Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) President Cecile Richards wrote a letter to National Institutes of Health stating that the organization will cease accepting payments for tissue donations.
Richards maintained in the letter that despite the new decision, PPFA has continually operated within federal law regarding its procurement of reimbursements for fetal tissue donations.
Richards wrote that she was following up on a July 29 letter she’d written that had “outlined the very limited role that Planned Parenthood plays in fetal tissue research that can contribute to important medical breakthroughs.”
“Our role in fetal tissue research is an extremely small part of what we do,” Richards wrote. “In fact, just 1% of our health centers currently facilitate tissue donation for fetal tissue research.”
Richards went on to rebuke opponents who have made “false claims” about PPFA in an effort to advance legislation that would “deny women access to basic health care and to impose medically unnecessary restrictions on safe and legal abortion.”
[pull_quote_center]In order to completely debunk the disingenuous argument that our opponents have been using – and to reveal the true political purpose of these attacks – our Federation has decided, going forward, that any Planned Parenthood health center that is involved in donating tissue after an abortion for medical research will follow the model already in place at one of our two affiliates currently facilitating donations for fetal tissue research. That affiliate accepts no reimbursement for its reasonable expenses – even though reimbursement is fully permitted under the 1993 law. Going forward, all of our health centers will follow the same policy, even if it means they will not recover reimbursements permitted by the 1993 law.[/pull_quote_center]
PPFA fell under scrutiny earlier this year after several edited undercover videos were released by the Center for Medical Progress claiming that monetary negotiations were being made by PPFA, in violation of federal law, for various samples of aborted fetal tissue. The first video was widely debated as Senior Director of Medical Services Dr. Deborah Nucatola was seen and heard discussing graphic details regarding fetal tissue while eating lunch and sipping wine: “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,” said Nucatola.
Several pro-life groups described Nucatola’s comments in the video as evidence that Planned Parenthood was making a profit on aborted fetuses, a claim that was quickly and strongly denied by PPFA. Richards acknowledged that Nucatola’s behavior in the video lacked “compassion” and apologized for “the staff member’s tone and statements.”
Regarding the second video that was released by the Center for Medical Progress, Truth In Media’s Barry Donegan wrote that PPFA Medical Directors’ Council president Dr. Mary Gatter was seen on video refusing to “quote the costs of fetal tissue specimens from abortions but instead asks actors posing as buyers at a business lunch to throw out an offer.”
PPFA stated in response to the second video that “a well funded group established for the purpose of damaging Planned Parenthood’s mission and services has promoted a heavily edited, secretly recorded videotape that falsely portrays Planned Parenthood’s participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research.”