate. She netted roughly $10,000 in donations from individuals working for the abortion provider in the first quarter—nearly equal to her career contributions from the billion-dollar operation and about 20 times more money than the rest of the field combined, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis.
A campaign spokesman did not respond to Free Beacon request for comment regarding the latest video or whether the former secretary of state supported three congressional investigations of Planned Parenthood to determine whether or not the group violated federal law prohibiting profit-making and changes to the abortion process for the purpose of organ harvesting.
Clinton, a recipient of the 2009 Margaret Sanger Award, has defended Planned Parenthood in recent weeks, while refusing to take a position on fetal organ harvesting. She expressed hope that the revelation that abortion clinics receive cash for body parts would "not further undermine" the organization.
"I think it is unfortunate that Planned Parenthood has been the object of such a concerted attack for so many years. And it's really an attack against a woman's right to chose," she said in South Carolina. "I’m hoping this situation will not further undermine the very important services that Planned Parenthood provides across our country."
The Free Beacon reached out to the campaigns of Clinton’s four rivals for the Democratic nomination: Clinton, the insurgent socialist Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, the former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, the former Virginia senator Jim Webb, and the former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee. None responded.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider, performing around 300,000 abortions per year. It has received nearly $200 million taxpayer dollars since 2012 including $27 million in grants alone in 2015, according to a Free Beacon analysis.
Congressional Republicans are now considering legislation to cut off taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood until the investigations are complete. The legislation is sponsored by former nurse Rep. Diane Black (R., Tenn.).
"We’ve seen multiple videos showing its employees brazenly discussing the harvesting of aborted babies’ tissue and organs. But the truth is, Planned Parenthood’s culture of depravity runs much deeper than a couple of videos," Black said on the House floor after introducing the Defund Planned Parenthood Act. "The one-sided relationship between Planned Parenthood’s ever-growing bank account and American taxpayers must be severed."
Planned Parenthood has spent major money supporting Democrats in national elections, including nearly $18 million in outside spending in 2014 and 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Since 1990, almost all of its nearly $6 million in direct contributions have gone to Democrats.
Chafee’s 90 percent pro-abortion rating from NARAL is the only non-perfect score in the field. O’Malley has also been honored by the organization, winning Planned Parenthood Maryland’s Betty Tyler award in 2014.
Sanders’ presidential campaign received $500 from two Planned Parenthood employees in the first quarter. He has received $5,500 from Planned Parenthood between 2012, a steep increase from the $1,500 he received between 2004 and 2006, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. While he has refused to condemn the practice of organ harvesting, Sanders has criticized the "tone of the video," parroting the public apology from Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards.
"Obviously, I think Cecile Richards apologized for the tone of that video," Sanders said, responding to a question from CNN. "I think her apology was exactly right. I think that the staffer, the tone was terribly wrong."
Chafee received more than $18,000 in 2000 and 2006 when he served in the U.S. Senate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Webb received no money from Planned Parenthood in his 2006 Senate run, though he still enjoys a perfect pro-abortion rating from NARAL.
Neither O’Malley, Sanders, Chafee, nor Webb returned Free Beacon requests for comment.
The video is the third released the pro-life Center for Medical Progress and comes two weeks after the group released a sting video showing Dr. Deborah Nucatola, the senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, talking about reselling body parts of babies subjected to abortions. Nucatola brags about the techniques Planned Parenthood doctors use to preserve valuable body parts as she eats lunch with two actors posing as prospective buyers.
"We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not going to crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below, I’m going to crush above, and I’m going to see if I can get it all intact," she says. "For affiliates at the end of the day, they’re non-profits. They want to break even, and if they do a little bit better than break even and do so in a way that seems reasonable, they’re happy to do that."
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a 501(c)(4) non-profit that supports pro-life candidates, called on the Democratic field to condemn organ harvesting, as almost every Republican, including the pro-abortion former New York governor George Pataki, has done.
"The newest video shows the bloody reality of abortion and the callousness with which Planned Parenthood treats these dead children. Planned Parenthood calls an 11-week baby in the womb a ‘blob of tissue,’ yet they are clearly profiting off of the medical fact that these children have identifiable human organs," Dannenfelser said in a release. "For too long, Planned Parenthood has also had a stranglehold on the Democratic Party, which has in its platform support for abortion on-demand, at taxpayers’ expense. This is a slap in the face to the majority of Americans who support common ground limits. Hillary Clinton and the other national Democratic leaders should denounce Planned Parenthood and their brutal actions immediately. Susan B. Anthony List will work hard to ensure voters do not forget who fails to stand for the most innocent among us."